What Is Horsetail? Discover Its Benefits And Uses

What Is Horsetail? Discover Its Benefits And Uses | horsetail | General Health

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is an herbal plant found in Europe, Asia, North America, and the Middle East.[1] The name Equisetum literally translates to “horse bristle” in Latin. It’s also known as scouring rush and shave grass. Horsetail is a legitimate living fossil. Plants like horsetail were around before the dinosaurs. Some of these prehistoric plants were even 100-foot tall, tree-like giants.[2] Today’s common horsetail tops out at about 1.5 feet. And while the plant itself is quite interesting, what really makes horsetail so special is its ability to support our health naturally.

Horsetail Health Benefits

The above-ground bits of the horsetail plant are loaded with healthful properties.[3] Horsetail was used in Ancient Greece and Rome as an herbal remedy for wounds, ulcers, and kidney problems.[2] It has also been traditionally used to promote fluid balance and encourage normal urination; a use supported by modern research.[4]

Horsetail contains silicon,[5] which is known to be beneficial for bone health.[6] Studies confirm that horsetail extract along with calcium support normal bone density.[2]

The list goes on. Horsetail contains antioxidants[7] and a 2006 study found that the essential oil of horsetail may be effective against some types of harmful organisms.[8] One study even found horsetail ointment eased discomfort and hastened healing for women after an episiotomy.[9]

Horsetail has seen thousands of years of use as a natural remedy. Despite this, horsetail only recently started receiving serious scholarly attention. There’s still a lot to be discovered and we are looking forward to learning what research will show. With that said, horsetail has many traditional uses that, as of now, have yet to be confirmed or rejected through credible research. Horsetail has been used as a traditional remedy for:[3]

  • Kidney and bladder health
  • Promoting a healthy body weight
  • Thick and full looking hair
  • Frostbite
  • Heavy periods
  • Fluid retention
  • Urinary tract health
  • Incontinence

Supplementing with Horsetail

Horsetail offers some amazing benefits, but it does carry a few precautions as well. Horsetail contains trace amounts of nicotine. Children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take it.[2] Horsetail breaks down the vitamin, thiamine, which could lead to thiamine deficiency.[3] Consult your healthcare provider before you start supplementing with any new herb.

The use of horsetail goes back thousands of years, and it’s still popular today. There are many ways to supplement with horsetail. It’s available as a dried herb or in liquid form, so choose what suits your needs.

I can recommend a couple of excellent supplements that contain horsetail. The first is Renaltrex®, a blend of horsetail and other powerful herbs that help promote normal kidney function. I also recommend ArthrOrganics, a liquid blend of organic botanicals, including horsetail, used to support joint health. As with any supplementation, the best way to choose what best meets your needs is evaluating those needs carefully. This often means speaking with your primary care provider.

Have you used horsetail? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience.


  1. “Horsetail.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
  2. “Horsetail.” University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland, 2 Jan. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
  3. “Horsetail.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
  4. Carneiro, Danilo Maciel et al. “Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial to Assess the Acute Diuretic Effect of Equisetum Arvense (Field Horsetail) in Healthy Volunteers.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2014 (2014): 760683. PMC. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
  5. Sola-Rabada, Anna, Julia Rinck, David J. Belton, Annie K. Powell, and Carole C. Perry. “Isolation of a Wide Range of Minerals from a Thermally Treated Plant: Equisetum Arvense, a Mare’s Tale.” J Biol Inorg Chem JBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry 21.1 (2016): 101-12.PubMed. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
  6. JUGDAOHSINGH, R. “SILICON AND BONE HEALTH.” The journal of nutrition, health & aging 11.2 (2007): 99–110. Print.
  7. Graefe, E.u., and M. Veit. “Urinary Metabolites of Flavonoids and Hydroxycinnamic Acids in Humans after Application of a Crude Extract from Equisetum Arvense.” Phytomedicine 6.4 (1999): 239-46. Web.
  8. Radulović, N., Stojanović, G. and Palić, R. (2006), Composition and antimicrobial activity of Equisetum arvense L. essential oil. Phytother. Res., 20: 85–88. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1815.
  9. Asgharikhatooni, Azam et al. “The Effect of Equisetum Arvense (Horse Tail) Ointment on Wound Healing and Pain Intensity After Episiotomy: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal17.3 (2015): e25637. PMC. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
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About The Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

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