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.
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.
Horsetail is a plant with the common name of Equisetum, which is the last remaining species of the genus of that name. It is also known as puzzlegrass. 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!
Dating back to prehistoric times, Horsetail grew when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Fossil records show that in their heyday (around 350 million years ago), magnificent specimens reached 30 metres or more. Nowadays, whilst Horsetail plants may lack the impressive stature of their prehistoric relatives, what they may be lacking in height, they certainly make up for in their wide array of healing benefits that have been known to ancient medicine people for millennia.
They are defined by a singular vascular shoot that forms the main stem and the leaves are largely non-photosynthetic. Furthermore, they reproduce via spores, 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. The Greeks used this herb to speed up wound healing, staunch bleeding and as a diuretic.
It was also a favourite of the Native Americans who used Horsetail tea as a diuretic and as a cough remedy for horses. The Cherokee and Chippewa tribes used it as a kidney tonic and to treat painful urination.
According to the “Doctrine of Signatures”, each plant resembles the condition or the part of the body it can heal. Horsetail stalks bear a striking resemblance to human joints, and it is now known that they are remarkably high in silica – a substance which preserves elasticity and connective tissue.
Some of the active ingredients that make horsetail potent include antioxidant compounds, silica, and other phytochemicals that can have dramatic effects on the body. Concentrated liquid forms of this herb are also added to a bath water for sprains and fractures or to boost hair and/or skin health. There are hundreds of health benefits from this nature's gift!
Other common names: Shave Grass, Joint Grass, Scouring Rush, Bottle Brush, Paddock Pipes, Horse Willow
Dosage: 15 - 30 drops, 3 times a day. For Hair: Mix 3 to 4 drops of Horsetail Tincture with 2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil. Massage onto the scalp to promote blood circulation and strengthen hair follicles. Concentrated liquid forms of this herb are also added to a bath water for sprains and fractures or to boost hair and/or skin health.
Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Horsetail is contraindicated in cases of alcoholism and thiamin deficiency.
If you have diabetes, or a taking prescription medications, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before using this herb.
Due to the effect that Horsetail has on certain vitamins and minerals in the body, long term use of Horsetail tea or tincture is not advisable. Taking a break after a week of daily ingestion is highly recommended.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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