Herb Bio- Horsetail

Horsetail shoots

Equisetum arvense

Horsetail (Equisetum spp.) can be found growing in abundance this time of year along streams and in wet meadows.  One of our most ancient plants, Horsetail graced the planet in heights of 50 feet or more 350 million years ago.  In modern times, horsetail does not reach such dramatic heights but can be found in two distinct biotypes.  The hollow, leafless, jointed “scouring rush”, typified by Equisetum hymale, and the fern like species, typified by Equisetum arvense, with threadlike leaves in whorls radiating out from the stem joints. A plant that reproduces with spores, there are fertile and infertile shoots of horsetail.  The fertile shoots pop up in early spring and resemble asparagus.  The infertile shoot appear afterwards and are used medicinally.

These living fossils are often overlooked or considered weeds by many.  However, horsetail is a plant with many values and uses.  A plant with a high concentration of silica and other minerals, horsetail is also known as “scouring rush” and “shavegrass”.  Historically it was used to scour and shine aluminum, copper and wood.

Equisetum hyemale

As a medicinal herb, horsetail is used most often to strengthen connective tissue and in urinary tract disorders.  It can be used as a diuretic, for bladder infections,  and chronic bladder weakness.  In cases of gout, arthritis and other acidic conditions, horsetail flushes excess uric acid from the body.  It can speed healing of broken bones, torn tendons and injured muscles and ligaments.  Horsetail strengthens the hair and fingernails and is indicated for infected hangnails, brittle breaking hair and nails, picking and biting of nails, nervousness and insecurity.  Horsetail is a classic vulnerary and hemostatic and can curb excess bleeding, heal tissues and prevent scar tissue.

For medicinal use, horsetail is best processed as a decoction or in tincture form.  Horsetail Extract is available in our shop.  Horsetail tincture should be used in low doses for short periods of time and with caution for those with kidney inflammation, infection and deficiency.

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