One of the most exciting areas of research concerning horsetail is related to cancer, as the antioxidants found in horsetail show significant effects against free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular respiration that can cause inflammation, pain, wearing out of the organs, and degenerative diseases. The presence of antioxidants also prevents free radicals from causing healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones. This research is in its early stages, but the results thus far are promising.
Horsetail has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, can protect against the invasion of foreign pathogens and substances that can compromise our immune system. This is particularly effective when you have been wounded or are recovering from an illness, as infections can be much more severe when they attack an already weakened immune system.
If you regularly experience painful swelling and inflammation in parts of your body, whether due to injury, arthritis, gout, or any other condition, adding horsetail tea to your health regimen can be of great use. The analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds found in horsetail can quickly alleviate those symptoms and get you back on your feet.
Horsetail not only contains silica, it is high in many minerals that support its use as a bone strengthening herb. Silica is fundamentally important in building and maintaining healthy connective tissues, cartilage, muscle, skin, tendons, sheathing, and bone. Consuming Horsetail as a natural source of silica increases the body’s absorption of bone building minerals such as calcium, helping to provide relief from a whole host of structural diseases.
A deficiency in silica precedes the calcium loss that causes the de-mineralisation of bones, meaning that before the calcium is lost there must be a lack of silica in the diet. Horsetail also contains naturally bio-available calcium which is ideal for the body to use to repair and rebuild joints and connective tissues.
Studies have shown that Horsetail directly stimulates the production of bone cells, leading to the increased formation of bone tissue. Thus, Horsetail is an extremely useful herb in the prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also help to repair bone fractures, build cartilage for stronger joints, boost calcium absorption by the bones and even strengthen the connection between the jawbone and teeth.
Horsetail has a long and documented history of use as a diuretic (a substance that increases the amount of urine produced by the body). In a recent study comparing Horsetail to its pharmaceutical counterpart, it was found that the herb was as effective as the drug, but without causing excessive electrolyte loss – a common problem with pharmaceutical diuretics. The natural diuretic action of Horsetail helps the kidneys to cleanse the blood by triggering the need for water in the body and regulating urinary output. Additionally, the German Commission E has approved Horsetail as a diuretic for the treatment of swelling and fluid retention.
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Centre showed that the diuretic activity of Horsetail may also be beneficial to patients withperipheral edema and kidney stones , particularly the uric acid stones that are usually associated with gout.
The cleansing, diuretic action of Horsetail tea can be useful in combating bladder and urinary problems. By boosting the flow of urine, it helps to flush out harmful bacteria and toxins whilst soothing the constant urge to urinate by toning the urinary system. The high silica content of Horsetail is also thought to be responsible for its astringent, healing action upon the urinary tract.
The rich silica content of Horsetail is responsible for its ability to speed up wound healing. These silicates and silicic acid promote the migration of leukocytes and neutrophils (types of white blood cells that fight off infection), to the site of the wound and initiate the inflammatory phase of the healing process. The astringent properties of this herb also make it an excellent clotting agent that not only helps to staunch wounds, it can be effective in stopping nosebleeds too. To treat burns and wounds, horsetail herb is often applied directly to the affected area of skin.
Horsetail’s antioxidant effects have been linked to higher cognitive abilities in laboratory studies, probably owing to the increase in neural pathway efficiency when free radicals are eliminated from the system. This means that horsetail is not only a brain-boosting herb, but it may protect you from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as you age.
If you suffer from respiratory issues, such as congestion or frequent colds or flu, drinking horsetail tea can be a wonderful solution. It acts as an expectorant, clearing out mucus and phlegm where bacteria can lodge and grow, while also helping strengthen the immune system and relieve inflammation, resulting in respiratory relief.
Research has connected the use of horsetail supplements and tea to more balanced insulin levels in the body, namely in the rapid lowering of blood sugar when necessary. While this is an effective method of diabetes management, it should only be used for a short time, or when absolutely necessary. It can have long-term impacts if consumed for longer than two months in succession.
Hair & Skin Health
Lastly, Horsetail has been used around the world for centuries as a beautifying herb. Silicon is believed to be key to the optimal synthesis of collagen, a building block that is essential to the strength and elasticity of skin.
Research published in 2012 by the “Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology” found that silica derived from Horsetail significantly increased hair growth after 90 and 180 days. Additional studies confirm that hair strands with a higher silica content are shinier and tend to have a lower fall out rate. Also, one of horsetail’s most well-known uses is its employment for brittle nails — topically, internally or both.