Due to its two distinctive types of stems, horsetail is considered by many herbalists to be a very unique plant. One of the stems grows early in spring and looks somewhat like asparagus while the other appears in summer and has thin, green, sterile stems and looks like the feathery tail of a bird.
Horsetail has served mankind as an herbal remedy since ancient times, and has traditionally been used to stop bleeding, increase urine production, repair broken bones, and relieve rheumatic conditions such as arthritis.How does horsetail work?
Horsetail contains high concentrations of silicic acid and other silicates. Horsetail also contains potassium, aluminum, and manganese, along with variety of flavonoids. These flavonoids, as well as other substances found in horse tail, are what appear to provide this herb with strong diuretic effects that promote the loss of water from the body; the silicates found in horsetail are believed responsible for the herb's ability to strengthen connective tisse and give it anti-arthritic actions. A few herbal specialists believe that the organic silicon concentrations found in horsetail may also promote bone and cartilage formation and are useful for treating brittle nails and related conditions.
More recently, horsetail has been studied for its possible usefulness in connection with arthritis, osteoporosis, and other conditions of bones and cartilage. Horsetail contains significant amounts of silica and smaller amounts of calcium. Both silica and calcium are components of bones, joints, and connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. However, to date, there is not enough clinical evidence to support the use of horsetail for these conditions.Suggested Uses
Taken internally, horsetail is may be useful in connection with the following conditions and symptoms:
- Inflammation or mild infections of the genitourinary tract
- Kidney stones
- Urinary Tract Infection
Horsetail also can be applied externally to treat the following:
- Wounds (especially poorly healing ones)
- Rheumatic conditions
NutritionalTree.com is a great consumer resource that collects user reviews for horsetail products.
Preparation and Dosage
A tea is prepared by pouring boiled water over 2 to 3 grams of horsetail herb, boiling for five minutes, and then straining after 10 to 15 minutes. Drink during the day between meals. An infusion for internal use is made by adding 1.5 grams of horsetail herb to 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 30 to 40 minutes.
Supporting LiteratureBlumenthal M, Goldberg A, and Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:208-211; 1998, 150-151.
- Internal: 6 g daily (recommendation by the German Commission E monograph)
- Herbal infusion: 4 oz three times daily
- Tincture (1:5): 1 to 4 mL three times daily
- External (compresses): 10 g of herb per 1 liter of water daily
Hamon NW, Awang DVC. Horsetail. Canadian Pharmacology J 1992;September:399-400.
Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 238-240.