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HORSETAIL FAMILY - Equisetum spp.

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

Common Horsetails and Scouring Rushes, have been used for centuries as medicines in mainly the same way, except that scouring rushes are considered to be much more stronger. Although there are many species within the horsetail family, there are two particular types that i will be talking about today, as these are the ones that I come across most often.

Common Horsetail, and Dwarf Horsetail ( scouring rush).

Common horsetail plant popping up in the spring!
Dwarf Horsetail (Equisetum scirpoides)

Herbal Teas made from horsetails were normally taken to aid in bladder and kidney problems, water retention and even constipation.

May have also been used to treat gout, gonorrhea,and stomach problems. Some have even used horsetail in cases of tuberculosis and bronchitis!

Used as a wash topically for wounds and to combat infections due to its antibiotic properties. Raw plants have been used in a poultice to relive bladder and prostate pain and the heal wounds and sores on the skin.

One of the best well known uses for horsetail plants, is for its effect on cartilage, connective tissues and bones and teeth. Horsetails have a highly absorb able silica and calcium content, which makes it perfect to aid in the strengthening of bones, teeth, finger nails, scalp applications and even has been recommended by herbalists for preventing osteoporosis. Horsetail is a powerful and effective detox for heavy metals in the body such as aluminum, due to its high silica content!

Horsetails can help with inflammation of the tissues that surround the joints, and i have even read that it can help with really bad body odor !

Horsetails have so many different uses! In my home, we use it in herbal tea, as a tooth scrub and even as a hair rinse ( i will include a recipe below)

Baby Hortails!
Dwarf horsetail in early spring!

Horsetails contains an enzyme called thiaminese , which causes a depletion of thiamine, ( vitamin b1). Cooking destroys this ( look at the photo below yum! ) and taking b1 vitamins can help reverse its effects, so caution must be taken when consuming horsetails, make sure to cook/ boil them. Another thing to be aware of when consuming or harvesting horsetails, is to make sure that the place you are harvesting from is free of contaminates and pollution, as horsetails tend to absorb heavy metals very easily. Dirty roadsides or fields that may have been sprayed are not recommended sources of horsetails.

Lastly, I like to add it as a dried herb to many soups, stews and even on top of turkeys and chicken dinners, it makes for a very delicious and rich gravy !

Roast chicken topped with lemon, sage and horsetail! Yum!

Horsetails can be used as an amazing hair rinse, used by first nations to kill headlice and reduce baldness. Horsetail can be made into an amazing hair rinse for shiny healthy hair. I recommend using it two times a week for the best results.

-Stuff a mason jar 2/3 full with horsetail

-pour in apple cider vinegar to the top, make sure to cover the horsetail completely to avoid any issues with mold.

-Store the infusion for 4 to 6 weeks, use parchment paper to create a barrier between the metal lid and the ACV or you may get some leakage.

- Make sure to store in a cool dark place, and give it a shake once a day to help it infuse. You can even chop the horsetail up, to create more surface area for the medicine to be removed from the plants.

There you go ! You can use this hair rinse by rinsing through your hair before washing , or in between washes. Myself, i will rinse it through my hair , combing it as i go along making sure every single strand is covered in the infusion. Once you are finished you can use water to completely rinse it out.

After i have sifted and filtered through my horsetail to remove debris. Ready to dry !
Common Horsetail

Lastly, one more amazing use for horsetails, is as a horsetail honey infusion. In the summer time, i like to use pure unpasteurized honey to create a herbal infusion for my teas. You can chop fresh horsetail into small pieces, and place into a crock pot on lowest heat setting and fill with honey. Slowly infuse the horsetail by allowing it to simmer in the honey for a few hours. When it is complete, you can filter out the horsetail bits and pour the honey into a glass mason jar. label and date, and use it within 1 month, and dont forget to refrigerate! This honey works synergisticly with horsetail tea and has an unforgettable taste ! I will update this blog with photos of the honey once i am able to start making it this season !

Common Horsetail ear;ly spring shoot

Tiny baby horsetail

To harvest horsetail, cut it at the base of the stem, this way you can leave the roots behind for it to continue growing. You can trim dwarf horsetail with scissors, kind of like trimming hair. Doing it this way helps to promote new growth. Make sure to harvest no later then june, as the younger the horsetail, the more nutrients are contained in the plant. The older it gets , the less potent! I will also say that plucking it right from the ground also helps to promote its spread, as it is spread through pores and rhizomes underground. This is good for wildcrafters, not so good for people who think it is a pesky weed. ( we know better dont we).

**Fun fact, Horsetails were around 250 million years BEFORE the dinosaurs!! WOW!**


*This information for educational purposes only. This blog post is not intended to cure any type of disease or replace any prescription medication you are currently taking.

Always make sure to check with your doctor before choosing herbal teas for remedies, as some herbs may not work for all people and may react to certain medications.

This post is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or illness. It is not intended to represent or replace professional medical advice or prescription medicine. It is not intended to give medical advise either. **

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