Horsetail, Uses of Horsetail, Bottle brush

Equisetum arvense Equisetaceae Also called Bottle brush.

Thriving in swamps and marshes, horsetail is found widely in Europe and the USA. Its fertile stem dies away and is replaced by a tall sterile stem bearing several rings of leaves. The plant, which looks much like a baby's bottle brush) was once employed as an abrasive to scour pots or to smooth rough wood.

Parts used

  • Sterile stem
  • Stems are gathered in summer.
  • Stems with brown marks are rejected, as these indicate the presence of parasites.
  • Once dried, stems are only suitable for use if they remain green.
  • Horsetail is mainly used as a powder, but it can be used fresh or as a liquid extract or tincture.


Horsetail is rich in minerals. The main one is silica, believed to have a connective tissue-strengthening and antiarthritic effect. The stem also contains flavonoids - which have antioxidant and diuretic actionsorganic acids and nicotine.

Medicinal uses

Traditionally, extracts of horsetail have been used to treat a wide range of ailments including genitourinary infections, kidney problems, prostate problems, obesity, arthritis, bleeding ulcers and tuberculosis. The silica in horsetail is thought to strengthen connective tissue - in tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone - which helps to explain its use in treating rheumatic complaints.

Horsetail is also prescribed to combat cellulite, a fatty deposit that collects around the thighs and buttocks. It provides a source of minerals for people prone to bone fractures and is used to treat tetany - involuntary jerking and trembling.

Horsetail is prescribed for internal and external bleeding, and vaginal discharge. In 2002 Russian scientists demonstrated its protective effects- against hepatitis.


  • Do not use horsetail for more than six weeks at a time.
  • Do not take it if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Horsetail may irritate the digestive tract.
  • Do not take if you have heart or kidney disease.
  • Be careful not to confuse horsetail with the poisonous marsh horsetail (Equisetum palustre).


For internal use

TO TREAT kidney problems, rheumatism, cellulite, brittle bones, involuntary shaking INFUSION Put 2-4g dry stem into 200m I boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes.

Or use one horsetail teabag to a cup of boiling water and allow to infuse for 5-10 minutes. Drink 1 cup a day.

COLD MACERATION Put 2-4g dry stem into 200ml of cold water. Leave to macerate (soak) for12 hours and strain. Drink half of this, twice a day.

POWDER Take 2g three times a day.
LIQUID EXTRACT Take 25 drops in a glass of water four times a day.



Horsetail prefers swampy or marshy ground in the sun or light shade. it is an invasive weed in the garden.


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