Horsetail is a grass or reed that grows in marshy areas, it loves wet feet (roots). It has soft needles rather than leaves and no flowers. It contains an abundance of silica which makes it a rigid upright plant. It used to grow as big as a tree but not anymore. Now it only grows about a meter tall but the roots are more than a meter into the ground. This is why it is so rich with minerals that it gathers from deep within the ground. It has phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, chromium, vitamin A, and other minerals, as well as saponins and phytosterols which help emulsify fats in water so it can flush out of the body.
Silica is the most abundant mineral on the planet and silica is critical to build and maintain bones, tissue, repair of ligaments, assist in osteoporosis and strengthen the integrity of the veins and arteries of the cardiovascular system. Horsetail contains more than 35% silica. Silica is used to help absorb calcium properly. There must be a good balance of silica and calcium for bones to be strong. It’s a primary mineral used to improve skin, hair, nails and is very necessary for collagen. It promotes hair growth, strengthens hair, stops hair loss and repairs split ends. Silica also helps to get rid of aluminum in the body so we find it helps with Alzheimer’s and brain conditions.
Horsetail is a tonic remedy that strengthens tissues of the body including the lungs, sinuses, and kidneys. It was used in Greek medicine as a kidney tonic, diuretic and to help promote urine flow, bladder, kidney infections, kidney stones, gout and asthma and flushes out waste. Boil it up into a tea and drink it. It is very bitter and astringent which allows muscles to contract. This will also tone the urinary tract to help with bed wetting and incontinence in the elderly. Because it is a diuretic don’t take it just before bed. Use the tea as a mouthwash and gargle for mouths sores, bleeding gums, and gingivitis.
Horsetail has also been used for treating bronchitis and tuberculosis. It assists in respiratory health because it is high in salicylic acid which can help strengthen lungs and increase resistance to disease, bronchitis, dry cough, and nasal blockage. The tea is high in quercetin, an anti-inflammatory compound that stabilizes mast cells that become easily inflamed during allergic reactions. Horsetail is an excellent daily tea for people with asthma, especially when mixed with mullein leaf. It strengthens lung tissue and prevents inflammation, while mullein helps to remove congestion and increase pliability of lung air sacks.
Use more herb in the water and boil it longer to make a decoction or mash up the fresh herb and use it as a paste topically on the skin and as a poultice for wounds and pain and for rheumatism and inflammation particularly. Put 4 oz (a handful) of horsetail herb into an old sock and throw it into a hot bath to soak in for muscle and joint pain and inflammation. Use the sock of herbs to rub on the skin. It also assists the prostate by reducing swelling and inflammation.
It’s best not to use it for longer than 2 months at a time so your body can rest from it. Don’t eat too much raw Horsetail green stalks because they contain thiaminase, an enzyme that destroys thiamine or vitamin B1 stores in the body.