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Uses

Toxic parts

Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase[1], a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex[2]. 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[1]. The plant also contains equisetic acid - see the notes on medicinal uses for more information[3].

Edible uses

Notes

Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) - cooked and used as an asparagus substitute[4][5][6][7]. They should be used when young[8] but even so it is probably best to change the water, perhaps 3 - 4 times[9][10]. One report says that they can be eaten raw[1], they are peeled and the shoot tip is discarded[3]. It is said to be a very tedious operation and they should not be eaten raw in any quantity, see the notes above on toxicity[K].

Some native tribes liked to eat the young vegetative shoots, picked before they had branched out, and would often collect them in great quantity then hold a feast to eat them[11]. The leaf sheaths were peeled off and the stems eaten raw - they were said to be 'nothing but juice'[11]. Roots - raw[6]. The tuberous growths on the rhizomes are used in the spring[1]. The black nodules attached to the roots are edible[11]. It takes considerable effort to collect these nodules so it is normally only done in times of desperation. However, native peoples would sometimes raid the underground caches of roots collected by lemmings and other rodents in order to obtain these nodules[11].

A further report says that the peeled stems, base of the plant, root and tubers were eaten raw by the N. American Indians, the report went on to say that this may be inadvisable[9].

Material uses

The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal[12][4][13][7][10] and as a fine sandpaper[4][14][15][11]. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc[7].

The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses[16][17][13][14]. It also makes a good liquid feed[14]. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem[15][11]. It is yellow-gray according to another report[10].

The plant has been used for making whistles[11].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants[18]. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals[18]. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood[19]. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity[19].

The plant is anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic and vulnerary[12][4][20][13][21][5][6][22][1][23][24]. The green infertile stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be harvested in late summer and dried for later use[12][20]. Sometimes the ashes of the plant are used[12]. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, cystitis, urethritis, prostate disease and internal bleeding, proving especially useful when there is bleeding in the urinary tract[12][18][19]. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing[12]. It is especially effective on nose bleeds[4]. A decoction of the herb added to a bath benefits slow-healing sprains and fractures, as well as certain irritable skin conditions such as eczema[19]. The plant contains equisetic acid, which is thought to be identical to aconitic acid. This substance is a potent heart and nerve sedative that is a dangerous poison when taken in high doses[3]. This plant contains irritant substances and should only be used for short periods of time[18]. It is also best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant[4]. It is used in the treatment of cystitis and other complaints of the urinary system[4].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

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[25]. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Equisetum arvense. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers poor dusty ground[26][14]. This rather contradicts another report which says that the presence of this plant indicates underground water[12]. Prefers a moist but well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5[25][18].

A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c[25].

Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground[25].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Equisetum arvense. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Equisetum arvense.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Equisetum arvense
Genus
Equisetum
Family
Equisetaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
2
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Equisetum arvense foliage.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Equisetum arvense foliage.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Equisetum arvense foliage.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Equisetum arvense foliage.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    "image:Equisetum arvense foliage.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
    2. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.4 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.54.64.74.84.9 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Sweet. M. Common Edible and Useful Plants of the West. Naturegraph Co. ISBN 0-911010-54-8 (1962-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1986-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.4 Kavasch. B. Native Harvests. Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-72811-4 (1979-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.611.711.8 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.412.512.612.712.8 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.4 Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.314.4 Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.118.218.318.418.5 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.219.319.4 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.120.2 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    23. ? 23.023.1 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    24. ? 24.024.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.125.225.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    26. ? De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden. ()
    27. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

    "image:Equisetum arvense foliage.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
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    Has mature height0.6 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
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    Has primary imageEquisetum arvense foliage.jpg +
    Has search nameequisetum arvense + and field horsetail +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameEquisetum arvense +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
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    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
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    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
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