Marsh Horsetail - Equisetum palustre
Herb: Marsh Horsetail
Latin name: Equisetum palustre
Family: Equisetaceae (Horsetail Family)
Medicinal use of Marsh Horsetail:Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. An infusion or decoction of the plants has been used in the treatment of constipation, stomach and bowel complaints.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Bogs, fens, marshes and wet heaths, woods and meadows throughout Britain, ascending to 900 metres.
Other uses of Marsh Horsetail:The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal and as a fine sandpaper. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed.
Propagation of the herb:Spores - best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.
Cultivation of Marsh Horsetail:Bogs, fens, marshes and wet heaths, woods and meadows throughout Britain, ascending to 900 metres.
Known hazards of Equisetum palustre:Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid - see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.