Horsetail Herb Profile

Herb Profile Horsetail Shavegrass Uses and Benefits Horsetail Herb Profile

What is Horsetail?

Horsetail (also called Shavegrass) is an herb that I always keep in the herb cabinet (which is what I have instead of a medicine cabinet).

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

“The plant at that time was as tall as a modern palm tree. Horsetail, not to be confused with cat-tail, is possibly the most abundant source of silica in the plant kingdom, so much in fact that the herb can be used for polishing metal. It got the name “scouring rush” from this very application. It has had other uses during the ages including as an ingredient in shampoos, skincare products, and in dietary supplements. The German E commission describes its use for urinary tract problems and as a diuretic.”

This article elaborates:

“Horsetail is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, coagulant, demulcent, diuretic and astringent activity. Reportedly, it has been used in the treatment of a number of health conditions which include brittle bone, hair, teeth and nails, white spots on nails, gingivitis, tonsillitis, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth, rheumatic disorders, edema, osteoarthritis, diabetes, acne, wounds, itchiness, rashes, burns, frostbite, chilblains, athlete’s foot, cracked and tired feet, drawing out pus from boils and carbuncles, ulcers, fistulas, herpes simplex, dyspepsia (impaired digestion), gastrointestinal conditions, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, fever, malaria, bladder problems, urinary tract infection, bed wetting in children, kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), prostate problems, hemorrhoids, muscle cramps, tumors, broken bones, fractures, sprains, nose bleed and other heavy bleeding. Horsetail is also known to strengthen the body’s immune system.”

Horsetail Uses

I often use Horsetail, especially in external preparations due to its skin/hair supportive high silica content. We use horsetail for:

  • An herbal hair rinse that supports strong hair and hair growth. I brew a strong herbal tea (1/2 cup horsetail to 1 cup water), steep for an hour, strain and use as a hair rinse in the shower.
  • For boils and blisters- I grind horsetail with plantain and add enough water to create a paste and then pack on to boils or blisters and cover with gauze to speed healing.
  • Sore Throat-For sore throat, I make a gargle with a strong horsetail infusion (steeping horsetail in boiling water and then cooling) with sea salt and lemon juice and then gargle with this mixture a few times a day while symptoms persist.
  • Bedwetting/Bladder Problems- From this article “Studies have shown that Horsetail extract may be beneficial for patients suffering from nocturnal incontinence (bed-wetting), bladder and urinary tract infections and weakened bladder. It may also relieve the persistent urge to urinate with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Suggested remedy is to take one capsule of Horsetail extract two to three times daily. It is reported that taking a bath with Horsetail tea for at least 15 minutes two to three times a week may be helpful for UTI and Bladder weakness. For steam bath, steep 10 teaspoons of dried Horsetail into one quart of boiling water for 10-15 minutes and add the strained tea into the bath water.”

Additional Notes

I avoid horsetail when pregnant or nursing (so my whole married life) but use it externally for hair or skin if needed. From MRH:

“When taking horsetail powder for its diuretic effect, be sure to drink extra water for maximum benefit. Avoid if there are kidney stones. Don’t take horsetail herb if you take an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure and you have congestive heart failure, as the combination of the herb and the drug can cause accumulation of excessive potassium. Not recommended while pregnant. Toxicity similar to nicotine poisoning has been seen in children who ingest large amounts.”

Have you ever used horsetail? How did you use it? Tell me below!

Reader Comments

  1. Abbi Cobb says

    This is one of the herbs that is on my mental list to try this year. We have it growing wild in our neighborhood and I have been reading about it several places. Thanks for the information that you shared!

  2. C. Isler says

    Yes, I like to use it for what its nickname implies, shaving. I’ll use horsetail tea to make the lye solution for shaving soap. Have yet to try it internally, but I think I will now. Every time I’ve ever gone down to the river to harvest it, I’ve ended up with a bad case of poison ivy. So now I find one ounce packages in the spice section at Walmart of all places.

  3. Kate says

    I’m currently taking horsetail in tincture form in an effort to heal some torn cartilage in my hip. *fingers crossed*

  4. Ashley Mitchell says

    Hi:)
    I have a question about Horsetail and breastfeeding. I see you do not take it while pregnant or breastfeeding. I have read this elsewhere too. I’m a bit confused, I was going to order Dr Christopher’s calcium tea, then I realized I could just make it myself at a much better price with bulk herbs from Mountain Rose. So I’ve ordered the herbs, comfry, horsetail, oatstraw, raspberry…a few others since while bf i drink nettle and raspberry regularly anyway…
    i went on the Dr Christopher’s legacy page and found that this combo of herbs is something he would prescribe to help heal teeth and grow stronger teeth in children and he also advised pregnant and breastfeeding women to take it. so I’m all excited about making this formula myself with a recipe I found but now I’m concerned about the Horsetail. Has anyone taken Dr Christopher’s calcium formula while pregnant or bf? I’m wondering if I should just leave the comfry (sp?) and horsetail out and just make a mouth wash with those herbs to add to my teeth healing regiment.
    does anyone know anything about it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)
    Ashley

    • Theo says

      I can’t speak on the pregnancy subject, but I do know from personal experience that it does help with teeth and gum issues. I used the tincture.

  5. Jebby Leighton says

    I just read about this herb and its healing potential for osteoporosis. I have osteopenia. How would I use this herb long term?

  6. Deb says

    I am confused about horsetail and kidney stones. I get calcium oxalate stones so I usually have to avoid greens and things with heavy tannins. I thought this was good for them but you said do not take it if you have stones. I never know when they may be forming so what do you recommend? Thanks so much. I want to live healthy but am afraid of greens, sincerely, Deb

  7. Andrea says

    Hi Katie
    I want to use the horsetail on blisters, when I do bars in crossfit I get a lot of blisters on my hands and because of that I have to stop my training until they get better and dry, I need something that can dry them super fast. In your recipe you mention plantain, is that the actual plantain? The whole plantain? Just the inside or out? Or is an oil?
    I’m also going to use tea tree oil for it, maybe that can help to dry faster. But I also want to try the horsetail recipe .
    Pleaseee help me with this !!! Thank you

  8. says

    Hi Katie,

    Do you recommend liquid extract or tincture form of horsetail? I am unsure of the difference between the two– can you clarify?

    Also, do you know of a reputable company that ships to the UK?

    Thanks for this great post. Looking forward to getting some.

  9. Larry Goss says

    i take ‘ all day energy greens ” and i have noticed my hair in places is turning dark , one of the ingredients is horsetail i would like your comment and if this is what is helping the hair change color how can i accelerate the process thank you

  10. Fritzi says

    Horsetail grows in my backyard. I need to know whether to use it only in its dry state, or can it be used in a green, freshly harvested state? It is so prolific that I’m pulling it as it crosses ‘baracades’ into unapproved territory. New green, mature green, or dried…please respond.

    • Nan says

      I’ve read online (while researching silica) that the fresh and/ or ground state are used for polishing tin, so not to be taken internally or you could damage your insides. You could make a tea or throw in the bath for a soak.

Join the Conversation...

Your email address will not be published. Please read the comment policy.