San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gardening at a Glance: Horsetail

Cola CaballoEquisetumEQUISETACEAEGeo-distribution:A primitive plant which isfound in many parts of theworld and is present in thecooler regions of tropicalAmerica. It is found in wet,marshy areas with loam soils.Botanical description:String-like root stock withroots at the nodes producenumerous hollow stems, which are of two types. Afertile, flesh-colored stem grows first, reaching aheight of 10-20 centimeters and bearing on top acane-like spike which contains spares, this stem diesquickly. A green, sterile stem grows up to 50 centimetersand features whorls of small branches.Medicinal Uses: Traditionally, this herb has beenused as a diuretic in the treatment of kidney andbladder problems. The leaves are also very high insilica and are said to be useful in loss of hair or poorgrowth of the nails. Externally, it has been used as awash for healing wounds.Preparation: An infusion is made by steeping ahandful of fresh herb with one liter of water. A decoctionis made by boiling the mixture for 10 minutes.Notes: Recommend dosage for adults is one cup perday for about seven days. Pregnant women shouldnot use horsetail.For more on tropical medicinal herbs and tropicalgardening, contact us at: www.thenewdawncenter.orgor

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