Equisetum arvense

Horsetail - Equisetum arvense (in the Equisetaceae or Horsetail family)

Parts used: Sterile spring stems.

Taste/smell: Fairly bland, slightly sweetish.

Tendencies: Cooling and drying.

Dosage: Cold water infusion: 1 tablespoon per cup of water for 10 hours or 5 minute decoction followed by 15 minute infusion; or 1:1 fresh + dry liquid extract: 20-60 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water. Note: It is best used as a tea.

Mental picture and specific indications: Horsetail has specific indications for suppressed urination with blood and severe pain with a feeling of fullness in the bladder not relieved by urinating.

Use: (a) Diuretic, (b) Astringent, (c) Vulnerary, (d) Increases connective tissue tone and resistance, (e) Styptic.

It is useful in urinary tract problems where irrigation is needed due to gravel or bacterial and inflammatory disorders. It causes diuresis without altering the electrolyte balance. It is also useful in passive urinary tract bleeding. Horsetail can be used for enuresis, incontinence in children and the elderly, acute bladder infection and urethritis, hematuria, renal calculi and enlarged and inflamed prostate gland.

It contains 5-8% silica, potassium, manganese, flavonoids, phenolic acids, organic acids and saponins.

Contraindications: Chronic ingestion of this herb can decrease the level of thiamin or B1 due to thiaminase content. Beriberi is the sign of chronic toxicity. This herb should not be consumed long term or by pregnant women. The diuretic effect can cause loss of potassium.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.