Horsetail (Equisetum arvense): Has been sufficiently characterised for the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight. The plant is anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic.
It is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, cystitis, urethritis, prostate disease and internal bleeding, proving especially useful when there is bleeding in the urinary tract.
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity.
The green infertile stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be harvested in late summer and dried for later use. Sometimes the ashes of the plant are used. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing. It is especially effective on nose bleeds. A decoction of the herb added to a bath benefits slow-healing sprains and fractures, as well as certain irritable skin conditions such as eczema.
The plant contains equisetic acid, which is thought to be identical to aconitic acid. This substance is a potent heart and nerve sedative that is a dangerous poison when taken in high doses.
Horsetail remedies prepared from Equisetum arvense are generally considered safe. Another species of horsetail, however, called Equisetum palustre is poisonous to horses. To be safe, never take that form of horsetail. Be sure to buy products made by an established company with a good reputation. When possible, select products with guaranteed potency or standardized extracts.
This plant contains irritant substances and should only be used for short periods of time. It is also best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant. It is used in the treatment of cystitis and other complaints of the urinary system.
From the Spanimax List: "15 Top Herbs"
- Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants; Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
- Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs; Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds.
- Medicinal Plants of China; Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
- Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley; Bown. D.
- The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism; Mills. S. Y.
- Common Edible and Useful Plants of the West; Sweet. M.
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