Toxic Properties

Some members of the genus Equisetum have been found useful in folk and herbal medicine. Both Equisetum arvense and Equisetum robustum are known to exert diuretic effects. Poultices of crushed sterile stems can be applied to wounds to stop bleeding. In Ukraine, decoctions of Equisetum heleocharis have been used for this purpose. Boiling the stems yields a liquid extract that can be used as a mouthwash. There is a possibility that horsetail has some antibiotic properties. Roots were often given to teething babies, and Equisetum tea was often used to treat tubercular lung lesions.

Carol S. Radford

See also: Ferns; Fossil plants; Paleobotany; Seedless vascular plants.

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