Horsetail - Benefits, Virtues, Origin, Dose, Side Effects

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  1. Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
  2. Source
  3. In phytotherapy its fresh or dry stems are used.
  4. Nutritional assets
  5. Benefits and virtues
    1. Diuretic, treatment of urinary tract infections
    2. Edema Treatment
    3. Remineralizing (fractures, osteoporosis)
    4. Skin problems (wounds, canker sores, eczema)
    5. Strengthens hair and nails
  6. Dosage
  7. Side effects and contraindications
  8. You may be interested:

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

Also known as horsetail or rattail, horsetail is a very common plant used for thousands of years for its healing properties. The point about its assets, uses and properties!

Horsetail Benefits

Photo by Lukas from Pexels


This perennial plant has flourished on Earth since the beginning of time!

In fact, it seems that its appearance dates back to the origins of the Earth, almost 250 million years ago, as attested to by numerous fossils found in the sedimentary layers.

Like ferns, it belongs to the group of phyllophytes that is characterized by its particular mode of reproduction: there are no seeds or flowers for these plants called cryptogams but spores scattered by the wind.

In phytotherapy its fresh or dry stems are used.

Its first uses for medicinal purposes date back to the first century A.D. Pliny the Elder said of it then "Its nature is so wonderful that just touching it is enough to extinguish the blood of patients" and called it "Hair of the Earth".

In ancient times, Galen used it to stop nosebleeds and to heal injured ligaments and tendons.

In Europe, it has been used since the 17th century to heal wounds and inflammations or to relieve kidney stones.

The English herbalist Cupelper considered that it was "very powerful to stop the blood, even inside, and to release the swelling, heat and inflammation of the private and fundamental parts of men and women". ».

In Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine, horsetail is widely used to treat urinary tract disorders.

Native Americans use it to weld fractures and as a clotting agent.

Nutritional assets

Most of the medicinal virtues of horsetail are due to its high content of silica (salicylic acid), a substance that participates in the formation of connective tissue by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. It is said to contain between 5 and 8%.

Other known active ingredients are sulfur, iron, manganese, potassium chloride, tannins, antioxidant flavonoids (pigments).

Also saponin and traces of alkaloids (nicotine). Finally, horsetail contains vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Benefits and virtues

Diuretic, treatment of urinary tract infections

Horsetail is recognized by the EMA (European Medicines Agency) for its effect on mild urinary disorders.

This ally of the kidneys is particularly effective in the treatment of urinary stones, renal colic and cystitis, and acts by increasing the flow of urine.

The diuretic properties of horsetail are attributed to its content of flavonoids and saponins.

Edema Treatment

The German Commission E recognizes the traditional use of horsetail in the treatment of post-traumatic edema.

The silica it contains promotes the repair of the connective tissue and gives the horsetail its homeostatic and anti-inflammatory actions, which are essential for the reabsorption of edemas.

Remineralizing (fractures, osteoporosis)

Here again, it is silica that, by promoting calcium fixation in bones, helps to strengthen fragile bones, repair fractures, protect cartilage and improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Skin problems (wounds, canker sores, eczema)

The traditional use of horsetail to treat superficial wounds is recognized by the EMA (European Medicines Agency) and by Commission E, which then recommends it for local application.

It promotes healing, regeneration and elasticity of the skin by enhancing the synthesis of collagen and elastin.

Strengthens hair and nails

And it is again thanks to the actions of silica in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, that horsetail is traditionally used to strengthen brittle nails and weakened hair.

An Italian study conducted in 2001 even revealed the effectiveness of a varnish based on horsetail extract in the treatment of striated, deformed and brittle nails caused by psoriatic onychodystrophy.


Horsetail can be consumed in various ways, depending on the dose:

  • In decoction: 2 g of aerial parts to be infused in 150 ml of boiling water for about 15 minutes. This herbal infusion can be drunk three times a day to relieve urinary disorders or applied as a compress to help heal wounds.
  • In mother tincture: 10 ml 3 times a day
  • Fluid extracts: 2 ml 3 times a day
  • The capsules: 1 to 2 g 3 times a day with a large glass of water.

Side effects and contraindications

The cure of horsetail can cause mild digestive disorders or seborrheic dermatitis (oily skin, pimples).

In excessive amounts, horsetail can cause a deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamine).

Due to the presence of thiaminase (thiamine degradation enzyme) in small amounts in the plant.

Children under 12 years old and pregnant or lactating women should avoid starting a horsetail treatment due to the low presence of nicotine in the plant.

Horsetail tends to increase the volume of urine and can cause excessive leakage of potassium, which can increase the toxicity of certain drugs.

People undergoing laxative or diuretic treatment or certain treatments to improve heart rhythm disorders should be especially vigilant and seek advice from their doctor.

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