Herb to Know: Horsetail

| April/May 2006

Genus: Equisetum arvense

• Zones 2 to 9

Prehistoric and somewhat bizarre, this rush-like plant cleans up in more ways than one.

If asparagus and running bamboo were ever to collide, they might produce an offspring like horsetail. Slender, bright green hollow stems growing up to 2 feet high are segmented with striking bands of black and gray topped by a brownish, cone-shaped finial containing spores. Once the spores are released, the fertile stem is replaced by a non-fertile stem that looks more like a static firework display of streaming green threads.

Believed to be one of the oldest plants still in existence, medicinal use of horsetail dates back to at least the ancient Romans and Greeks, who reportedly used the plant to treat ulcers and wounds. In Colonial times, horsetail tea was used as a diuretic. Most likely, housewives also used the plant to clean the teapot, as it contains high concentrations of silicon, a natural abrasive.

Some say that silicon also contributes to healthy bones, cartilage and connective tissue. Many herb-alists recommend its use — only in consultation with a holistic practitioner — to help mend bone fractures, sprains, burns and wounds. Gardeners, on the other hand, prefer to brew up a pot of horsetail tea and spray it on susceptible garden plants to treat or prevent fungal diseases, such as mildew and rust.



May 16-17, 2020
Nashville, Tennessee

Join us in Music City to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me