Nutritionally Supports Healthy Urinary Tract Function!Horsetail is well known for its mineral content, specifically silica, which is concentrated in the shoots of the plant. Solaray Guaranteed Potency Horsetail provides a consistent level of 10% silica and is extracted from the shoots of the plant.
Horsetail is widely distributed throughout the temperate climate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, including Asia, North America, and Europe.1 Horsetail is a unique plant with two distinctive types of stems. One variety of stem grows early in spring and looks like asparagus, except for its brown color and the spore-containing cones on top. The mature form of the herb, appearing in summer, has branched, thin, green, sterile stems and looks like a feathery tail.
Horsetail has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): Since recommended by the Roman physician Galen, several cultures have employed horsetail as a folk remedy for kidney and bladder troubles, arthritis, bleeding ulcers, and tuberculosis. Additionally, the topical use of horsetail is said to stop the bleeding of wounds and promote rapid healing. The use of this herb as an abrasive cleanser to scour pots or shave wood illustrates the origin of horsetail's common names scouring rush and shave grass.
Active constituents: Horsetail is rich in silicic acid and silicates, which provide approximately 2-3% elemental silicon. Potassium, aluminum, and manganese along with fifteen different types of bioflavonoids are also found in the herb. The presence of these bioflavonoids is believed to cause the diuretic action, while the silicon content is said to exert a connective tissue strengthening and antiarthritic action.3 Some experts have suggested that the element silicon is a vital component for bone and cartilage formation.4 This would indicate that horsetail may be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis. Anecdotal reports suggest that horsetail may be of some use in the treatment of brittle nails.
How much is usually taken? The German Commission E monograph suggests up to 6 grams of the herb daily for internal use.5 This should be divided in two to three doses. A tincture can also be used at 2-6 ml three times per day.
Are there any side effects or interactions? Horsetail is generally considered safe for nonpregnant adults. The only concern would be that the correct species of horsetail is used; Equisetum palustre is another species of horsetail, which contains toxic alkaloids and is a well-known livestock poison.
The Canadian Health Protection Branch requires supplement manufacturers to document that their products do not contain the enzyme thiaminase, found in crude horsetail, which destroys the B vitamin thiamin. Since alcohol, temperature, and alkalinity neutralize this potentially harmful enzyme, tinctures, fluid extracts, or preparations of the herb subjected to 100 C temperatures during manufacturing are preferred for medicinal use.