Equisetum hyemale. Scouring Rush.
Nat. Ord. — Equisetaceae. Sex. Syst. — Cryptogamia Filices.
Description. — This plant, also known by the names of Horse Tail, Shave Grass, etc., is a perennial plant, with simple, stout, erect, jointed and hollow stems, fourteen to twenty-six longitudinal furrows, the ridges rough with two rows of minute tubercles, and growing from two to three feet in bight, each stem bearing a terminal, ovoid spike ; frequently two or more stems are united at the base from the same root. The sheaths are from two to three lines long, and from an inch to an inch and a half apart, ashy-white, black at the base and summit, short, with subulate, black, awned, and deciduous teeth, which leave a bluntly crenate margin. Fertile plants mostly leafless. Fruit placed under peltate polygons, being pileus-like bodies, which are arranged in whorls, forming a spikelike raceme ; from four to seven spiral filaments surround the spores, which resemble green globules, and which roll up closely around them when moist, and uncoil, when dry.
History. — The plant is common to the northern and western parts of the United States, growing in wet grounds, on river banks, and borders of woods, and maturing in June and July. They, together with other Cryptogamia abound in the fossil remains of coal measures, indicating that they were once of gigantic dimensions, and formed a large part of the original flora of our globe. The E. Laevigatum and E. Robustum, of the southern and western borders of our country, may be substituted for the above. Silex enters largely into the composition of these plants, on which account they have been used to scour, rough polish, etc. The whole plant is medicinal, and imparts its properties to water.
Properties and Uses. — Diuretic and astringent. An infusion drank freely has been found beneficial in drops)^, suppression of urine, hematuria, gravel, and nephritic affections ; and has also been used with advantage in gonorrhea and gleet. The ashes of the plant are very valuable in dyspepsia connected with obstinate acidity of stomach, and may be given alone, or combined with powdered resin, or hydrastin, etc. Dose of the pulverized ashes from three to ten grains, to be repeated three or four times daily.
The American Eclectic Dispensatory, 1854, was written by John King, M. D.