Common Names: Horsetail, Field Horsetail, Shavegrass, Water Horsetail, Swamp Horsetail, Marsh Horsetail, Giant Horsetail, Devils Guts
Part/s Used: The thallus or young, infertile shoots, fertile stalks (above ground parts)
Taste: Astringent, bland, bitter and salty
Actions: Nutritive, diuretic, astringent, hemostatic
Constituents: Silica, calcium, chromium, fluorine, iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A and moderate amounts of aluminum, cobalt, niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, selenium, sodium, sulfur, tin, vitamin C and low amounts of thiamine, zinc, fatty acids, B5 and beta carotene.
Tincture (ratio & alcohol %): Fresh: 1:5 95%
Acetum Extract: Fresh infertile stalks: 1:2 ACV
Tea: Strong decoction
Topical: Apply the fomentation, poultice, oil (Alcohol intermediary method) or salve
Habitat and Botanical Description:
Horsetail is an herbaceous perennial plant native to the arctic and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It is an ancient plant that has been around for about 200 million years. Horsetail plants the size of large pine trees dominated the forest landscapes during the time of the dinosaurs. Today it is much smaller and can be found in moist to wet wooded areas near marshes, streams and rivers.
The fertile stems of horsetail are an excellent tonic for the bones, long term osteoporosis, torn tendons and injured muscles or joints. Highly beneficial for post-surgery to accelerate healing when taken internally. Horsetail strengthens the connective tissue, especially elastic tissues such as the lungs and bladder. This is useful in conditions like bronchitis ammonia or weak inflamed lungs from asthma. Beneficial for chronic sinus infections or a lingering cold. It decreases excessive secretions and bloody sputum from irritation due to its astringent properties.
Horsetail strengthens the bladder and is useful in chronic reoccurring bladder infections. This can be a sign of cystitis or weak tissues. Drinking the tea or consuming the tincture will reduce susceptibility to these conditions. Making a tea (decoction best) of horsetail will help with kidney stones, UTI and edema by gently detoxifying and removing waste products from the body. Horsetail contains flavonoids that are useful for long term use of spider veins, varicose veins by strengthening weak blood vessels and improving elasticity.
Harvest the infertile stalks when they are about 6-12 inches tall just as the “bristles “are opening. Be sure to harvest in a clean, unpolluted area as horsetail is known to accumulate toxins from the environment.
- Popham, Sajah. Alchemical Herbalism Course. School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2020
- Popham, Sajah. The Vitalist Herbal Practitioner Program. School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2021
- Sinadinos, Christa. The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020
- Sinadinos, Christa. Northwest School for Botanical Studies Course. Lecture Notes; 2014
- Wood, Matthew. The Book of Herbal Wisdom. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 1997. pp 253-257
Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.