Herbs & Plants

Hippuris vulgaris


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Botanical Name : Hippuris vulgaris
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Hippuris
Species: H. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name :Common Mare’s tail
The species is also sometimes called Horsetail, a name which is better reserved to the Horsetails of genus Equisetum. These are unrelated to the water plant, though there is some resemblance in appearance.

Habitat : Hippuris vulgaris is a common aquatic plant of Eurasia and North America.In the United States it is found mainly in the northeast but extends southwards to New Mexico and Arizona. It prefers non-acidic waters.It grows on  pond margins, ditches etc, preferring base-rich water.

The Common Mare’s tail is a creeping, perennial herb, found in shallow waters and mud flats. It roots underwater, but most of its leaves are above the water surface. The leaves occur in whorls of 6-12; those above water are 0.5 to 2.5 cm long and up to 3 mm wide, whereas those under water are thinner and limper, and longer than those above water, especially in deeper streams. The stems are solid and unbranched but often curve, and can be up to 60 cm long. In shallow water they project 20–30 cm out of the water. It grows from stout rhizomes. The flowers are inconspicuous, and not all plants produce them.

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Requires a wet soil or shallow water, preferring one that is base-rich. Dislikes shade. Plants have a spreading root system and can be very invasive.

Propagation :
Seed. We have no details on this species but suggest sowing it as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The plant spreads vegetatively so vigorously, however, that you probably won’t have to worry about growing it from seed
Edible Uses: …..Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. Used to make soups. They are best harvested from autumn to spring, even the brown overwintered stems in spring can be used

Medicinal Uses;
In herbal medicine, Mare’s tail has a number of uses, chiefly to do with healing wounds, e.g. stopping internal and external bleeding, curing stomach ulcers, and soothing inflammation of the skin. It has been said to absorb methane in large quantities and so to improve the air quality in the marshes where it is often found. It can however be a troublesome weed, obstructing the flow of water in rivers and ditches.

The whole plant is an effective vulnerary, the juice being taken internally or applied externally.  The old European herbalists recommended it for a number of uses, including: stopping internal and external bleeding, stomach ulcers, strengthening the intestines, closing wounds, inflammation and breakouts on the skin, coughs.  Culpepper, in common with the older herbalists, considered it of great value as a vulnerary:  ‘It is very powerful to stop bleeding, either inward or outward, the juice or the decoction being drunk, or the juice, decoction or distilled water applied outwardly…. It also heals inward ulcers…. It solders together the tops of green wounds and cures all ruptures in children. The decoction taken in wine helps stone and strangury; the distilled water drunk two or three times a day eases and strengthens the intestines and is effectual in a cough that comes by distillation from the head. The juice or distilled water used as a warm fomentation is of service in inflammations and breakings-out in the skin.’

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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