Horsetail is considered to be a diuretic and astringent. It induces perspiration during high fever and has primary effects in correcting bladder problems; it is used both as a diuretic and to help control incontinence, including childhood enuresis. Horsetail is also used as an eye treatment, especially for conjunctivitis and inflammation of the lachrymal ducts. It has been applied externally to treat both hemorrhoids and anal fissures. It has also been used to treat menstrual clots. Horsetail is commonly used to treat tumors.
The major action of horsetail is as a urinary tract astringent and diuretic. These properties are produced by a combination of tannins and flavonoids present in the herb. Folk medicine refers to the ability of horsetail to tone organs of the urinary tract and soothe the bladder. This is best explained by the herb’s ability to tighten the inflamed epithelial tissues with tannins and purge the urinary tract of toxins by diuresis. Concurrently, the flavonoids present in horsetail exert a spasmolytic action on the smooth muscles to ease the painful spasm often associated with urinary tract infections. Its flavonoids are also antiseptic and help fight infections of the urinary tract. Its astringent properties also make it useful topically as an eyewash and to heal wounds.
In spite of the unproven claims associated with the herb, horsetail is unique among the herbs because it does contain the highest amount of silicon of all the herbs and this silicon is in a bioavailable form. This property makes horsetail popular in skeletal strengthening formulas.
Contains bitter compounds that increase the production of urine and shrink inflamed mucosal tissue, particularly the prostate. Horsetail is most noted for its trace mineral profile as it is an excellent herbal source of bioavailable silicon, calcium, magnesium, chromium, iron, manganese, and potassium. It has been used to treat prostatitis, osteoporosis, enuresis, urinary tract infections and muscle cramps.
Horsetail (shavegrass) has found many uses through the ages, most of which can be traced in some way to its very high silica content. Maud Grieve writes that, “the epidermis contains so much silica that bunches of the stem have been sold for polishing metal and used to be imported from Holland for the purpose, hence the popular name of Scouring Rushes.”
Its high mineral content, astringency and effect on the urinary and circulatory systems gained it high regard among the old herbalists as a wound healing herb. Culpeper says, “It is very powerful to staunch bleeding, either inward or outward. It also stays all sorts of lasks and fluxes in man or woman, and bloody urine, and heals also not only the inward ulcers, but all other sorts of foul, moist, and running sores, and soon solder together the tops of green wound.”
Horsetail’s diuretic properties were also valued by 19th century practitioners. Ellingwood suggests of Horsetail the following uses: dropsy, lithemia, hematuria, gonorrhea, gleet, irritable bladder, enuresis in children, prostatitis, and its ashes for acid dyspepsia.
Silicon is an essential element in the manufacture of collagen, the matrix material that holds the body together. It gives elasticity and suppleness to the skin, and contributes flexibility and strength to the bones, hair, and nails. Horsetail can be thought of as an “internal cosmetic,” building beauty from the inside out.
Indicated Usages - Internal:
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Indicated Usages - External:
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Has been used in the following:
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Uses: We use it often in tea and tincture combinations pertaining to any female problems, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, bed wetting, etc. Like many other bulk herbs, we add it to many dishes (salads, meat dishes, soups, stews, etc.) in small amounts for added nutrition and fiber without affecting the flavor. Horsetail can be used to benefit men, women (including before, during or after pregnancy, and nursing) and children. It can be used as often as you would like.
Voice of Experience: Few things will have a greater impact on the health of your hair and fingernails than Horsetail (Diatomaceous Earth is the other miracle worker on hair, skin and nails). Whether you are dealing with split ends or weak and thin nails, consuming Horsetail regularly will have noticeable results. Do drink plenty of water while using it internally.
Storage: It should be kept in an airtight container and stored in a dark, dry, and cool place.
Questions?: Check out Frequently Asked Questions.