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Horsetail Plant: Herbal Profile, Uses & Benefits

It’s not often that you come across a living fossil, but in effect, that is precisely what horsetail is. Known as Equisetum Arvense, which is the last remaining species of the genus of that name. The remaining members of that genus have gone extinct, so this is truly a blast from the past, and has some unique characteristics to go with that great backstory! Horsetail is defined by a singular vascular shoot that forms the main stem and the leaves are largely non-photosynthetic. Spores reproduction, not seeds – a very unusual quality for a plant. Historical records include mentions of horsetail being used for myriad health issues dating back to Greek and Roman times.

Like some other rare and valuable plants on our planet, horsetail is able to absorb and store valuable and rare minerals that our bodies require. This means that when horsetail is consumed, those minerals and unique organic compounds are passed on to us, resulting in a wide variety of health benefits. You can consume horsetail as a supplement, in capsule form, brewed directly into a tea, use oil or alcohol extracts. 

Mineral Composition

Aside from horsetail being high in silica, it also contains large amounts of selenium, potassium and manganese and fifteen different types of bioflavonoids.

Selenium is essential for your body to process iodine efficiently, in turn it also helps regulate and promote hair growth.

Potassium is found to be beneficial for relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system.

Bioflavonoids exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties, because they protect against oxidative and free radical damage caused by pollution and the body’s normal metabolic processes.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Horsetail has traditionally been used as a diuretic (helps rid the body of excess fluid by increasing urine output). Horsetail is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, coagulant, demulcent, diuretic and astringent activity. Reportedly, it has been used in the treatment of a number of health conditions which include brittle bone, hair, teeth and nails, white spots on nails, gingivitis, tonsillitis, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth, rheumatic disorders, edema, osteoarthritis, diabetes, acne, wounds, itchiness, rashes, burns, frostbite, chilblains, athlete's foot, cracked and tired feet, drawing out pus from boils and carbuncles, ulcers, fistulas, herpes simplex, dyspepsia (impaired digestion), gastrointestinal conditions, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, fever, malaria, bladder problems, urinary tract infection, bed wetting in children, kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), prostate problems, hemorrhoids, muscle cramps, tumors, broken bones, fractures, sprains, nose bleed and other heavy bleeding.

Skin Problems

The antiseptic, silica, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant nature of horsetail give it the ability to cure wounds, burns, acne, skin lesions, and skin rashes. Silica is known to form collagen, which is an important factor for the growth and care of healthy connective tissues in the body. For this reason, horsetail is often used in anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing cremes and oils. Consuming horsetail tea regularly would allow its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions to delay premature again and alleviate inflamed or irritated skin. You can kill acne by soaking a cotton ball in horsetail tea and rubbing it over your face every night before bed.

Healthy Hair

Many studies show that the silica in horsetail helps with both hair health and growth. Horsetail can help stop dandruff, split ends, and hair loss as well. You can work both ends of the hair issue by both drinking horsetail tea and washing your hair with a shampoo that contains horsetail extract or add horsetail oil to your shampoo or conditioner. Massage horsetail oil into the scalp at least three times a week and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes for hair growth and as anti dandruff treatment. You can do a horsetail tea hair rinse.

Heals Brittle/Weak Nails

The minerals in horsetail can help stop those white spots (which indicate weakness) in fingernails. To heal your nails take horsetail extract capsules and massage horsetail oil onto nails and nail beds daily, you will see results very soon. 

Heals Boils & Carbuncles

Horsetails anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial can help stop the infection and inflammation that comes with carbuncles and boils. A salve made from horsetail oil and beeswax (you can use this recipe) can be used to draw out the infection and pus from boils and other sores. To make a healing compress, soak crushed and dried horsetail into some warm water for about 15 minutes. Place the soaked herb in a small piece of cloth or cheese cloth and apply it to the affected area. Using hot and cold compresses with horsetail extract 2 or 3 times a day can greatly help reduce the inflammation and draw out the pus.

As you can see, Horsetail is certainly a wonder herb and should not be overlooked. Adding this herb into your daily routine won’t just improve your internal health but also you hair, skin and nails. As with any nutritional supplement, horsetail is safe when taken in moderation and for a short duration. Always consult your doctor or health care provider before you add horsetail to your daily routine, especially if you are taking other pharmaceuticals. Horsetail does contain some nicotine, so pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using it.

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