Field horsetail is a perennial from Horsetail family (Equisetaceae). In early spring brown unbranched fertile stems start to grow from a deep profuse root. At the top of stems, sporangia develop and as soon as spores grow, fertile sprouts die away. In early summer a root again germinates; this time green sterile stems that are hollow and with joint segments. From joint segments of stems long dentate leaves grow, which are smaller at the end and are facing down. Field horsetail is known mainly as tough weed that is difficult to exterminate. Therefore it is not difficult to find it as it grows by marshes and ditches, on moist and sandy meadows, fields etc.
In Slovenia the following horsetails grow: Scouringrush horsetail (Equisetum hyemale L.), marsh horsetail (Equisetum palustre), water horsetail (Equisetum limosum) and giant horsetail (Equisetum maximum L.). They grow mainly on marshes and swamps and they differ from a field horsetail mainly in leaves as they have horizontal and sagging leaves. You should be careful during the harvest as the above mentioned plants are poisonous and are not used for medicinal purposes.
Field horsetail's stems used to be used as a predecessor of pan scourers. Because of its surface full of silicic crystals, they can be used as fine emery paper and are of great help when cleaning pots and pans. If you want to try it on your own, we suggest you to take a couple of dried stems without leaves and rub it hard. After cleaning rinse a pot in order to avoid eventual green spots.
Useful parts and effects
For medicinal purposes only its green sterile stems can be used, which can be harvested during the whole summer. They contain silicic acid, equisetrine, equisetonin, oxalic acid, aconitic acid, potassium salt, flavonoids and bitter substances.
It is used for eliminating water from the body and for passing on kidney sand or stones on their own. It is used to stop bleeding and treating lung diseases, bronchitis and tuberculosis. It is good for diets, it enforces metabolism and the activity of kidneys. Herbalists recommend it also for treating rheumatism, gout and nerves pain. Gargle its tea for treating the inflammation of gums and mouth mucous membrane. It is beneficial for monthly bleeding and vaginal discharges. In cosmetics it is used for anti-wrinkle treatments and treating haematomas and cellulite. It lowers blood pressure, it relieves the pain related to varicose veins and broken capillaries. No side effects or toxicity known.
Tincture for internal use
Soak 20 g of the plant in 20% alcohol for eight days. Consume 2-3 teaspoons of tincture per day.
Tea is prepared as decoction. Pour 0.25 litre of water over 2 teaspoons of herbs and let it boil for 5 minutes. Drink it 2-3 times per day during meals.
Soak 100 g of herbs in cold water during the night. The following day warm it up to the boiling point and pour it into the water for bathing. It is recommended to take a 20-minute bath with water above your kidneys. Do not dry your body after the bath; put on your bathrobe while you are still wet and sweat for one hour in the bed.
Note: The listed recipes are of general meaning and can vary in relation to an illness. That is why an experienced phytotherapist should be consulted before the usage in order to have the best effect.