Equisetum arvense, E. hyemale
Horsetail is a non-flowering plant that grows on wet sand and is therefore exceedingly high in silicon. Horsetail has the ability to deal with silica and share this knowledge with the organism in need of silica. Horsetail can be especially beneficial for almost all symptoms for which homeopathic silicon is prescribed: nervousness, connective tissue weakness, urinary and strengthening of weak hair, loss of hair, split ends, cracked or ridged nails, cracking nails, sore/irritated nail beds, hangnails, picking/biting of nails, nervousness or insecurity. It is also helpful for nail fungus growing under the nails. Horsetail can absorb gold in water. Therefore making it ideal for arthritic and joint pain.
Also known as: scouring rush, pewterwort, shave grass, corncob plant and bottle brush.
History: The herb used to be known well for scouring pots, polishing pewter, and sand or “shave” wood – hence its popular secondary names.
It is still recommended that wilderness foragers eat the horsetail shoots for food. It can solder together wounds and can heal ruptures.
Taste/Energetics: Earthy, Bitter, Sweet, Cooling, Pungent; PK – V+
Tissue State: Atrophy; Plasma, Blood, Fat, Bone
Body Systems: Nervous, Respiratory, Kidneys and Bladder
Symptoms: nervousness, bladder infections, broken bones, dry skin, cracked or brittle nails, nail fungus, hair loss or splitting ends, chronic asthma, arthritis, joint pain, nosebleeds, hemorrhoids, wound treatment, dysentery, ulcers, gonorreah, kidney stones or infections, congestive heart failure (which causes fluid retention and swelling), emphysema
Actions: Diuretic, lithotriptic, diaphoretic, alterative, hemostatic, anti-fungal, Styptic. Very rich in trace minerals (especially zinc and silica).
Precautions: High Vata, constipation, dry skin
Preparation: Decoction: (hot or cold); flavors best with peppermint or lemon balm
Dosage: 1-3 drops; 1-3 x a day, or commonly used at 10-25 drops. Should not be taken for long periods of time. If over the age of 65, start with a low dose, and increase only if necessary.
Menstrum: Decoction or Tincture
Dosha: Commonly used for high Pitta conditions. It clears Pitta and fiery emotions from the nerves and mind.
Medicinal Myth: Because Horsetail contains nicotine, it is sometimes recommended as a nicotine substitute for smokers intending to quit. However, the nicotine content is very, very small and is unlikely to satisfy a nicotine craving.
Possible Reactions / Precautions: Rashes in sensitive people, do not use while pregnant or breast feeding due to the large amounts of Selenium which is known to cause birth defects in high amounts. Do not let children play with this herb. Large amounts can cause a vitamin B1 deficiency. Not recommended for patients with prostate cancer (its concentrated source of beta-sitosterol and campesterol have been shown to encourage the growth of cancer cells). Do not use in cases of cardiac disease or high blood pressure. Do not take Horsetail for an extended period of time and do not exceed the recommended dosage or it could cause kidney or heart damage.
Written by: Sheryl Burns
Sources: Prescription for Herbal Healing; Phyllis A. Bach, CNC Pages: 83-84/The Herbal Healing Remedies Sourcebook; C. Norman Shealy MD, PhDPage: 106/Addiction Free Naturally; Brigitte Mars Pages: 55, 131/The Yoga of Herbs; Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant LadPages: 125, 204/The Earthwise Herbal: Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants; Matthew WoodPages: 244 – 247/The New Healing Herbs; Michael CastlemanPages: 281 - 283
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