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 with 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.
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.
Folklore and history
The medicinal use of Horsetail dates back to ancient 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 Nicholas Culpeper, the famous 17th century herbalist, astrologer and botanist, "It stays all sorts of lasks and fluxes in man or woman, and bloody urine; and heals also not only the inward ulcers, and the excoriation of the entrails, bladder, but all other sorts of foul, moist and running ulcers, and soon solders together the tops of green wounds. It cures all ruptures in children."
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.
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.
Use 2-3 teaspoons of dried herb, per cup of boiling water and steep for 5 -10 minutes depending on taste. Then strain and serve.
Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
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.
Horsetail Constituents: silicic acids and silicates (66%) flavonoids (0.3%), potassium (1.8%), isquercitroside (0.12%), phenolic acids (0.7%), calcium (1.3%) as well as traces of alkaloids, saponins, phytosterols, tannins, and the minerals manganese, sulfur, and magnesium.
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.