When you hear horsetail, do you think about the backside of a horse?
Lol, I did so many years ago. Horsetail is a very powerful natural herb and many natural healers regard it as one of the hidden natural treasures for good health.
Due to the immense therapeutic nature of this herb, horsetail is used in treating a wide range of health conditions.
What Is Horsetail?
This perennial herb belongs to the Equisetum genus and has at least 15 different species around the world. Horsetail is the general name for the different species of this amazing herb.
The parts of the plant above the ground are used in making medicine. The specie Equisetum arvense is the most used in natural medicine.
This plant is found abundantly in the temperate climate zones of the Northern Hemisphere like Europe, North America, and Asia. You will find it growing in moist rich soil and other low-lying areas of the world.
Horsetail grass or horsetail reeds (which commonly grow near wetlands) are common ornamental plants in contained ponds and gardens.
Nutritional Component of Horsetail
Studies have confirmed that horsetail is highly nutritious due to its rich content of the following:
- Kynurenic acid
- Phenolic compounds
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin C
The presence of these nutrients in horsetail makes it useful in treating diseases like urinary tract infection, hair loss, osteoporosis, edema, diabetes, joint diseases, skin health, brittle nails, and many more.
Health Benefits of Horsetail
1. Heals wounds and relieves burns
Due to the skin-boosting property of the horsetail, it heals wounds and fades scars. Silica is a mixture of oxygen and silicon and both of these compounds are needed by the skin.
Oxygen makes the skin healthy while silicon is used to make collagen, a key compound used in building and repairing the skin. Collagen boosts the elasticity and strength of the skin.
Due to the content of collagen, horsetail heals wounds, even diabetic wounds. Horsetail paste is applied directly to burns and other affected areas of the skin to promote quick healing.
2. Rich in antimicrobial properties
Horsetail has a strong antimicrobial activity and that is why its essential oil is used in fighting skin infections and other types of infections.
It has a super impressive antimicrobial property against a wide range of harmful bacteria and fungi including Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Salmonella enteritidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.
A dilution of horsetail essential oil (1:10) provides a very powerful antimicrobial activity against the microbes mentioned.
3. Treats edema
This herb is a powerful diuretic and studies have shown it is effective in improving peripheral edema.
4. Strengthens brittle nails
This is the most well-known benefit of horsetail. It is used both topically and internally to treat brittle nails.
Horsetail has a high content of silica and silicates. These compounds boost skin, nail, and hair health. Taking horsetail will provide about 2 to 3% of elemental silicon.
Organic silica improves nail plate alterations.
5. Improves joint disease
Horsetail has a long history of calming inflammation in traditional medicine.
It has powerful anti-inflammatory property and that is why studies are confirming that this herb relieve inflammation and improve degenerative joint disease.
A compound, kynurenic acid (KYNA) present in this herb has pain-relieving, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study, nine herbs were studied and horsetail was among the first four with the highest content of kynurenic acid (KYNA). The first three are peppermint, nettle leaves, and birch leaf.
Studies have shown that the level of KYNA in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is very low. Consuming horsetail in these conditions will help to increase your levels of KYNA and relieve inflammation.
Horsetail even prevents inflammatory diseases and its extract has been studied as a form of immune-modulatory therapy for antigen-induced arthritis in mice.
Studies have revealed that horsetail extract has powerful anti-inflammatory potential and also has an immune-modulatory effect on your immune cells (B and T lymphocytes).
These lymphocytes B cells (also called bone marrow cells) and the T cells (also called thymus cells) are regarded as the “special ops of the immune system”.
This makes horsetail very beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Other studies have found that horsetail boosts the regeneration of bones and even reverses damages caused by osteoporosis.
6. Boost hair growth
Regular consumption of horsetail boosts hair growth. The rich content of organic silica is responsible for this effect.
This mineral had been linked to hair growth, improved nail health, and healthier skin.
Beauty experts regard this herb as one of the best sources of silica on earth. It gives your hair a beautiful luster and bestows an amazing softness on your skin.
It also increases the strength of your hair thereby preventing breakages and hair loss.
You can take horsetail tea or tincture internally for hair problems and to improve your hair health. a strongly brewed horsetail tea can be used as hair rinse.
7. Boosts your immune system
The antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties of horsetail protect your body from these invaders and prevent them from compromising your immune system.
It also hastens recovery from diseases and infections. You will see how effective horsetail is when you are treating a wound or trying to heal from an illness.
People who have a weak or compromised immune system can take horsetail tea few times a week to boost it.
8. Relieves respiratory issues
Horsetail tea is a wonderful home remedy for cold, congestion, and other respiratory issues. People who suffer from frequent cold and respiratory conditions can reduce the frequency and severity by consuming horsetail tea.
It is a natural expectorant that help clears out phlegm and mucus where pathogens lodge and grow. This herb also strengthens the immune system to overcome all these infections.
It also relieves inflammation, a common symptom of respiratory problems.
9. Boosts kidney health
The elimination of toxins and regulation of urine production and output is paramount to overall health.
Horsetail extract can help your body with these functions as it eliminates high levels of uric acid. High levels of uric acid cause painful kidney stones and reduce the functions of the kidneys.
This can affect metabolism and lead to high levels of wastes accumulating in the body because your kidney is working inefficiently.
When your kidneys can naturally excrete uric acid, there will be no buildup of this acid in your body and the health and functions of your kidneys will be protected.
10. Strengthens bones
Silicon is highly important for your bones also as it protects its mineral density and integrity even as you age.
You will help your bones by taking horsetail if you are at risk of bone thinning and other bone problems. This will slow the decline and even reverse it if you add detoxification and a good diet.
11. Improves skin health
Due to the skin-improving benefits of horsetail, it is used in making many natural and organic skin care products. The unique blend of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and silica and other compounds in this herb treat skin problems and give you a healthy skin.
Creams and lotions containing horsetail relieve acne, boil, psoriasis, and even eczema. It prevents premature aging by its antioxidant activity, and contains other nutrients your skin needs to be healthy.
12. Stops excessive bleeding
This herb can minimize or even stop internal or excessive bleeding due to its anti-inflammatory compounds. With this, horsetail relieves inflammation and disturbances causes by inflamed wounds.
It even help to relieve menstrual cramps and injuries. Take a cup of horsetail tea three times daily for one week.
Or you take 2 teaspoons of dried horsetail herb and 2 teaspoons of mashed plantain. Grind them into a paste and add water to smoothen the paste.
Apply this paste on the bleeding part of the skin, or on the wound, burnt area, or cut area. Cover it with a gauze for fast healing.
13. Boosts cognition
The antioxidants present in this herb protect your brain and boosts cognitive functions. It increases the efficiency of your neural pathways by eliminating free radicals from your body.
This herb offers protection against dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive disorders as you age.
It also improves memory because it contains antioxidants and silica. Silica is used by the body to strengthen the connective tissues of the spinal cord, brain, and nerve cells.
This, in turn, helps in improving bad memory. Also, horsetail has a little amount of nicotine that stimulates the nervous system and the brain.
To improve memory, take 1 to 2 capsules of horsetail extracts every day for 2 months.
14. Reverses diabetes
Studies have revealed that horsetail tea and supplements balance the levels of sugar in the bloodstream better than drugs. It rapidly brings the levels of sugar low when it is high.
This is an effective natural way to regulate blood sugar and manage diabetes. If combined with a right diet, horsetail can improve the life of diabetic patients.
Don’t take it longer than 2 months. Make sure you give a month to 2 months break after taking for 2 month before resuming.
15. Treats gingivitis
Due to the inflammatory nature of this herb, it can reduce mouth sores and bleeding gums thereby calming gingivitis.
Make a horsetail mouthwash by boiling a teaspoon of horsetail in one cup of water using an infuser for 7 to 10 minutes. Or you add 3 to 4 drops of horsetail extracts into 1 cup of lukewarm water.
Gargle with this liquid and swish it in your mouth for few minutes. Make sure it reaches all angles of your mouth and then you spit it out.
For quick results, gargle with this 3 times daily.
16. Cure foot problems
Athlete’s foot can be treated with horsetail. Put 1o teaspoons of dried horsetail herb and 4 cups of hot water.
Mix properly and leave it to infuse for 10 minutes. Soak your feet in this horsetail solution two times every week. You should soak your feet in this for at least 15 minutes.
When you remove your feet from the solution, pat them dry and apply extra virgin coconut oil to moisturize them. Wear socks to keep your feet warm.
17. Treat hemorrhoid
People suffering from hemorrhoid or piles can benefit from horsetail because it has hemostatic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Add a fiber-rich diet to your treatment protocol and the use of horsetail to hasten healing. Take one cup of horsetail before every meal.
18. Cures allergies and rashes
This is an effective home remedy for rashes caused by clothing and other types of allergies.
It removes marks and scars from the skin and soothes inflammation.
19. Treats canker sores
Canker sores and other related problems of the mouth can be relieved by horsetail. Inflamed tonsils can also be relieved by this herb.
Put a teaspoon of dried horsetail herb in a cup of water and boil it for 15 minutes. Leave it to get warm or lukewarm.
Gargle with this mouthwash and make sure it touches all areas of your mouth. Do this three times daily for a visible and fast result.
20. Improves menstruation
Women suffering from irregular period will benefit from horsetails because it regularizes menstruation.
Boil a tablespoon of minced and dried horsetail in 1 liter of water. Every two hours, take a tablespoon of this solution once in cases of severe irregularities.
Once your period starts normalizing, reduce the intake to three times daily.
21. Boost weight loss
Add horsetail to your list of herbal teas if you want to lose weight. Its natural diuretic property will expel toxins from the body and boost metabolism.
22. Prevents cancer
Though this is still being studied, there is a huge promise of horsetail fighting off cancer.
This herb is loaded with antioxidants, it eliminates toxins, and reduce the effects of free radicals. All these help in preventing and fighting off cancer.
How To Use Horsetail
In a good health store, whether offline or online, you can find horsetail in many forms.
These forms include dried herbs, juices, tinctures, capsules, and even tea bags. Horsetail ointments, lotions, and creams are also available.
Some natural hair, skin, and nail products contain horsetail for topical use.
The use of horsetail depends on many things like your age and health status. While there are no standard doses for taking horsetail, you should try and take it in moderation.
You can take pure and non-GMO supplement containing 300 milligrams of dried horsetail extract per capsule three times daily.
Always read the dosing information of using supplement and consult with a naturopath if you need to do so.
One of the most common ways to consume horsetail is by drinking it as tea.
You can use the loose herb or the horsetail tea bags. Put 2 to 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried horsetail in a cup and pour boiled water over it.
Cover it and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and add stevia, raw honey, or any natural sweetener you have and drink.
Risks And Side Effects Of Horsetail
Equisetum palustre (marsh horsetail) is poisonous. So, care has to be taken in knowing the specie/variety of horsetail you are using.
If you are confused or don’t know how to identify the medicinal horsetail, you can contact a well-trained herbalist to help you.
It is very important you know the variety you are taking. Also, avoid horsetail plants with brown spots as these are indications of the presence of a toxic fungus.
You might experience increased urination, diarrhea, and upset stomach if you take horsetail a little bit regular. Excess intake of horsetail can cause heart palpitations.
Don’t take it for a long period of time orally. It can cause thiamine deficiency because horsetail has a compound called Thiaminase that can break down this vitamin.
Look for horsetail products labeled “thiaminase-free” of you want to take it for a long time. Alcoholics should avoid horsetail because they are already deficient in thiamine, taking horsetail would worsen the deficiency.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid horsetail. People on diabetic or any other medications should consult with their doctors before taking horsetail.
Horsetail lowers blood sugar and even potassium levels. It also interacts with some drugs and herbs like areca, chromium-containing herbs, herbs and supplements that lower blood sugar, and thiamine.
We hope this post helps you appreciate horsetail and help you make good use of it.
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