Horsetail Common Uses and Health Benefits

Horsetail is a multi-purpose herb widely used for its anti-inflammatory properties to treat urinary tract infections. In some countries, this is the only type of horsetail used for medicinal purposes, as all the others are considered toxic. Modern clinical studies have shown that essential oil of Equisetum arvense possesses a broad spectrum of a very strong antimicrobial activity against many bacteria and fungi including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella enteritidis; Aspergillus niger and Candida albicans. In oriental traditional medicine, horsetail is used for the treatment of hepatitis (liver disease). Modern clinical studies have supported this use. Researchers discovered that several compounds extracted from horsetail plant protect the liver acting as antioxidants.

Horsetail has also been used traditionally as a herbal remedy for torn ligaments, arthritis (especially rheumatoid arthritis), and inflammations probably because it is one of the richest herbs in silicon. Silicon is required for proper formation of collagen in bone, cartilage, and other connective tissues, while collagen is a "glue" that holds connective tissues together. Since the silicon content in the heart blood vessels and skin tends to decline with age, dietary supplementation may be useful to prevent degeneration of heart blood vessels and skin in older people and pets.

Horsetail contains compounds that promote the loss of water from the body. Taken orally for a few days, at most, horsetail may relieve swelling due to the excess accumulation of water in the body, but prescription diuretics ("water pills") and antibiotics are now much more effective for both of these uses. Do not use in pets with bladder stones composed of silica or related minerals; heart disease or high blood pressure.

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