Horsetail contains up to 70% silicon (silica). Other constituents include alkaloids, including nicotine, palustrine and palustrinine; flavonoids such as isoquercitrin, campesteril, saponin equisitonin, dimethylsulphone, thiaminase and aconitic acid.
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Horsetail is used for the building of strong bones*, repair of joint cartilage, to strengthen fingernails, and/or stimulate hair growth. The predominant element, natural occurring silicon is the key ingredient to its curative properties.
*Bone growth involves the process of adding calcium for hardness, plus increasing collagen. Silicon (silica plus oxygen form silica, more correctly noted as silicon dioxide) is essential for both of these processes. An important study conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that silicon-supplemented bones have a one hundred percent increase in collagen when compared with low-silicon bones.
Known Dosages (for Adults):
Strong bones, joint cartilage, hair and nails
1/2 to 1 teaspoon in water twice daily. Best results if mixed equally with nettle tincture (see Horsetail/Nettle tincture)
Support for healthy bladder function 1 teaspoon in water at bedtime
Mouthwash for gum infections and throat inflammation
combine 1 teaspoon of Horsetail tincture with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in 1/2 cup of warm water and gargle
Do not use Horsetail if impaired heart or kdney function exists.
Do not use this tincture in combination with anti-hypertensive drugs, digitalis, corticosteroids, heparin, or lithium.
Horsetail interacts with Lithium. Taking Horsetail might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects.
If taking Horsetail for a prolonged time, supplement thiamine (Vitamin B1) in your diet, because it will interfere with thiamine absorption. Avoid taking the thiamine at the same time as the Horsetail.
Because horsetail can also cause low levels of thiamin, you should not take horsetail if you drink heavily.
Horsetail contains some nicotine, and should not be used if you are also using nicotine replacement patches or chewing gum.
Horsetail might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use horsetail.
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:208-211.
Bradley P, ed. British Herbal Compendium. Vol. I. Dorset (Great Britain): British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992:92-94.
Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical; 1998:85.
Cetojevic-Simin DD. Antioxidative and antiproliferative activities of different horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) extracts. J Med Food. 2010;13(2):452-9.
Corletto F. [Female climacteric osteoporosis therapy with titrated horsetail (Equisetum arvense) extract plus calcium (osteosil calcium): randomized double blind study]. Miner Ortoped Traumatol. 1999;50:201-206.
D'Agostino M, Dini A, Pizza C, et al. Sterols from Equisetum arvense. Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper. 1984;60(12):2241-2245.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare provider and should not be construed to indicate that the use of this herbal product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare provider before taking this herbal product.