Belongs to the family Equisetaceae, which is extinct except for Horsetail.
Its common names are Shave grass, Pewterwort and Scouring rush. Due to the high content of Silica in the stems, it was used to scour pots or polish pewter as well as to sand wood. Although they have been eaten as a vegetable by foragers as well as the poorer Romans of ancient times, it is not considered very nutritious.
The stems are dried and used medicinally. Its constituents are Silicic Acid, saponin, flavone glycosides, nicotine, and palustrine. Due to its Astringent and Diuretic properties, Horsetail is a valuable ally for the genito urinary tract as a specific In cases of enlarged prostrate. For the treatment of Urinary incontinence it can be combined with Goldenrod. Its cooling properties alleviate haemorrhage, cystic ulceration and ulcers in the urinary passages. It is a powerful vulnerary, healing wounds both internal as well as external. Used in combination with Gravel root, Stoneroot, Hydrangea and Marshmallow, Horsetail helps the breakdown and elimination of kidney and gall stones. It has been used to treat Dropsy (congestive Heart failure), painful urination, as well as Gonorrhea. Due to its high Silicon content, Horsetail helps repair bone fractures as well as builds connective tissue and cartilage.
Horsetail, drunk as a tea is extremely beneficial to the skin, hair and nails. Soaking ones fingertips in horsetail tea strengthens brittle nails. It can also be used as a hair rinse.
Horsetail grows in marshes or in areas where there might be plenty of water underground. The stems sholud be collected in early summer and dried before usage.
copyright Lata Chettri 2003