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Earthnotes
Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



HORSETAIL
a.k.a. Scrubgrass, Shavegrass
(Equisetum arvense)
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Images

HARVEST: Infertile plants in late summer. Horsetail is an ancient plant which goes through two stages of development. In early summer a fertile form rises and dies back to be followed by the more well known late summer, but infertile form. It is this later incarnation that is used.

USES

MEDICINAL:
A source of calcium and silica.

COSMETIC:
Used for brittle nails: Make a decoction of 2 oz. dry herb in 3¾ C. (1½ pint) water for 20 minutes; soak nails.

VETERINARY:
The tea has been used for sores on domestic animals.

DYE:
The sterile stalks produce yellow with an alum mordant; gray-green with copperas mordant; grass green with blue vitriol mordant.

GARDENING:
Biodynamic treatment for fungus diseases and rusts: Take 1½ oz. of dried herb and cover with cold water; bring to a boil and let boil 20 minutes; cool and strain; use one part to 19 parts of water and use as a spray.
PLANT DECOCTION = Slowly simmer 1 heaping cup of cut plant in 1 quart of water for 20 minutes; strain and dilute in 2 gallons of water; stir vigorously; spray with a fine mist sprayer; the more frequently it is used, the more diluted it should gradually be.
For POWDERY MILDEW = Cover fresh picked plants with water; allow to ferment 10 days; dilute and use as a spray.




©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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