Plant Family: Equisetaceae

Perennial rhizome alternates annually between a photosynthentic, sterile green stalk, and a strobilus, “cone” stalk bearing reproductive spores.

 

Habitat & Cultivation: 

Horsetail is a dimorphic perennial plant common throughout the temperate northern hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. Two distinct chemotypes have been identified, one from Europe and the other from Asia and North America, which can be differentiated chemically by the detection of certain characteristic flavonoids unique to each chemotype. Horsetail has been found to act as a sort of filter in riparian and wetland ecosystems, absorbing insecticides and general contaminants and promoting the general health and resilience of an ecosystem. This is very similar to horsetail’s action in the human body, where it has anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, tissue tonic, and vulnerary properties. In both natural and human ecosystems, horsetail filters and soothes.

 

Parts Used/Collection: 

Horsetail consists of the fresh or dried, green, sterile stems of E. arvense L. The fertile stems are produced in early spring and are non-photosynthetic, while the green sterile stems start to grow after the fertile stems have wilted and persist through the summer until the first autumn frosts

 

Herbal Actions: 

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Anti-rheumatic

  • Astringent

  • Connective tissue tonic

  • Diuretic

  • Vulnerary

 

Indications: 

Promote repair

Improve strength of connective tissues (collagen & bone)

Rheumatic & genitourinary complaints

 

Contraindications:  

Caution with impaired cardiac and kidney function, edema from the cardiac origin, prostate cancer, children under 2 and long-term use.”Digitalis and other cardiac glycosides may be potentiated due to potassium loss secondary to diuresis.” (Marciano, M., & Vizniak N. A., 2018).

 

Plant Constituents: 

  • Alkaloids (nicotine, palustrine, and palustrinine)

  • Flavonoids (isoquercitrin and equicertrin)

  • Sterols (cholesterol, isofucosterol, campesterol)

  • Silicic acid

  • Miscellaneous:

    • Saponin

    • Dimethylsulphone

    • Thiaminase

    • Aconitic acid

    • Equisetonin

    • Minerals: potassium, calcium

    • Caffeic acid

 

System Affinities:

Urinary, respiratory

 

Energetics:

Bitter

Sweet

Cooling

Pungent

Constitutions:

Pitta and Kapha

Avoid use in Vata or formulate with Vata decreasing herbs

 

Safety: 

Horesetail - Equisetum arvense L.

Pregnancy category B2. According to Mills & Bone (2005) there have been no increases in frequency of fetal malformation, or harmful effects seen with limited used during pregnancy.

Lactation category C: compatible with breastfeeding and lactation (Mills & Bone, 2005).

 

Personal Experience:

Hot decoction, it had a light aroma to it, reminded me of seaweed minus the salt.  It had a very strong flavor that I did not care for. I did notice a higher output the next morning. 

 

Research: 

 

American Botanical Council. (2000). Fenugreek seed. Accessed online at www.herbalgram.org.

 

Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone

 

 

Wani, S. A., & Kumar, P. (2016). Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. doi:10.1016/j.jssas.2016.01.007

 

 

 

Horsetail  (Equestetum arvense)