Shavegrass (Equisetum arvense) is a plant that grows wild throughout the temperate climates of Asia, North America, and Europe. The plant reproduces easily and as a result, in some areas it is considered a noxious weed. Shavegrass is also known by various names including horsetail, scouring rush, and bottlebrush. Its botanical name is derived from the plant's brush-like appearance and basically means horse bristle, or horsetail.
Historically, the young shoots of this plant were eaten both raw and cooked. The stems of shavegrass have been used medicinally as well and may even be found as ingredients in various shampoos, skincare products, and dietary aids. Since ancient times, this plant has been used to heal wounds, treat urinary infections, and strengthen bones.
Horsetail is believed to contain the highest amount of silica in the plant kingdom. Silica is an important nutrient for healthy hair, skin, nails, and bones. This plant is also considered to be one of the best herbal remedies for treating bone fractures as well as tendon and ligament injuries. In fact, the use of shavegrass is still recommended for keeping bones and nails strong.
In addition, horsetail is considered to be one of the most diuretic species of plants, having the ability to successfully eliminate water from the body. In fact, this is probably the plant’s most popular remedy. Numerous cultures have ingested shavegrass tea as a folk remedy for treating various kidney and urinary conditions. People have used horsetail to treat a variety of conditions that include flu symptoms, swellings, dysentery, arthritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis. It has also been used as a fever reducer and remedy for eye inflammations, such as conjunctivitis.
Due to its high tannin content, shavegrass can also help slow bleeding. For this reason, it has commonly been used for treating nosebleeds and hemorrhoids. When taken internally, the remedy can help stop bleeding ulcers or slow down heavy menstrual bleeding. It can be used as a gargle and mouth rinse for treating sore throat symptoms, bleeding gums, and mouth ulcers too. The plant can be applied externally as a compress for wounds, sores, and skin problems.
This plant is most often used in tea; however, it is available in tincture, powder, and capsule form as well. While the side effects are few, high doses of shavegrass may have a sedative and anticonvulsant effect. This herbal remedy is not recommended for people who are pregnant, have kidney stones, heart conditions, or those taking medication for high blood pressure.