Horsetail grass is a perennial flowerless plant also known as bottle brush, horse willow, toadpipe, Dutch rushes, Corn Horsetail, Quyroughi, Atkuyrugu, and Shavegrass. Its medicinal value is found in the hollow, jointed stems. Roman physician Galen first recommended its use for treatment for bleeding ulcers, arthritis, kidney and bladder troubles, and tuberculosis. The Chinese still use it as a remedy for eye inflammations such as conjunctivitis and corneal disorders, to cool a fever, and to treat dysentery, flu, swellings, and hemorrhoids. The dried or fresh green stems of horsetail are usually collected in summer.
The horsetail constitutes one of the most diuretic species in all the plants. In other words it possesses a great capacity to eliminate water from the body. This is due to the chemical ingredient equisetonin. Horsetail can actually increase urination up to 30%. This fact means it is often used in products for weight loss. Equisetonin and potassium are especially beneficial for this but calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid also contribute to this ability.
Horsetail’s diuretic qualities make it effective to help knock out bacterial and inflammatory diseases of the lower urinary tract. It also helps to flush out kidney and bladder stones. The quantity of silica in horsetail makes it effective in speeding up slowly healing wounds and repairing bony tissues. Silica helps the body store more calcium and this means stronger bones or tendons. It is excellent in dealing with osteoporosis.
Horsetail has good quantities of calcium, silicon, chromium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and potassium. These make it effective in treating anemia and general debility. Other problems that horsetail can help include prostatitis, enuresis, lung damage such as tuberculosis or emphysema, urinary tract infections, and muscle cramps. Horsetail nourishes skin, bones, nails, hair, and the body's connective tissue.
Horsetail’s toning and astringent action make it of value in the treatment of incontinence and bed-wetting in children as well as treating BPH in men (problems related to an enlarged prostate). Recent research suggests that horsetail is effective in removing lead accumulations in the body.
Gargle horsetail tea as a mouth rinse for sore throat, mouth ulcers, or bleeding gums. Apply a compress to help heal fractures and sprains, sores, wounds, and skin problems. Swallow it to stop bleeding from ulcers or diminish heavy menstrual bleeding.
To make a compress, mix 10 grams of powdered horsetail in 1 liter of water. Internally, use 6 grams of powdered horsetail and be sure to drink plenty of water. Horsetail tea, is made by pouring boiling water over 2 to 3 g of the herb. Then boil it for 5 minutes, and strain it after 10 to 15 minutes. You can drink this several times a day between meals.
Overuse of licorice with the horsetail herb (and too much alcohol) may deplete potassium in the body and cause a risk of cardiac toxicity and thiamine deficiency. Because of its potency, some advise people with these conditions to avoid horsetail: pregnant, breast-feeding, those with impaired heart or kidney function, with liver problems, those taking a cardiac glycoside, and who have a history or potential of thiamine deficiency. The plant contains equisetic acid, which is nearly identical to aconitic acid. This can be a heart and nerve sedative that is poisonous when taken in excessive amounts.