Horsetail is widely distributed throughout the temperate climate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, including Asia, North America, and Europe. Horsetail is a unique plant with two distinctive types of stems. One variety of stem grows early in spring and looks like asparagus, except for its brown color and spore-containing cones on top. The mature form of the herb, appearing in summer, has branched, thin, green, sterile stems and looks like a feathery tail.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), an herbal remedy since ancient times, has traditionally been used to stop bleeding, increase urine production, repair broken bones, and treat rheumatic conditions such as arthritis. Today, horsetail continues to have medicinal value. The plant's stems are rich in silica and silicic acids, which help mend broken bones and form collagen, an important protein found in connective tissue, skin, bone, cartilage, and ligaments. Horsetail is also used as a diuretic, a treatment for kidney and bladder complaints, and an external therapy for bleeding wounds. Horsetail is very rich in silicic acid and silicates, which provide approximately 2-3% elemental silicon. Potassium, aluminum, and manganese along with fifteen different types of bioflavonoids are also found in the herb. The presence of these bioflavonoids are believed to cause the diuretic action, while the silicon content is said to exert a connective tissue-strengthening and anti-arthritic action. Horsetail is an excellent astringent for the genito-urinary system, reducing hemorrhage and healing wounds thanks to the high silica content. Whilst it acts as a mild diuretic, its toning and astringent actions make it invaluable in the treatment of incontinence and bed wetting in children. It is considered a specific in cases of inflammation or benign enlargement of the prostate gland. Externally it is a vulnerary. In some cases it has been found to ease the pain of rheumatism and stimulate the healing of chilblains.
Horsetail has been used a long time in both Chinese and European herbology to treat external wounds. Because of its high tannin content, Horsetail helps halt bleeding, making it a popular treatment for nosebleeds and hemorrhoids. Horsetail also alleviates painful urination, reduces inflammation of the prostate gland, and helps eliminate some cases of adolescent bed wetting. Primary chemical constituents of Horsetail include flavonoids, bitter principle, alkaloids (equisetin, nicotine, palustrine, palustrinine), silica, calcium, manganese, magnesium, sulphur, phytosterols, and tannin. Horsetail is very rich in silicic acid and silicates, which provide approximately 2-3% elemental silicon. Potassium, aluminum, and manganese along with fifteen different types of bioflavonoids are also found in the herb. The presence of these bioflavonoids are believed to cause a diuretic action, while the silica content is said to exert a connective tissue-strengthening and anti-arthritic action. Some experts have suggested that the element silica is a vital component for bone and cartilage formations This would indicate that Horsetail may be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis.