Clouds in Buffalo, Wyoming

10/9/13

Native American Ethnobotany - Smooth Horsetail (Equisetum laevigatum)

Below is a link to a blog that has a lot of information about Smooth Horsetail (Equisetum laevigatum), with photos:

http://sagebud.com/smooth-horsetail-equisetum-laevigatum



Equisetum laevigatum (Smooth Horsetail)

Equisetum laevigatum A. Braun

Smooth Horsetail; Equisetaceae

Navajo & Kayenta
Analgesic, Orthopaedic Remedy - Infusion of plant taken or cold infusion used as a lotion for backaches.


Navajo & Ramah
Disinfectant - Compound decoction of plant used for "lightning infection."

Keres
Hemorrhoid Remedy - Plant chewed before meals for piles.

Costanoan
Hypotensive - Infusion of stems taken for high blood pressure.

Hoh
Ceremonial Medicine - Rootstocks eaten during medicinal ceremonies.
Dried Food - Rootstocks dried & used for food.
Special Food - Rootstocks eaten as a delicacy & also eootstocks eaten during puberty ceremonies.

Hopi
Ceremonial Medicine - Dried, ground plant used for ceremonial bread.
Ceremonial Items - Dried, ground with corn meal & used to make a ceremonial bread.

Okanagan-Colville
Antirheumatic (Internal) - Infusion of stems taken for lumbago.
Cold Remedy - Decoction of plant & chokecherry twigs given to children for colds.
Dermatological Remedy - Plant pounded, mixed with water & used to wash areas of body affected by poison ivy.
Diuretic - Infusion of stems taken as a diuretic to stimulate kidneys.
Orthopedic Remedy - Infusion of stems taken for backaches.
Pediatric Remedy - Decoction of plant & chokecherry twigs given to children for colds.
Stimulant - Infusion of stems taken for sluggishness due to a cold.
Venereal Remedy - Decoction of plant & false box taken or used as a bath for syphilis & gonorrhea.
Veterinary Remedy - Given to thin, old horses with diarrhea after eating fresh grass in spring.
Burn Dressing - Poultice of plant ash & grease applied to burns.
Fodder - Used in winter for fodder during hay shortage.
Food - Heads used for food.
Fiber (Scouring Material) - Stems used as sandpaper to polish bone tools & soapstone pipes & Fiber used to polish fingernails & Fiber used for sharpening & polishing bone tools.
Containers - Hollow stems used to administer medicines to babies.

Pomo & Kashaya
Kidney Remedy - Decoction of whole plant taken for kidney trouble & associated back trouble.

Quileute
Ceremonial Medicine - Rootstocks eaten during medicinal ceremonies.
Dried Food - Rootstocks dried & used for food.
Special Food - Rootstocks eaten as a delicacy & Rootstocks eaten during puberty ceremonies.

Isleta
Fodder - Plant used for horse feed.

San Felipe
Food (Porridge) - Plant dried & ground to make mush.

Karok
Fiber (Scouring Material) - Stems used to sandpaper madrone spoons.

Thompson
Fiber (Scouring Material) - Used for sharpening & polishing bone tools & the rough, silicon impregnated stems used to smooth & polish implements of wood, bone & steatite.
Burn Dressing - Poultice of plant ash & grease applied to burns.
Eye Medicine - Stem liquid used for sore eyes or decoction of stems used for sore, itchy eyes or blindness.
Gynecological Remedy - Decoction of roots taken to accelerate a difficult childbirth & also Decoction or infusion of stems taken after childbirth to expel afterbirth more quickly.
Urinary Remedy - Decoction of new growths taken for bladder problems.
Fertilizer - Stem liquid used to kill any type of weed.

Ute
Toys - Used by children as whistles.

5/22/13

Horsetail herb to be used as a pad / mat to sleep on - survival

A fellow blogger  who has a survival blog has a nice article with photos about horsetail.  He harvests it to make a pad to sleep on in a primitive shelter.

http://www.alipac.us/f31/basic-list-suggested-items-long-term-survival-154825/index194.html


4/29/13

First Plants of Spring Appear in Wyoming plus Wild Blue Mustard!!

Found in a disturbed soil area today on the east flank of the Bighorn Mountains.

Musky scented -- very earthy.

Update:  this is wild blue mustard.  The young leaves are edible in salads and soups.  These plants were found growing right next to the above plants.  They have purplish/deep pink tiny flowers with yellow centers.  The leaves are fleshy and soft to the touch.  The scent of this plant is very mild; like what you'd smell when you sniffed a lambsquarters plant.  The flowers although tiny when squeezed produce a heavenly mild aroma.

Stalk is thick and foilage large and lush on the above wild blue mustard plant.

Full view of these wild blue mustard plants.

4/21/13

photos of horsetail I have harvested

Horsetail


These horsetail photos show plants I harvested in the mountains of Wyoming.

4/19/12

Horsetail for the Skin

Recently I purchased a large quantity of cream that contains horsetail extract!! Didn't know it was even out there - thank God for cyberspace!

The stuff is absolutely amazing!

Now I'm even more motivated to collect fresh horsetail this Spring - in a couple weeks - and to take the extract to make my own creams!
Its powerful stuff!


Crafters Choice™ Horsetail Butter Blend

Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Oil (and) Equisetum arvense extract (and) Hydroge­nated Vegetable Oil 

Contains Horsetail Extract, believed to contain the building blocks needed for collagen and elastin synthesis in the skin. Also thought to help rebuild and regenerate damaged skin cells. Contains Sweet Almond Oil, a natural moisturizer that is thought to relieve (among other things) itching. All Natural. 




Update:  For those that would like to order some of this amazing cream, here is the link:

http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/ProductDetail.aspx?CatalogID=2&GroupID=583&CategoryID=1387&ProductID=6965&ProductName=Crafters+Choice%E2%84%A2+Horsetail+Butter+Blend

I keep it in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid.  It is very long lasting; they  make it fresh when you place your order so it isn't old shelved stuff.

That website also sells many other butters:

http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/StoreCategory.aspx?CatalogID=2&GroupID=583&CategoryID=1387&CategoryName=Butters

I highly recommend the company.





5/19/11

Horsetail for the Hair, Skin and Nails

Horsetail for the hair, skin and nails
 

Horsetail stems have a lot of silica & silicic acids; this plant contains the most silica known in the plant kingdom. Silica forms collagen, a protein found in skin, bones, cartilage, ligaments & connective tissues. Silica also helps bind protein molecules to many tissues in body. The silica content helps strengthen weak, brittle, damaged hair, giving it vitality & shine with regular use.

There is a high mineral level as well including potassium, selenium & manganese. The saponins & flavonoids it contains help skin regenerate, improving elasticity of skin & hair, promoting hair growth. Since bone, hair & fingernails require high mineral levels, horsetail is taken as a tea, tincture or applied topically as shampoo, conditioner, soak or healing balm. As a healing balm, its used in many treatments for pattern balding.

Those with very dry hair should take note: Horsetail has a powerful antiseptic property which means excessive use could further dry out your hair. On other hand, astringent herb helps eliminate excessive oiliness for those with oily scalps, & also aids in removing styling product build up. Used in shampoo & conditioner horsetail is a useful
remedy for dandruff, eczema, psoriasis & other troubling skin ailments. Because it promotes circulation, horsetail assists in nourishing & strengthening hair follicles.

Using Horsetail

Many shampoos, conditioners and hair growth aids contain horsetail extract. To create your own hair rinse:

2-4 teaspoons dried horsetail
Cup of boiled water

Add horsetail to 1 cup boiled water (still hot but not boiling). Let steep 15-20 minutes; strain; cool. Rinse through hair & leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse & style as usual. You can also strain & drink this tea warm 2-3 times per day with honey. Taking tea internally is believed to help hair, skin & nails same way as applying topically.

Horsetail and Diabetes

I found the information below about how horsetail may help the condition of diabetes.

Diabetes: A single oral administration of a water extract of Equisetum myriochaetum at
doses of 7 & 13 mg/kg, & of butanol extract (BE) at doses of 8 & 16 mg/kg, significantly
lowered plasma glucose levels in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats within 3 hours of
administration. Three kaempferol glucosides & 1 caffeoyl glucoside were isolated from
drug & were shown to be main constituents in both extracts.

A single dose of a water extract of Equisetum myriochaetum was administered orally in
11 recently diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients. Glucose and insulin were measured at 0,
30, 60, 90, 120 & 180 min after administration. The same patients served as the control
group & received only colored water as placebo.

The administration of extract was shown to significantly reduce blood glucose levels of
type 2 diabetic patients within 90, 120 & 180 min. There were no significant changes in
insulin levels.

High Cholesterol and Horsetail

Silica in horsetail acts on lipid metabolism, resulting in an anti-atheromatous action -- it helps protect against fatty deposits in arteries. In Europe, horsetail has been used for years for atherosclerosis.

One that consumes a high cholesterol (fatty) diet could develop dermatitis (inflammatory skin conditions). Raw horsetail contains thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down thiamine, a B vitamin. One should therefore supplement their diet with thiamine to eliminate this risk.

Also, alcohol, high temperatures and alkalinity all destroy this enzyme. Therefore, boiled tinctures and teas and most preparations are free of this enzyme.

5/17/11

Research the herb


Learning to identify the correct species of horsetail to harvest is not something done easily.  Harvest several horsetail plants from the wild, take them home, take photos of them so you can put them on your computer and examine them up close, using the zoom in option on the photos.


Record where you found them - were they in an open field? Near water? In a forest?  Find out what type of species of horsetail they are.


Research, research, research the plant before you ever use it to ingest any part of it internally or apply it externally.  Read up on the precautions, drug interactions, and all of the warnings about the herb.


Here is a photo of some young horsetail shoots.  They were growing near a creek at the base of the mountains here. 

Horsetail - a Cancer Cure?

Heres an interesting link about a woman who claimed that that horsetail cured her of cancer:


Educate Yourself.org - Horsetail for Cancer

Gathering the Horsetail Herb from Pollution-Free Areas



When wildcrafting the horsetail herb, one must avoid areas which have agricultural drainage areas, animal feeding areas, or in polluted areas.

Since horsetail is very good at absorbing minerals from the soil, some studies have shown that this herb may also absorb polluted substances.

Always rinse your harvested herbs several times with water to remove any dirt or contaminants. 

The Horsetail Herb and Bioassays




One interesting use for horsetail derives from its affinity for gold in liquid solution. Since horsetail concentrates gold more than most other plants, it has been used in bioassays for the metal. 



A bioassay is a procedure for determining the concentration, purity, and/or biological activity of a substance (e.g., vitamin, hormone, plant growth factor, antibiotic, enzyme) by measuring its effect on an organism, tissue, cell, enzyme or receptor preparation compared to a standard preparation. 


For a more detailed explanation about bioassays, here is a link:


Bioassay - Wikipedia.org Definition

Suggested Doses & Additional Information

I found the following information at this link:


Canada Health Information - Encyclopedias - Horsetail - Traditional Usage 


Scientific Names:


Equisetum arvense L. [Fam. Equisetaceae]



Forms:


Horsetail, cut and dried; horsetail powdered extract.



Traditional Usage:


- Anti-aging
- Baldness
- Bone and Joint Disorders
- Breathing Disorders
- Bursitis
- Diuretic
- Eye Problems
- Hair Problems
- Nail Problems
- Osteoporosis
- Skin Disorders
- Teething
- Tendinitis
- Urinary Tract Gravel
- Vascular Problems
- Wounds (externally)





Overview:

Horsetail, Equisetum arvense L. [Fam. Equisetaceae], also known as scouring rush, was traditionally used in Europe and is approved by the Commission E as a diuretic to treat post-traumatic and static edema (water retention) and to treat urinary tract problems including gravel. Horsetail also served as a food for many First Nations Peoples and the roots were traditionally given to teething babies. American Indians also used the tea as a diuretic to treat kidney gravel, urinary incontinence and to treat constipation. Horsetail extract is used medicinally to stimulate healing of broken bones, treat connective tissue injuries and to promote healthy eyes, hair, skin and nails. The essential element, silicon, is present in very large amounts in horsetail. Because silica is essential for growth and healing and is a major constituent of bones, cartilage, connective tissue and skin, horsetail is recommended to prevent and treat disorders pertaining to these areas of the body. A developing fetus contains high levels of silica and this element makes up part of the mucopolysaccharides (glycosaminoglycans) that play critical structural roles in bone, cartilage and connective tissues. Horsetail extracts are also well known as anti-aging beauty aids with products often promoted by famous actors and actresses in Hollywood. It is true that with age and declining hormonal activity, levels of silica decline in the arteries and skin. Horsetail extracts also abound in selenium, and because this element and silica help to promote circulation to the scalp, it helps to maintain hair, according to naturopaths. Because of its antibacterial and astringent effects, horsetail tea is also used externally to treat wounds and prevent infections. Horsetail is often recommended to treat bone and joint inflammation and to strengthen bones in osteoporosis. Horsetail has also been traditionally used to treat respiratory catarrh (mucous), respiratory inflammation, bronchitis, cough and tuberculosis.





Active Ingredients:

Horsetail contains: More than 10% inorganic compounds, two-thirds of which are silicic acid (10% in the form of water soluble silicates) and potassium salts. Horsetail also contains significant levels of selenium, manganese and magnesium. Flavonoids are also abundant in horsetail, including: apigenin, luteolin, quercetin and genkwanin. Other compounds include: alkaloids (nicotine and spermidine); polyenic acids and rare dicarboxylic acids (i.e. equisetolic acid); saponins including equisetonin which is largely a mixture of various sugars (saccharose, glucose, fructose, lactose) and flavonoids; some mannitol and inositol; and phenol-carboxylic acids including caffeic acid.





Suggested Amount:

Horsetail extract standardized for silica content is recommended at a dosage corresponding to 20-30mg of silica per day (for extracts containing 8-11mg of silica per capsule, this would mean three capsules per day). As a tea, German authorities recommend using 6g of finely chopped or coarsely powdered horsetail (ca. 6 teaspoonfuls) in approximately 150ml of boiling water, boiling this for five minutes, infusing for ten minutes and then straining. Some authors also recommend infusing powdered horsetail in cold water for 10-12 hours before extracting. A cupful of the freshly prepared tea is drunk several times per day. For external use: 10 grams of horsetail is infused in 1 liter of water. 





Drug Interactions:

None known.





Contraindications:

Horsetail and other diuretics are contraindicated in edema resulting from impaired heart or kidney function.





Side Effects:

None known. Horsetail and other diuretics should be taken with abundant fluid intake.











Effectiveness and Precautions of the Horsetail Herb

Horsetail

What is it?

Horsetail is a plant. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.

Horsetail is used for “fluid retention” (edema), kidney and bladder stones, urinary tract infections, the inability to control urination (incontinence), and general disturbances of the kidney and bladder.

It is also used for balding; tuberculosis; jaundice; hepatitis; brittle fingernails; joint diseases; gout; osteoarthritis; weak bones (osteoporosis); frostbite; weight loss; heavy menstrual periods; and uncontrolled bleeding (hemorrhage) of the nose, lung, or stomach.

Horsetail is applied directly to the skin to treat wounds and burns.

There have been reports of horsetail products being contaminated with a related plant called Equisetum palustre. This plant contains chemicals that can poison cattle, but toxicity in people has not been proven.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for HORSETAIL are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Kidney and bladder stones.
  • Weight loss.
  • Hair loss.
  • Gout.
  • Frostbite.
  • Heavy periods.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Incontinence.
  • Use on the skin for wound healing.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of horsetail for these uses.

How does it work?

The chemicals in horsetail may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Plants related to horsetail contain chemicals that work like "water pills" (diuretics) and increase urine output. But it isn't clear whether horsetail has this effect.

Are there safety concerns?

Horsetail is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth long-term. It contains a chemical called thiaminase that breaks down the vitamin thiamine, possibly leading to thiamine deficiency. Some products are labeled "thiaminase-free," but there's not enough information available to know if these products are safe.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of horsetail during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes
: Horsetail might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use horsetail.

Low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
: Horsetail might flush potassium out of the body, possibly leading to potassium levels that are too low. Until more is known, use horsetail with caution if you are at risk for potassium deficiency.

Low thiamine levels (thiamine deficiency)
: There is a concern that horsetail could make thiamine deficiency worse.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate

Be cautious with this combination.

Lithium
Horsetail might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking horsetail might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Areca
Horsetail and areca both reduce the amount of thiamine that the body has to use. Using these herbs together raises the risk that the amount of thiamine will become too low.

Chromium-containing herbs and supplements
Horsetail contains chromium (0.0006%) and could increase the risk of chromium poisoning when taken with chromium supplements or chromium-containing herbs such as bilberry, brewer's yeast, or cascara.

Thiamine
Crude horsetail contains thiaminase, a chemical that breaks down thiamine. Cattle that eat a lot of horsetail have developed thiamine deficiency.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of horsetail depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for horsetail. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Bottle Brush, Cavalinha, Coda Cavallina, Cola de Caballo, Common Horsetail, Corn Horsetail, Dutch Rushes, Equiseti Herba, Equisetum, Equisetum arvense, Equisetum hyemale, Equisetum telmateia, Field Horsetail, Horse Herb, Horsetail Grass, Horsetail Rush, Horse Willow, Paddock-Pipes, Pewterwort, Prele, PrĂȘle, Scouring Rush, Souring Rush, Shave Grass, Shavegrass, Spring Horsetail, Toadpipe.

Chemical Properties of the Horsetail Herb

Before using medicinal herbs, I try to research their properties.

I came across information about chemicals in Equisetum arvense L. (Equisetaceae) -- Field Horsetail or the Horsetail herb from this internet source at this link:

Dr. Duke's Phytochemical & Ethnopbotanical Database 

3-METHOXY-PYRIDINE Plant
ACONITIC-ACID Plant
ALUMINUM Plant 378 ppm
ARTICULATIN Plant
ASCORBIC-ACID Plant 208 - 7,937 ppm 
ASH Plant 7,000 - 242,000 ppm 
BETA-CAROTENE Plant 3 - 50 ppm 
BETA-SITOSTEROL Plant
CAFFEIC-ACID Plant
CALCIUM Plant 580 - 24,000 ppm 
CAMPESTEROL Plant
CARBOHYDRATES Plant 44,000 - 737,000 ppm 
CHOLESTEROL Plant
CHROMIUM Plant 22 ppm
COBALT Plant 53 ppm
DELTA-5,8,11,14-EICOSATETRAENIC-ACID Plant
DELTA-7,10,13-HEXADECATRIENIC-ACID Plant
DELTA-8,11,14-EICOSATRIENIC-ACID Plant
DELTA-9,12,15-OCTADECATRIENIC-ACID Plant
DIHYDROKAEMPFEROL Plant
DIHYDROQUERCETIN Plant
DIMETHYL-SULFONE Plant
EQUISETINE Plant
EQUISETONIN Plant 50,000 ppm
EQUISETRIN Plant
EQUISETROSIDE Plant
FAT Plant 2,000 - 32,000 ppm
FERULIC-ACID Plant
FIBER Plant 71,000 - 235,000 ppm 
FLAVONOIDS Plant 2,700 - 5,100 ppm 
GALLIC-ACID Plant
GALUTEOLIN Plant
GOSSYPITRIN Plant
HERBACETRIN Plant
IRON Plant 698 - 1,230 ppm 
ISOFUCOSTEROL Plant
ISOQUERCITRIN Plant
ISOQUERCITROSIDE Plant 600 - 2,000 ppm
KAEMPFEROL Plant
KAEMPFEROL-7-DIGLUCOSIDE Plant
KILOCALORIES Plant 200 - 3,170 /kg
LUTEOLIN Plant
LUTEOLIN-5-GLUCOSIDE Plant
MAGNESIUM Plant 4,370 ppm
MALIC-ACID Plant
MANGANESE Plant 69 ppm
NARINGENIN Plant
NIACIN Plant
NICOTINE Plant 0.4 ppm
OXALIC-ACID Plant
P-COUMARIC-ACID Plant
P-HYDROXY-BENZOIC-ACID Plant
PALUSTRINE Plant
PALUSTRININE Plant
PHENOLIC-ACIDS Plant 5,000 - 8,000 ppm 
PHOSPHORUS Plant 930 - 14,762 ppm 
POTASIUM-CHLORIDE Plant 15,000 ppm
POTASSIUM Plant 13,000 - 18,000 ppm 
PROTEIN Plant 10,000 - 114,000 ppm 
RHODOXANTHIN Plant
RIBOFLAVIN Plant 0.7 - 1.9 ppm
SELENIUM Plant
SILICA Plant 60,000 - 97,000 ppm
SILICIC-ACID Plant 50,000 - 80,000 ppm
SILICON Plant 386 ppm
SODIUM Plant 560 ppm
TANNIC-ACID Plant
THIAMIN Plant
THIAMINASE Plant
THYMINE Plant
TIN Plant 14 ppm
VANILLIC-ACID Plant 
WATER Plant 786,000 - 937,000 ppm 
ZINC Plant

ppm = parts per million
tr = trace


His website carries this disclaimer:


Disclaimer


The books his website references for the above information are:


Duke, James A. 1992. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press.

The information above he has published on the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture website.


Next to the Tobacco plant, Field Horsetail is the herb containing the highest amount of Nicotine -- which is a very small amount compared to tobacco:

Tobacco contains: 20,000 - 40,000 ppm Nicotine in Leaf


Field Horsetail contains: 0.4 ppm Nicotine in Plant

By no means is this one resource exhaustive for providing information about the chemical properties of the horsetail herb.  It is just one resource I found interesting.