Equisetum arvense

Horsetail also goes by the name of silica. But no matter what you call it, you won’t find many herbs that have had a longer history of successful use.

Other Names: Bottle-Brush, Corn Horsetail, Dutch Rushes, Field Horsetail, Horse Willow, Horsetail Grass, Horsetail Rush, Paddock-Pipes, Pewterwort, Scouring Rush, Shave Grass, Toadpipe

The Horsetails belong to a class of British plants nearest allied to the Ferns. Though mostly inhabitants of watery places, flourishing where they can lodge their perennial roots in water or string clay which holds the wet, the Equisetums will grow in a garden near water, under a wall, or in the shade and will spread rapidly.

The field horsetail (E. arvense), the species of British Horsetail most commonly met with, is the one now generally collected and sold for medicinal purposes.

Horsetail is a rich source of minerals and other nutrients.

Horsetail as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

HorsetailThe medicinal parts are the dried green, sterile shoots and fresh sterile shoots.

Several of the species have been used medicinally, and the older herbalists considered them useful vulneraries, and recommended them for consumption and dysentery.

The barren stems only are used medicinally and in their entirety, cut off just above the root. The herb is used either fresh or dried, but is said to be most effective when fresh. A fluid extract is prepared from it. The ashes of the plant are also used.

Horsetail is used in treating urinary tract infections and inflammation of the prostate.

Horsetail aids in coagulation and decreases bleeding. Horsetail has been found beneficial in edema, and kidney affections generally, and a drachm of the dried herb, powdered, taken three or four times a day, has proved very effectual in spitting of blood.

Horsetail will also help broken bones heal faster, and will help brittle nails and hair, due to its high silica content. Horsetail is said to contain the highest amount of silica, which is an important nutrient for healthy hair, skin, nails and connective tissues throughout the body.

It has also been used as part of a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, for ulcers, and for anemia.

The plant alone, boiled in water, makes an effective foot soak for tired feet, or for the treatment of athlete’s foot, and to rid the face of excess body oil to help control acne.

Approved by Commission E:

  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • Kidney and bladder stones
  • Wounds and burns

Culinary Uses of Horsetail

Problems such as minor edema can be treated by drinking an herbal tea made from the horsetail.

The plant is easily grown and has been long been cultivated in the corners of country gardens for the making of tea and candy for use in coughs and colds.

The leaves are used in the manufacture of horehound teas and wines.


Do not use if pregnant or nursing. The silica content is too high for the developing child both in and out of the womb.

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