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Horsetail (Shavegrass)

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Horsetail (Shavegrass) - Equisetum arvense

Diuretic and astringent. Horsetail has been found beneficial in dropsy, gravel and kidney affections generally, and a drachm of the dried herb, powdered, taken three or four times a day, has proved very effectual in spitting of blood.

The plant contains several substances which can be used medicinally. It is rich in the Minerals silicon (10%), potassium, and calcium, which gives it diuretic properties. It is prescribed to care for (cartilage, tendons, and bones) and also polyps, epistasis, and bleeding. The buds are eaten as a vegetable in Japan and Korea in spring time. All other Equisetum species are toxic. In polluted conditions, it may synthesise nicotine.

Gently stimulating increased urinary flow, horsetail helps "flush" infectious bacteria out of the bladder without altering the body's balance of electrolytes. The powdered form of the herb is better when electrolytes may be depleted. It's also the form of the herb being investigated as a treatment for age-related memory impairment.

The stems spring from a creeping rhizome, or root-stock, which produces at its joints a number of roots. Two kinds of stems are produced fertile and barren: they are erect, jointed, brittle and grooved, hollow except at the joints and with air-cells in their walls under the grooves. There are no leaves, the joints terminating in toothed sheathes, the teeth corresponding with the ridges and representing leaves. Branches, if present, arise from the sheathbases and are solid. In most cases, the fertile or fruiting stem is unbranched and withers in spring, almost before the barren fronds appear. It bears a terminal cone-like catkin, consisting of numerous closely-packed peltae, upon the under margins of which are the sporanges, containing microscopic spores, attached to elastic threads, which are coiled round the spore when moist and uncoil when dry.

When taking horsetail powder for its diuretic effect, be sure to drink extra water for maximum benefit. Avoid if there are kidney stones. Don't take horsetail herb if you take an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure and you have congestive heart failure,
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.