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Horsetail - Uses and Benefits

Plant Description

Horsetail(Equisetum arvense) is a herbal plant which has many great uses. .The name Equisetum is extracted from latin word, equus which means "hourse" & seta means "bristle". It was used traditionally to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. Horsetail used from ancient Roman and Greek times as an oral treatment of edema & diuretic. Horsetails absorb heavy metals from the soil , and are often used in bioassays for metals. European and Chinese herbalists have long valued horsetail as topical remedy for wounds, skin conditions, frostbite, and chilblains.

Horsetail has been used to heal hemorrhoids and stem the flow of blood from nosebleeds. Urinary problems such as bladder infections and various forms of incontinence, especially bed-wetting in children. There were giant and small horsetails growing in enormous quantities in the Carboniferous period and large amounts of the plant formed the coal seams we have depended on for fuel. Horsetail resembles a stalk of asparagus, with solitary shoots protruding from the ground.  Only the portion of the plant that grows above ground is used for medicinal purposes . Fossil evidence indicates that many extinct horsetails were treelike and attained a far greater size than do living types, although the stems of a sprawling tropical American species ( E. giganteum ) grows to more than 30 ft (9.1 m) in length.

It contains silica, which helps with the repair of tissue, growth of hair and nails, and helps to prevent osteoporosis.

Uses and Benefits

Horsetail is beneficial in the followings:

  • dropsy, gravel and kidney affected areas, kidney and bladder trouble.
  • The Burn ashes of the plant are considered very valuable in acidity of the stomach, dyspepsia, etc.
  • it is of efficacy for haemorrhage, cystic ulceration and ulcers in the urinary passages.
  • it contain enzymes that kill germs and other foreign substances
  • it also stop the bleeding of wounds and quickly heal them, and will also reduce the swelling of improves the functioning of the entire immune system.if taken in doses of 3 to 10 grains.
  • its also occasionally used for osteoporosis, nephrolithiasis, urinary tract inflammation, and wound healing (topical). These uses have largely been based on anecdote and clinical tradition, rather than scientific evidence.
  • for stopping both internal and external bleeding, as well as with speeding wound healing.
  • also used as a hair rinse it can eliminate fleas, lice and mites
  • also be used as a polish for wooden floors and furniture. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses.
  • Horsetail ( silica ) reduces the risk of excessive bleeding and contributes to the building of healthy blood cells. Research has shown that Horsetail increases the number of phagocytes.
  • Herbalists have also recommended horsetail for osteoporosis, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, and joint pain.

its used in some of the given disorders like:

  • inflamed prostate,
  • urethra or bladder,
  • diuretic and styptic properties,
  • healing tissue such as in the bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, lung, muscles and joints.

In a few places horsetail was recognized as a folk remedy for such serious conditions as cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, and congestive heart failure. The stems are very rich in silica. They are used for scouring and polishing metaland as a fine sandpaper. The stems are first bleached by repeated wetting and drying in the sun.

The Water Horsetail that contain high silica in the stems has been used by both Europeans and Native Americans for scouring, sanding, and filing wounds especially in children. Early spring shoots were eaten. Medically it was used by the ancient Rootstocks and stems are sometimes eaten by waterfowl .

Horsetail is used as a diuretic in conditions of swelling; for kidney and bladder stones (to help in flushing them out), urinary tract infections, and in the past, any condition involving the kidney or bladder.  Horsetail was used extensively in the treatment of wounds,It also makes a good liquid feed. The black roots have been used for imbrication on coiled baskets . 

horsetail may be useful in the following conditions taken in two ways first & second externally

If taken internally

  • Kidney stones
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Inflammation or mild infections of the genitourinary tract
  • Heavy menstruation and bleeding ulcers

If taken externally

  • Wounds (especially poorly healing ones)
  • Burns
  • Rheumatic conditions
  • Fractures
  • Sprains

Some herbalists have suggested a horsetail gargle for sore throats. The herb was also used for fevers and loss of hair.

Side Effects:

Some of these suggested uses are for conditions that are potentially very serious and even life-threatening. Horsetail has been suggested for many uses based on tradition or on scientific theories.but there is limited scientific evidence about safety or effectiveness You should consult with a health care professional before taking horsetail for any unproven use. its not recommended while pregnant.

Studies in mice suggest that horsetail may change the activity of the kidneys, causing abnormal control of the amount of water and potassium release. Low potassium, which in theory may occur with horsetail, can have negative effects on the heart. While taking horsetail powder for its diuretic effect, be sure to drink extra water for maximum benefit. Remember if there are kidney stones. Avoid to take horsetail herb if you take an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure and you have congestive heart failure, as the combination of the herb and the drug can cause accumulation of excessive potassium. Taking horsetail in conjunction with other diuretics may result in lowering the blood potassium levels and dehydration .

It contains nicotine and caution is advised if you are a smoker or on nicotine replacement treatment. Excess nicotine might cause muscle weakness or weight loss. Large doses of horsetail may cause symptoms of nicotine overdose, including fever, cold hands and feet, abnormal heart rate, difficulty walking.


Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, before starting a new therapy you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider.


if taken in one half to one teaspoon per cup of water, simmered for 5 minutes, then left to steep for 30 minutes, three times a day. Purchased tinctures vary in strength. Please follow the directions on the bottle. It should not be used for a period longer than a month without a break, and should be used only with consultation with a holistic practitioner.

Horsetail powdered, taken three or four times a day, has proved very effectual in spitting of blood.

  • As an infusion, boil 2 tsp horsetail in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.
  • As a bath, steep 3.5 ounces of horsetail in hot water for one hour. Add to warm bath.
  • As a tincture, take 2-6 ml per day.

unless otherwise prescribed: 6 g per day of cut herb for infusions and other equivalent galenical preparations for oral administration. For irrigation therapy, ensure an abundant fluid intake.

Cut herb for decoctions and other equivalent galenical preparations.

Decoction: Pour 150 ml boiling water over 2 g and continue boiling for 5 minutes, then allow to steep for another 10 to 15 minutes before straining; take three times daily .

Infusion: Steep 2 g of herb in 150 ml boiled water for 10 to15 minutes; take three times daily.

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