HORSETAIL

Equisetum arvense, E.fluviatile,
E. hyemale, E. laevigatum, palustre,
E. telmateia, E. varigatum 

Common Names: Horsetail, Field Horsetail, Shavegrass, Water Horsetail, Swamp Horsetail, Marsh Horsetail, Giant Horsetail, Devils Guts
Family: Equisetaceae
Part/s Used: The thallus or young, infertile shoots, fertile stalks (above ground parts) 
Energetics: Neutral
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.  
Planet: Saturn
Element: Earth

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture (ratio & alcohol %): Fresh: 1:5 95%

Acetum Extract: Fresh infertile stalks: 1:2 ACV  

Tea: Strong decoction
Times a day: 3-4x or use the tea topically 

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.

Medicinal Uses:

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. 

Harvesting:

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. 

Beauty:

Horsetail strengthens the skin, hair and nails and is perfectly paired with nettles both internally and topically. 

Contraindications:

Do not consume the plant itself, but only in extractions and décoction. Use in moderation for children, elderly, weak. Horsetail can be drying and consuming excessive amount can irritate the kidneys. Do not use with obstructive kidney stones, inflammatory kidney disease, edema when caused by heart or kidney function or with pharma diuretics.

 

Sources:
The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood. 
The Herbal Academy Monographs by The Herbal Academy 

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.


Northwest School for Botanical Studies by Chista Sinadinos