Tips for Growing Horsetail

Tips for Growing Horsetail

COMMON NAMES:
Equisetum, Scouring Rush, Bottle-brush, Toadpipe, Horse willow, Shave grass, Paddock-pipes, Pewterwort

LATIN NAME:
Equisetum arvense

HISTORY:
Horsetail comes from a family of large tree-like plants that originated in the Paleozoic era. Today it is found throughout much of North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The plant gets its name from the Latin words equus and seta, meaning "horse" and "bristle," as it looks similar to a horse-tail and has a bristle-like texture. For this reason, it has traditionally been employed by pioneering Americans for scouring pots and polishing metals.

Horsetail was also a commonly-used medicinal herb from both the ancient Roman and Greek cultures. Medicinally, it was employed to strengthen the bones, stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, as well as a remedy for tuberculosis and kidney conditions.

HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES:
Horsetail holds high amounts of the chemical component silicon, a known bone protector and strengthener. For this reason it has been suggested as a treatment for osteoporosis. It is present in medications that lower blood pressure, and is also a known diuretic, which may contribute to its use as a treatment for kidney stones and urinary tract infections. It also helps to strengthen brittle nails, cure mouth ulcers, stop bleeding gums, relieve the pain of a sore throat, and is often used topically as a treatment for minor burns and wounds.

Horsetail Cultivation and Growing Methods

ANNUAL/PERRENIAL PLANT:
Perennial

PARTS USED:
Barren stems that are reed-like, segmented green tubes

SOIL REQUIREMENTS:
4.5 to 6.5 pH levels, and sand to mostly clay soil. Requires consistently moist soil.

SUN REQUIREMENTS:
Thrives best in half day sun to light shade. Full sun will cause discoloring.

HEIGHT:
0.5 ft. to 4 ft.

SPACING:
Best to plant seeds or starters in separate containers indoors. Once transplanting outdoors, keep plants in pots, as they can easily over-take an entire garden. Space 3-6 in. (7-15 cm) apart.

GROWING ZONES:
Grows in U.S. zones 7 to 10, and prefers heat and humidity.

PLANTING TIME:
Early spring after danger of frost has passed.

POLLINATION:
Easy propagation vegetatively and by dividing spores/rhizomes, tubers or bulbs. Under ideal conditions, proliferation is rapid, and the plant can easily become a nuisance.

FLOWERING/SEEDING TIME:
N/A. This plant does not come to seed.

HARVESTING:
Harvesting occurs in the summer months.

DRYING METHODS / YIELD:
Pick individual stems, throwing away an discolored parts. Dry in a cool, dry place. Once dried, the stems can be ground into an herbal powder and stored.

PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS:
Dried herb may be stored in an airtight glass container for up to one year.

ESSENTIAL OIL USE:
Its essential oil is used as a powerful wound healer, coagulent, diuretic and astringent. The high silicon content in the distilled oil aids in keeping hair, skin, nails, bones and teeth healthy and strong.

PLANT CHEMICALS:
The main active chemical constituent in horsetail is silicon. In fact, it holds the highest amount of plant-based silicon-content on the planet.

IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT:
Yes, in fact, the young shoots can be eaten like asparagus, and the ancient Romans occasionally ate them as a vegetable.

CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS:
Prolonged use of horsetail is generally not recommended.Taking horsetail supplements may reduce the level of vitamin B1 (thiamin) in the body. If using daily, supplement with additional B complex supplements. Individuals suffering from diabetes, heart or kidney disorders, or gout should avoid taking horsetail as it may deplete potassium levels. Do not drink alcohol while taking horsetail. It should not be used by pregnant and breast-feeding women.

DRUG INTERACTIONS:
This herb may affect the actions of pharmaceutical, or over-the-counter medicines. Do not take horsetail while using nicotine replacement patches or chewing gum, the drug Digoxin (Lanoxin), or diuretic drugs.

Clinical Research About Horsetail

  • Corletto F. [Female climacteric osteoporosis therapy with titrated horsetail (Equisetum arvense) extract plus calcium (osteosil calcium): randomized double blind study]. Miner Ortoped Traumatol 1999;50:201-206.
  • D'Agostino M, Dini A, Pizza C, et al. Sterols from Equisetum arvense. Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper 1984;60(12):2241-2245. [PMID: 6529502]
  • Do Monte FH, dos Santos JG Jr, Russi M, et al. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties of the hydroalcoholic extract of stems from Equisetum arvense L. in mice. Pharmacol Res. 2004;49:239-43. [PMID: 14726218]
  • Dos Santos JG Jr, Blanco MM, Do Monte FH, et al. Sedative and anticonvulsant effects of hydroalcoholic extract of Equisetum arvense. Fitoterapia. 2005;76:508-13. [PMID: 15972249]

 

References

  1. Gray, Linda. Grow Your Own Pharmacy. 1992. http://www.botanical.com
  2. Horsetail. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/horsetail-000257.htm
  3. Horsetail. http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_horsetail.htm
  4. High Concept Horsetail. http://www.gardenguides.com/512-high-concept-horsetail.html

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.