The second-largest horsetail, this species grows to more than 16 feet tall. It has the thickest stem, and bears many whorls of slender branches. Some of them terminate in spore cones. Equisetum fluviatile L., the horsetail species that grows in nearly all US states, and throughout Europe, Russia, Korea, New Zealand, and Canada, has the same medicinal properties as the giant species we encountered in Central America. It is a prehistoric herb that can be dangerous in abnormally high doses.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Central America, Mexico, central Chile to Brazil
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Diuretic, hypotensive, antifungal, anti- inflammatory, analgesic, febrifuge, antitumor, suppurative, antihemorrhagic, and used to
treat hair loss, arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, hepatitis, tuberculosis, jaundice, skin conditions, urinary tract infections, broken bones, muscle cramps, nosebleeds, brittle nails, respiratory infections, renal conditions, wounds
For muscle cramps, arthritis, and skin conditions, soak a handful of dried horsetail in 1 gallon lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Drip a cheesecloth in the water, and place the soaked herb in the cloth. Apply it as a hot or cold compress on the affected area. Repeat two to three times per day. To reduce inflammation and pain, grind the plant into a paste, and apply directly to the affected area. This is especially
successful when used after a compress. For brittle nails, steep 1 tablespoon dried horsetail in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and soak the nails in the infusion for
20 minutes. After soaking, apply extra-virgin olive oil to soften the cuticles. This is best if done before bed, and used in conjunction with gloves while you sleep. Repeat three times per week. This infusion is also effective in treating hair with split ends. For all other conditions, make an infusion by steeping a small handful
of dried horsetail (or two large handfuls fresh) in 1 liter boiling water for 10 minutes. Sip throughout the day. When cooled, this same infusion can be used as a skin or hair rinse. For athlete’s foot, mix 1 cup chopped, fresh horsetail with 4 cups boiling apple cider vinegar. Steep overnight. Use as a foot soak for 10 days. For wounds, boil, covered, a small handful of fresh horsetail for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and then apply to the wounds. This is also effective in stopping bleeding.