Horsetail

Plant Part Used

Shoots

Active Constituents

10-20% mineral content (5-8% silicic acid); flavonoids (including quercetin); sterols (including beta-sitosterol); phenolic acids; alkaloids. (1) , (2) [span class=alert]

This section is a list of chemical entities identified in this dietary supplement to possess pharmacological activity. This list does not imply that other, yet unidentified, constituents do not influence the pharmacological activity of this dietary supplement nor does it imply that any one constituent possesses greater influence on the overall pharmacological effect of this dietary supplement.[/span]

Introduction

Horsetail is a plant found throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. Horsetail’s therapeutic uses date back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, where it was used as a remedy to stop bleeding, to treat ulcers, wounds, and inflammation of the skin. (3) Horsetail was used extensively by the early Eclectic Medicine physicians for gonorrhea, prostatitis, enuresis, and other disorders of the urinary tract, based on traditional Native American uses. Currently, horsetail is used in strengthening and supporting connective tissues including bones, as a mild diuretic, and externally in skin care preparations. (4) Horsetail contains silicon, silica, and silicic acid, of which a portion is elemental silicon, a vital element for healthy tissues and organs of the body including the skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones, tendons, and ligaments.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

300-600mg, 3 times a day.

Topical Compress: Use 1 heaping teaspoonful, apply as needed.

Tea: One cup of tea taken between mealtimes using 2 to 3 gm herb per cup. (5)

Infusion: 1.5 gm herb per cup. (6)

Liquid extract: 1 to 4 ml, 3 times daily at a ratio of 1:1. (7)

 

Most Common Dosage

300mg, 3 times a day.

Topical Compress:Use 1 heaping teaspoonful, apply as needed.

Tea: One cup of tea taken between mealtimes using 2 gm herb per cup.

Infusion: 1.5 gm herb per cup.

Liquid extract: 1 ml, 3 times daily at a ratio of 1:1.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 10% silicic acid per dose.

Uses

Frequently Reported Uses

  • Diuretic
  • Urinary Tract Health
  • Connective Tissue Support

Other Reported Uses

  • Wound Dressing For Burns, Abrasions
  • External Use for Skin Care
  • Hemostyptic Agent
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anti- oxidant
  • Anti- proliferation

     

    Toxicities & Precautions

    General

    Horsetail is reported safe in recommended dosages. (8) Oral treatment of horsetail did not show any significant toxicity on the liver. However, further studies are needed to confirm the chronic hepatotoxicity of horsetail. (18)

    Pharmacology

    Horsetail has been reported to have a mild diuretic action in laboratory animals, with the flavonoid content determined as partially responsible for this activity. (9) Externally, horsetail has been reported to have hemostyptic properties, decreasing bleeding in laboratory studies. (10)

    Horsetail has a reported effect on bone and connective tissue, strengthening and aiding in regeneration due to the silicic acid content (including elemental silicon). (11) Silicon performs an important role in connective tissue, especially in bone and cartilage. (12) Silicon's primary effect in bone and cartilage appears to be on formation of the organic matrix. Bone and cartilage abnormalities are associated with a reduction in matrix components, resulting in the establishment of a requirement for silicon in collagen and glycosaminoglycan formation. Additional support for silicon's metabolic role in connective tissue is provided by the finding that silicon is a major ion of osteogenic cells, especially high in the metabolically active state of the cell. Further studies also indicate that silicon participates in the biochemistry of subcellular enzyme-containing structures. (13) Silicon also forms important relationships with other elements. Although it is clear from the body of recent work that silicon performs a specific metabolic function, a structural role has been proposed for silicon in connective tissue. A relationship established between silicon and aging probably relates to glycosaminoglycan changes. (14) In a laboratory study, a greater amount of glycosaminoglycans was reported to be found in the articular cartilage and connective tissue of silicon-supplemented laboratory animals. (15)

    Tests such nitric-oxide inhibition test and radical scavenger activity capacity reported that horsetail has positive effect as an anti-oxidant.(19) Reports showed that horsetail extract is capable of affecting the cell growth through inhibition depending on the feature of the cell. In addition, it is reported that in a dose-dependent manner, the horsetail extract is able to inhibit the lipid peroxyl radicals from causing damage to DN. (17)


     

    Horsetail is used externally in many types of skin products. Horsetail topical preparations are approved by the German Commission E in the management of poorly healing wounds. (16)

    References

    1. View Abstract: D’Agostino M, et al. Sterols from Equisetum arvense. Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper. Dec1984;60(12):2241-5.
    2. Franck Bakke IL, et al. Water-soluble acids from Equisetum arvense L. Acta Pharm Suec. 1978;15(2):141-7.
    3. Blumenthal M, et al. (eds.) in Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commision E Monographs. Integrative Medicine Communications. Newton Mass. 2000;208-211.
    4. Leung A, et al. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: Wiley-Interscience Publication: 1996;306-308.
    5. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:410.
    6. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:410.
    7. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:410.
    8. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium, vol. 1. Bournemouth:British Herbal Medicine Association. 1992;92-93.
    9. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium, vol. 1. Bournemouth:British Herbal Medicine Association. 1992;92-93.
    10. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium, vol. 1. Bournemouth:British Herbal Medicine Association. 1992;92-93.
    11. Harmon NW. Equisetum arvense. Pharm J. 1992;399:413-415.
    12. Silicon and bone formation. Nutr Rev. May1980;38(5):194-5.
    13. View Abstract: Carlisle EM. Silicon as a trace nutrient. Sci Total Environ. Jul1988;73(1-2):95-106.
    14. Carlisle EM. The nutritional essentiality of silicon. Nutr Rev. Jul1982;40(7):193-8.
    15. View Abstract: Carlisle EM. In vivo requirement for silicon in articular cartilage and connective tissue formation in the chick. J Nutr. Apr1976;106(4):478-84.
    16. Blumenthal M, et al. (eds.) in Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commision E Monographs. Integrative Medicine Communications. Newton Mass. 2000;208-211.
    17. Cetojević-Simin DD, Canadanović-Brunet JM, Bogdanović GM, Djilas SM, Cetković GS, Tumbas VT, Stojiljković BT. Antioxidative and antiproliferative activities of different horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) extracts. J Med Food.Apr2010;13(2):452-459.
    18. Baracho NC, Vicente BB, Arruda GD, Sanches BC, Brito J. Study of acute hepatotoxicity of Equisetum arvense L. in rats. Acta Cir Bras. Nov-Dec2009;24(6):449-453.
    19. Stajner D, Popović BM, Canadanović-Brunet J, Boza P. Free radical scavenging activity of three Equisetum species from Fruska gora mountain. Fitoterapia. Dec2006;77(7-8):601-604.