馬尾草.Horse Tail

Scientific Name: Equisetum arvense

Family: Equisetaceae

Common Name:  Scouring rush

Biological Name: Equisetum arvense, Equiseti hiemalis, Mu zei


Other Names: Shave grass, scouring rush, equisetum, pewterwort, corncob plant, bottle brush, Horsetail. 


Horsetail is a perennial plant that is found in or near watery areas such as marshes, streams, or rivers. Horsetail grows in temperate northern hemisphere areas of Asia, Europe, North America, and North Africa. It flourishes where it can root in water or clay soil.

 Horsetail is a derivative of larger plants that grew 270 million years ago during the carboniferous period. It belongs to the Equisetaceae family and is a relative of the fern.

     There are over 20 species of horsetail. The species most commonly used medicinally is field horsetail (Equisetum arvense). E. arvense grows up to 1.5 ft (0.5 m) in corn fields and wet meadows. Wood horsetail (E. sylvaticum) grows in copses and on hedgebanks, usually to a height of 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m). This species is used as food for horses in parts of Sweden. River horsetail (E. maximum) is the largest of the European species of horsetail. Found in bogs, ditches, and on banks of rivers and ponds, E. maximum grows to a height of 3-6 ft (1-2 m). 

Horsetail has no leaves or flowers and grows in two stages. The first stage occurs during the early spring. At this time, a fertile, hollow stem appears that resembles asparagus. After these stems have withered and died, the second stage begins. During this stage, which occurs during the summer months, thin, green, barren stems branch out from the plant. It is during this stage that horsetail is gathered for medicinal use. 

Horsetail was named for its bristly appearance. The genus name Equisetum is derived from the Latin words equus, meaning horse, and seta, meaning bristle. Other names for horsetail include shave-grass, bottle-brush, and paddock-pipes. 

Horsetail contains silicon, potassium, aluminum, manganese, saponins, phytosterols, phenolic acids, cafeeic acids, alkaloids, and tannins. Fifteen types of bioflavonoids are also present. These bioflavonoids are believed to be responsible for horsetail's strong diuretic action. The high silicon content of the herb strengthens connective tissue, ligaments, bones, hair, and fingernails.

 The constituents found are flavonoids (quercetin luteolin and protogenkwanin glucosides, kaempferol, isoquercitrin and apigenin) phenolic acids, silicic acid, minerals, saponin (equisetonin) palustrine and palustrinine alkaloid, dimethylsulphone thiaminase and aconitic acid as well as equistetolic acid. The sterols contained in horsetail include cholesterol, isofucosterol, and campesterol. 

l          Saponosides (5%):

equisetonin, which gives arabinose, fructose and equisetogenine when hydrolyzed.  

l          Flavonoids:

especially isoquercitrin, galuteoline and equisetrine.  

l          Alkaloids:

in small quantities (3-metoxypiridine, nicotine and palustrine).

The remaining components of Equisetum are small amounts of the

 following compounds:

vitamin C, malic acid, oxalic acid, glycerides of stearic, linoleic and oleic acids. 

Horsetail has traditionally been used as a diuretic, haemostatic and re-mineralizer. At first it was believed that the diuretic activity was caused by the inorganic elements of the plant (silicon), but today it seems to have been demonstrated that the action is caused by the flavonoids and saponins. 

It has a considerable haemostatic and cicatrizing action and has therefore been used traditionally to treat certain hemorrhages. Its rematerializing action must also be stressed, caused by the silica content. 

In cosmetics, this herb is used as an epithelial regenerator due to the presence of saponins and flavonoids in its composition. These components act to cicatrize and epithelize the skin, and silica has also been attributed with a stabilizing action on the conjunctive tissue working through epithelial regeneration to strengthen this tissue. 

Horsetail extracts are associated with other plants such as ginseng and cornflower to enhance the action providing elasticity and helping in the treatment of wrinkles, and liquorice due to its elasticity enhancement. 

Legal classification of Horsetail extract in cosmetic and skincare products.

 The extract of Equisetum arvense is used as a skin-conditioning agent in cosmetic manufacture and chemically classed as a biological compound. 


  Two types of shoots 1 to 3 feet tall merge from horsetail's underground rootstock. Both types are round, hollow, stiff, and jointed. The stem sections easily pull apart. The first type of shoot (fig.) is tan, appears early in spring, and ends in a terminal, cone-like structure. The later, green, sterile shoot (fig.) bears whorls of pine-needle-like branches and looks like a horse's tail. Scouringrush sends up long, tapering, cane-like shoots 1-6 feet tall. These stiff, evergreen shoots terminate in spore-producing cones. Leaves are reduced to teeth-like scales arranged in whorls around the joints of the stems (fig.). The plants commonly grow on shaded, moist soil in meadows, along roadsides, in ditches and thickets, along stream banks, at the borders of swamps, and on railroad embankments.

For healthy hair, skin and nails, try Horsetail. Out of all known herbs, Horsetail contains the highest amount of silica, which is an important nutrient for healthy hair, skin, nails, and connective tissues throughout the body. Since ancient times, Horsetail has also been used to heal wounds, treat urinary infections, and strengthen bones.

Primary chemical constituents of Horsetail include flavonoids, bitter principle, alkaloids (equisetin, nicotine, palustrine, palustrinine), silica, calcium, manganese, magnesium, sulphur, phytosterols, and tannin. Horsetail is very 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 are believed to cause a diuretic action, while the silica content is said to exert a connective tissue-strengthening and anti-arthritic action. Some experts have suggested that the element silica is a vital component for bone and cartilage formations This would indicate that Horsetail may be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis.


The medicinal use of horsetail dates back to ancient Roman and Greek times. The Greeks used horsetail as a wound healer, a diuretic, and an agent to stop bleeding. Nicholas Culpepper, a popular seventeenth century herbalist, wrote of horsetail's beneficial properties in stopping bleeding, and treating ulcers, kidney stones , wounds, and skin inflammation. In the nineteenth century, horsetail was also used to treat gonorrhea, prostatitis, and urinary incontinence . 

The North American native peoples used horsetail to treat a number of kidney and bladder ailments. The Cherokee used horsetail to aid the kidneys. Chippewa natives made a decoction out of horsetail stems and used it to treat painful or difficult urination. The Okanagan-Colville and Potowatami peoples made a horsetail infusion as a diuretic to aid kidney function. 

Horsetail's reedy exterior and silica content have made it a popular metal polisher and natural abrasive cleanser. One species is so rich in silica that it was imported from Holland for the purpose of polishing metal, hence the nickname Dutch rushes. Another nickname is pewterwort, so named because it was used to scour pewter. Dairy maids of England used horsetail to scour their milk pails, while early Americans used it to scrub their metal pots and pans. 

Horsetail has been used internally and externally as a folk medicine to treat rheumatism and gout, coughs and asthma, acne, brittle hair and fingernails, and as a blood purifier. Shoots of a larger species of horsetail were sometimes eaten by the poorer classes, although the food lacked taste and wasn't very nutritious.


Horsetails have been around for a very long time, records date back to 400 million years ago. Britain and Europe are where scientists give credit to the place where horsetails were "born", but now they grow world-wide. Throughout history the horsetail has been used to help certain illnesses and solving problems we wouldn’t think to be associated with horsetail.

For medical reasons horsetail helped with blood conditions such as anemia, bleeding of the lungs and stomach, and hemorrhoids. It can also help with brain and nervous system like depression and delusion, along with painful urination, prostate problems, and kidney and bladder stones. Horsetail can solve problems with brittle nails and hair, due to the silica content, white spots on nails, and it has even been used to help stop bedwetting in children.

Besides curing some illnesses, horsetail is used to manufacture whistles and different shoe polishes. People around the world also use horsetail to clean metal, and pewter.

To some people horsetail is a wonderful plant, to others horsetail is a weed. When horsetail appears in gardens they are usually hard to get ride of because of the small root-like structures called rhizomes. Their small features allow the rhizomes to regenerate because most people don’t get the whole plant.


The horsetail can be found in most of the USA along with most of the Northwest North America. Places with damp and shady surroundings are most likeable for horsetails.

Silica and horsetail: 

Horsetail is rich in minerals, particularly silica deposited in its stems. Silica helps to promote the body's absorption of calcium, an important component in tissue repair and bone and cartilage formation. Horsetail's silica and silicic acid content ranges from 5-8%, making it a good source for strengthening weak connective tissues, and healing bones, fractures, and torn ligaments. Horsetail is also used to treat arthritis and osteoporosis, as the silicon in horsetail may replace lost silicon in the affected bones. 

Horsetail may be a possible remedy for senility. Senility often occurs when there is more aluminum in the blood than silica. One theory suggests that when the silicon and aluminum levels are balanced, the symptoms of senility will disappear.

 Horsetail is valued for its high content of mineral; especially Silica, which makes it of value in promoting healing and new growth in connective

 tissue: Osteoporosis, Arthritis, cartilage degeneration, lung, skin, and kidney tissue degeneration. Restrains infection and discharges. Bladder infection, Interstitial cystitis. Neurogenic bladder, difficult or scanty urination. Incontinence. Bladder discharges, Prostatitis. Stomach ulcers. Leg and skin ulcers and degenerative skin conditions (internal and external). Poor nails, hair. Degenerative lung disease (TB, emphysema, etc.) 


Horsetail is gathered in the spring and early summer, after the fertile stems have died and the barren shoots have grown. The plant is cut above the root and the stems are used dried or fresh. Horsetail is available in dried bulk, powder, capsules, tablets, or tincture forms. 

It is recommended that commercial preparations of horsetail contain no more than 3% blackish rhizome fragments and no more than 5% stems or branches from other horsetail species. Standard preparations generally contain 10% silicic acid and 7% silica. 

Taken as a dietary supplement, horsetail is a good source of calcium and silica. Horsetail can be made into a tea (infusion or decoction) and consumed internally. Horsetail may also be used in full body baths, sitz baths, foot baths, compresses, hair rinses, and poultices.

 When horsetail is gathered for medicinal use, plants with brown spots aren't collected. Brown spots may indicate the presence of a toxic fungus. Horsetail that grows near an industrial or waste site or in heavily fertilized areas should not be harvested since it can pick up nitrates and selenium from the soil. The correct species of horsetail should be collected. Marsh horsetail (E. palustre) is poisonous.


 Fig. 1

Meiotic sister chromatid cohesion and chromosome segregation in the rec10, rec8 and rec11 mutants. (A-D) Sister chromatid cohesion in meiotic prophase at different loci. Heterozygous crosses were carried out with GFP-labeled strains, and the numbers of GFP signals were determined in living cells as described in Materials and Methods. 50 horse-tail nuclei were examined in each experiment. (A) Sister chromatid cohesion at the cen2 locus. GFP labeled h- control (AY261-1C), rec10 (95), rec8 (101) and rec11 (100) strains were crossed to unlabeled h+ control (L975), rec10 (67), rec8 (68-2710) and rec11 (70) strains, respectively. (B) Sister chromatid cohesion at the his2 locus. GFP labeled h- control (153), rec10 (156), rec8 (157) and rec11 (155) strains were crossed to unlabeled h+ strains. The same h+ strains were used as described for the cen2 locus. (C) Sister chromatid cohesion at the ade1 locus. GFP labeled h+ control (AY234-6B), rec10 (116), rec8 (143) and rec11 (117) strains were crossed to unlabeled h- control (105), rec10 (68), rec8 (128) and rec11 (132) strains, respectively. (D) Sister chromatid cohesion at the ade8 locus. GFP labeled h- control (AY 208-21A), rec10 (143), rec8 (142) and rec11 (146) strains were crossed to unlabeled h+ strains. The same h+ strains were used as described for the cen2 locus. (E) Evaluation of chromosomal mis-segregation in the rec10, rec8 and rec11 mutants. To assess PSSC (precocious sister chromatid separation), the same heterozygous crosses were carried out as described for the analysis of sister chromatid cohesion at the cen2 locus. NDJI (nondisjunction at the first division) was examined in strains bearing a homozygous GFP labeling at the cen2 locus. Control (CT2111-2); rec10 (119); rec8 (161); and rec11 (121). Cells having two nuclei were identified after Hoechst 33342 staining and the GFP signals were analyzed in 50 cells in each experiment. (F) A schematic representation of chromosome II with the positions of the GFP labeled loci along the right arm.