header herbs

equisetum arverse

Botanical name: Equisetum arvense

Family: Equisetaceae.

Equisetum, Horsetail, Bottlebrush, Knotweed

Equisetum arvense is one of the oldest land plants once existed for 390 million years. The botanical name equisetum comes from "equus" (horse) and "sacta" (hair) because its reeds are hard as horsehair. Therefore, and due to the high content of silicic acid, it was used for cleaning utensils from tin.

Plant Description

The plant is a perennial (returns each year) with hollow stems and shoots that look like asparagus at first. As the plant dries, silica crystals that form in the stems and branches look like feathery tails and give the plant a scratching effect. That accounts for its historic use in polishing metal, particularly pewter.


The plant contains several substances which can be used medicinally. It is rich in the minerals silicon (10%), potassium, and calcium. The buds are eaten as a vegetable in Japan and Korea in spring time.


Horsetail stops bleeding of wounds, the epistaxis(nose bleeding) and hemoptysis(mouth bleeding). It contributes to accelerate the recovery of damaged connective tissue by improving its strength and elasticity. The herb decoction added to bath water helps sprains and fractures recovery, as well as in diseases which cause irritation and inflammation of the skin, such as eczema and herpes. Generally, it has a beneficial effect in the urinary tract and it is necessary in situations of cystitis, urethritis, and inflammatory diseases of the kidney and bladder, prostate inflammation, fluid retention and chronic swelling of legs. Furthermore, it is of the best herbs for the treatment of rheumatic arthritic problems, and helps respiratory diseases, chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis, anemia and weakness of the organization. The silica containing helps in calcium absorption and prevents the deposition of lipids in the arteries. This means that horsetail prevents atherosclerosis and helps breast diseases, such as emphysema. Finally it is used on sensitive and brittle nails because it hardens them.

Modern studies and Publications

University of Maryland, Medical Center


Horsetail has been suggested as a treatment for osteoporosis (thinning bone), because it contains silicon, a mineral needed for bone health. More research is needed to see whether horsetail has any effect on bone density.

Horsetail is sometimes suggested for the following conditions

Kidney stones

Urinary tract infections

Brittle nails

Minor wounds and burns (applied topically -- you should never apply herbal supplements to open wounds).