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This plant with the funny name, Horsetail Herb, is new to me. However its impressive list of nutrients earns it the nickname, “the repairing plant”. Take a look at the healing benefits of this little known but health boosting herb.
What is Horsetail Herb?
Horsetail is a perennial herb. There are 15 different species of this plant although common horsetail is used most often medicinally.
The herb grows in rich, damp soil throughout temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere, including the US, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
The stems and leaves provide the health benefits. In the spring, horsetail herb puts up a brown stem that resembles asparagus. Cones filled with spores form atop the stems. As the plant dries, silica crystals form in stems and leaves, creating a feathery tail effect.
Horsetail Herb Nutrients
Horsetail contains a long list of nutrients and beneficial compounds, including:
- vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E & K
- phenolic compounds
- kynurenic acid
Pretty impressive, right? This is a plant I wanted to know more about, especially since it repairs and restores the body.
Health Benefits of Horsetail Herb
This potent herb provides the following healing benefits:
Aids Hair Growth
Horsetail is rich in silica, an important mineral that supports hair growth. Studies suggest that hair strands with a higher silica content have a lower fall out rate and appear healthier and brighter. Horsetail is one of the best sources of silica and improves nail and skin health as well.
Improves Brittle Nails
Horsetail may be used topically or taken internally to improve brittle nails. Again, it’s the high silica content in the herb that boosts nail, hair and skin health.
The herb is a natural diuretic that helps with edema, puffiness caused by excess water stored in the body. Horsetail improves edema without the side effects affecting liver or kidney function or causing an electrolyte imbalance.
Soothes Joint Inflammation
Horsetail is an ancient remedy for joint disease, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The powerful herb soothes and calms inflammation and eases degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The compound kynurenic acid is responsible for the anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and pain relieving properties. These abilities place horsetail herb in a super group of plants including peppermint, nettle and birch leaf, all high in kynurenic acid.
Helps to Heal Wounds and Burns
The silica in horsetail is key to the formation of collagen, a key skin building block that is essential for strength and elasticity. Studies show that horsetail helps wounds and burns to heal while easing associated pain.
Horsetail Herb stops the growth and kills microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. It is also effective against staph infections and candida.
Using Horsetail Herb
Horsetail may be purchased as a dried herb, tea, capsules or tinctures. Also available are creams and lotions that contain horsetail herb and hair and nail products for topical use.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy the benefits of horsetail herb…and my favorite…is by brewing tea.
Pour one cup of boiling water over 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried horsetail. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.
Use a strong horsetail herb tea as a rinse after shampooing, to strengthen hair. Tea may also be used to bathe wounds and burns.
Be careful foraging for this plant. Although it commonly grows near water, there is a variety known as marsh horsetail that is poisonous.
Mild side effects from the herb include upset stomach, diarrhea and increased urination. Taking too much horsetail herb can cause kidney pain, low back pain, heart palpitations, nausea and vomiting so don’t take more than the recommended dosage or drink more than one cup of tea a day.
Check with your doctor about taking horsetail if you are pregnant, nursing a baby or have low potassium levels. Horsetail may lower blood sugar and potassium levels. Also check with the doctor if you are taking medications for diabetes or water retention or if you are taking lithium, as horsetail may interact with these drugs.