Equisetum Arvense

Horsetail, Equisetum Hymale, Bottle Brush, Shave Grass, Cola de Caballo, Equiseto

Botany

Horsetail originated around 400 million years ago and it belongs to the Equisetaceae family, of tree- like plants (Horsetail. (2011). The Horsetail can be either an annual or perennial (2). The stems are hollow and they have shoots that resemble asparagus (2). Horsetail when growing will produce two different stalks. The first one is the fertile “joint-grass” and the other is the sterile “horse-tail” (Elpel’s, 40). The fertile stalk produces the cone-like structure at the terminal end of the horsetail and these cones are covered by spores, which will eventually be released and will germinate (Elpel’s, 40).  The horsetail is a thallus plant meaning that it does not differentiate into leaves of stems (Elpel’s, 40). Horsetails should be planted on the inside edge of a pond, water garden, bog or marshy, wet area that will receive the max amount of sunlight (Care of a Horsetail Plant. (2010).

Chemistry

Collagen is largely made from silicon. Saponins and flavonoids found in the plant are responsible for the diuretic effects.

Fun Fact

The Romans and the Greeks used horsetail as an oral treatment of edema and diuretic ("Horsetail - Uses and Benefits).

History

Uses/Pharmacology

Horsetails are said to be good pot scrubbers and being used for sanding wood (2). This is due to the silica content from the horsetail. Osteoporosis is a condition that has been tested on with horsetail for increasing bone density, but it is still under study do to poorly designed research study (3). Horsetails have also been used in promoting the health of hair, fingernail and skin, due to the presence of silica (7). This plant allows for the prevention of external hemorrhages, stopping nosebleeds, staunching wounds, minimizing the coughing up of blood, and reducing menstrual clots (7).  Also the Europeans and Chinese utilized this plant as a topical remedy for wounds, skin conditions, frostbite, and chilblains (7). This plant can also be utilized as an infusion to combat offensive odors or as a tea or extract of the dried herb.

The silica content is also effective in treating eye and skin disorders, and when added to shampoo can prevent dandruff. Horsetail powder from the stem can be utilized for treating minor cuts or bruises. Silica is found in the stem of the plant and is a mineral that is very abundant within the plant. Silica helps in binding protein molecules together in tissues like blood vessels and other connective tissues. Collagen is largely made from silicon.

Dosing/Recipes

The recipe for the herbal tea is two tbsps. of the horsetail and steep it for half an hour in one pint of boiling water Horsetail could be taken as a way to help with injuries to the joints, hamstrings or ligaments by taking around three 300mg tablets daily until full recovery (Herndon). Other uses are herbal tea. This helps with minor edema. Also if you drink half a cup every forty five minutes daily it can stop bleeding conditions (4). 

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions

When using Horsetail be cautious due to its ability to cause thiamine deficiency within the body. Thiamine is important for the nervous system so a deficiency in this could cause issues with walking and recognition of sensations (5). Also be mindful of Horsetail use because it has the ability to flush the body of potassium (6).

References Cited

1.)    Care of a Horsetail Plant. (2010) 13 March 2012. Retrieved from http://www.gardenguides.com/94207-care-horsetail-plant.html

2.)     Elpel’s, Thomas J. "Equesetaceae- Horstail Family." Botany in a Day The Patterns Method of Plant Identification. 5th. 2008. Print.

3.)    "Health-Care-Tips.org." Horsetail - Uses and Benefits. Health-Care-Tips.org, 14 Mar 2012. Web. 14 Mar 2012. <http://www.health-care-tips.org/herbal-medicines/horsetail.htm>.

4.)    Herndon, Jamie. "How To Use Horsetail." Livestrong.com. Demand Media, Inc., 7 Feb 2011. Web. 21 Mar 2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/353382-herbal-medicine-for-kidney-ston....

5.)    Hoffman, David. "The science and Practice of Herbal Medicine." Medical Herbalism. 2003. Print.

6.)    Horsetail. (2011) 13 March 2012. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/horsetail-000257.htm

7.)    Horsetail. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_horsetail.htm

8.)    What is horsetail(equisetum arvense (l)) and it's super function?. (2010, October 08). Retrieved from http://www.mdidea.com/products/herbextract/horsetail/data07.html