Horsetail - Equisetum Arvense

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This Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) monograph is an excerpt from the first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details on this e-book are here.

Horsetail - Equisetum arvense in the Equisetaceae or Horsetail family

Parts used: Sterile spring stems.

Taste/smell: Fairly bland, slightly sweetish.

Tendencies: Cooling and drying.

Dosage: Cold water infusion: 1 tablespoon per cup of water and leave over night, or 5 minute decoction followed by 30 minute infusion; or honey extraction. Silicic acid does not extract well in alcohol.

Mental picture and specific indications: Horsetail has specific indications for suppressed urination with blood and severe pain with a feeling of fullness in the bladder not relieved by urinating.

Use: (a) Diuretic, (b) Astringent, (c) Vulnerary, (d) Increases connective tissue tone and resistance, (e) Styptic.

Due to horsetail’s high level of organic silica it is used to support all the structures of the body that utilize silica. Silica is an essential trace element and Horsetail has  5-10% dry weight silicon/silica which is high compared to other plants containing silicon/silica that  we use as food or medicine. It is an essential nutrient for the structural integrity and development of connective tissue. The structures that horsetail nourish are the bones, teeth, joints, cartilage, hair, nails, skin and supple blood vessels. All structures with collagen will be supported by this herb.

Silica supports normal bone growth as well as repair of fractures. It is useful in healing strains and sprains. Consider it any time you want to support collagen growth, collagen integrity or support any connective tissue. It is known for it’s use in urinary tract problems where irrigation is needed due to gravel, or bacterial and inflammatory disorders.  It is also useful in passive urinary tract bleeding.  Horsetail can be used for enuresis, incontinence in children accompanied by nightmares  and incontinence in  the elderly, acute bladder infection and urethritis, renal calculi and enlarged and inflamed prostate gland.  Soluble extracts of silica have been shown to reduce stretch marks when used externally.

Contraindications: Chronic ingestion of this herb can decrease the level of thiamin (B1) due to thiaminase content. Beri beri is the sign of chronic toxicity. This herb should not be consumed long term or by pregnant women. Some herbalists are concerned about the possible loss of potassium due to horsetail’s diuretic effect. The fact that it contains potassium may make up for any potential loss of potassium. Some herbalists use a b complex vitamin with Horsetail to make up for the loss of thiamin.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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