by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Horsetail is edible when it first emerges from the soil before leaves sprout on stalk. After the stalk darkens in colour and starts to have leaf shoots from the circular ribs it is no longer edible yet becomes medicinal!
As horsetail absorbs the minerals from the soil surrounding it you want to ensure that the water or soil it is growing in or near is organic and not polluted.
Nutrients & Qualities in Horsetail:
Horsetail has manganese, calcium, iron, flavonoids, caffeic acid esters, saponins, tannins, alkaloids, fatty acids, phytosterols, glycosides, phenolic acids, aconitic acid, *equisetic acid and silica.
*Equisetic acid which is a heart and nerve sedative. If taken in abnormally high doses can be poisonous.
Medicinal Qualities & Uses:
- arthritis, brittle bone,
- rheumatic disorders,
- athlete’s foot,
- herpes simplex,
- dyspepsia (impaired digestion),
- gastrointestinal conditions,
- cardiovascular diseases,
- respiratory tract infections,
- bladder problems,
- urinary tract infection,
- bed wetting,
- kidney stones,
- prostate problems,
- muscle cramps,
- broken bones,
- nose bleed,
- immune system
How to use:
The above ground parts of Horsetail are used and can be in dried or liquid form. It needs to be cooked, dried, boiled or infused. It cannot be eaten raw.
- Drying Horsetail for Tea/Water Infusions:
Horsetail stalk and leaves can be picked, rinsed and dried. When it dried it should remain green. Do not use if it turns brown.
- Horsetail Tea – max. 3 cups per day
Add 1 – 2 Teaspoons of dried or fresh Horsetail to boiling water and steep for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Sore Throats, Coughs, Colds and Lungs
Horsetail tea can be soothing to use as a gargle for sore throats and beneficial to clear airways when breathing in its steam while boiling this herb.
Crush fresh Horsetail and soak in hot water for a few minutes or soak dried horsetail in hot water, drain and place in cheesecloth to apply to area. Leave for up to 15 minutes a few times a day.
Steep 1 teaspoon of Horsetail to 1 cup of boil water and steep for up to 10 minutes. When cool use cotton ball to dampen with tea solution and dab facial skin and neck to rinse in the morning and evening after removing makeup.
- Hair Rinse or Bath Infusion
Use up to 10 teaspoons of fresh or dried horsetail to 4 cups of hot water and add to your bath or use to rinse your hair.
Fresh or dried Horsetail can be processed into oils and combined with other oils, plants and herbs to make salves and creams. Find recipes here
If you don’t have a source of Fresh Horsetail find dried on-line here.
Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.