HORSETAIL

LATIN NAME:  Equiseum arvense

 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:  Horsetail has been valued since ancient times for its ability to stem the flow of blood, bind tissues, and increase urine production.  It is rich in silica, which helps mend broken bones and form collagen, an important constituent of bones and tissue.  Herbalists today prescribe horsetail for urinary problems, wounds, benign prostate disorders, and the pain of rheumatism or arthritis.  More closely related to ferns than to flowering plants, horsetail is a perennial with hollow stems and shoots that resemble asparagus.  All the aboveground parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes.

SPECIAL INFORMATION:

WARNING:  Do not take internally for more than three consecutive days and do not exceed the recommended dosage; extended use may cause kidney or cardiac damage.

  1. Use only under doctor’s care.  People with cardiac disease or high blood pressure should use horsetail with caution.
  2. Pregnant women should avoid horsetail.  The herb’s high selenium content can cause birth defects.
  3. The silica in horsetail, which aids in building cartilage, may help menopausal women offset the bone loss of osteoporosis, although this use has not been clinically tested in humans.
  4. Use low-strength doses for adults over 65 and children between 2 and 12 years old.  Do not give horsetail to children under 2.  Do not let children put the hollow stalks in their mouths; ingesting the juice can make your child ill.

TARGET AILMENTS:  Take internally for:

  • Bladder infections, cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, kidney stones, stomach ulcers; broken bones or sprained tendons; strengthening nails, and hair; pain of rheumatism or arthritis.

Apply internally for:  Sores, wounds, inflammations.

SIDE EFFECTS/Not serious:  Upset stomach, diarrhea, increased urination.  Discontinue and call your doctor.

Serious:   Pain in kidneys or lower back, or upon urination, with nausea or vomiting may indicate kidney damage.  Cardiac problems, including heart palpitations, may occur in cases or extreme overuse.  Call your doctor immediately.

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