Materia Medica – Equisetum arvense

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we have an abundance of marshy areas where the horsetail plant can be found. They are quite primitive looking if you’ve not seen them before; rather like a cat’s tail that is puffed up in fright. In addition to being a great wand for make-believe play, horsetail is handy in the shop and for the medicine cabinet. With its rough exterior and silica content inside the reeds, horsetail has been used by people to polish metal, scour pewter and sand wood. Medicinally the Greeks used it to stop bleeding and as a diuretic.

Common Name: Horsetail, Shavegrass
Latin Name: Equisetum arvense
Areas of Origin: North American, Europe
Botanical Description: A perennial rhizome plant which can grow up to 2 feet tall. The stems are jointed, pale brown in color and are hollow. Stems may be singular or have whorls of branches. There are single stems which produce the cone-shaped spore producing body which is located at the tip.
Parts Used: Ariel parts
Uses: Urinary tract inflammation (UTI), arthritis, osteoporosis, anemia, minor wounds and burns
Actions: Anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, astringent, cardiac, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, glactogogue, haemostatic, nervine, TB, vulnerary.
Preparations: Tea, tincture, capsule, compress
Taste: Similar to celery
Safety: Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, alcoholics, diabetics, those with low potassium levels or low thiamine levels. Not recommended for long term usage.
Contraindications (Plant-Medication Combinations): Interacts with Lithium as it has a possible effect like a water pill or diuretic.

Until next time, discover the power of welcoming nature’s healing plants into your life.

References
Horsetail. (n.d.). WebMd. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-843-horsetail.aspx?activeingredientid=843&activeingredientname=horsetail.


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