Horsetail is a perennial plant that represents a horse’s tail (imagine that). It is also known as pewterwort, shavegrass, candock, and bottle brush. This plant has been used to make dye, whistles, polish wooden tools, and even as sandpaper. Even more impressive than these uses are the many health benefits of horsetail. Rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, this plant is useful for everything from treating boils to preventing memory loss. Read on to discover more of the benefits of using horsetail.
1. Strengthens Nails
If you have weak, brittle nails, a daily horsetail extract can help reverse this trend. For an easy remedy, steep two teaspoons of dried horsetail in boiling water for at least ten minutes. Once the “tea” has cooled to room temperature, soak your nails in the liquid for 20-30 minutes; repeat this 3-4 times per week for stronger, healthier nails.
2. Helps with Skin Issues
A horsetail salve or poultice can be applied to boils and carbuncles to draw out the puss and release the pressure and pain. Horsetail also contains silica, which can treat acne, wrinkles, and even rashes and burns.
Make a horsetail paste and apply to the affected area; let the paste sit for 20 minutes, and repeat this 4-5 times per week. You can also make a homemade toner simply by letting some fresh horsetail cool, and then applying it to a clean, dry face.
3. Urinary Tract Health
Horsetail extract is often used to help with incontinence, a weak bladder, and urinary tract infections. One capsule of horsetail extract, consumed two times per day, can help treat UTIs naturally.
Horsetail baths can also help with UTIs as well as a weak bladder or incontinence. Drinking horsetail tea daily can also help protect the health of your kidneys and prevent/reduce kidney stones and gallbladder stones.
4. Protect Your Memory
Some researchers believe that a lack of silica in the body can result in accelerated memory loss. Since horsetail naturally contains silica, consuming the herb can help protect your memory and stave off cognitive decline.
5. Healthy Hair
If you’ve ever wanted long, strong, thick, and healthy hair, it might be within reach with horsetail extract. Research suggests that a combination of drinking horsetail tea and applying the tincture to your hair can improve the health of your strands. You can also add a few drops of horsetail essential oil to your regular shampoo and use that every time you wash your hair.
6. Supports Healthy Bones
Research suggests that the silica found in horsetail may also help to protect the integrity of our bones. It is believed that the silica helps our bodies better absorb and utilize calcium, which translates to stronger, less brittle bones. This can also help bones heal faster after fractures and breaks.
7. Hemorrhoid Help
Hemorrhoids sure aren’t fun and will leave you seeking relief as quickly as possible. Fortunately, horsetail extract can help address the pain and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids, and actually speed up the healing process. To alleviate your hemorrhoid issue, drink a cup of horsetail tea before every meal, making sure to include more fiber in each meal as well.
You may not have heard of horsetail before, but you’re probably ready to stock up on some now. Horsetail is also considered to be effective in treating inflamed tonsils, excessive bleeding, fluid retention, diabetes, and more.
How to Use Horsetail
Horsetail can be found in most health food stores in a variety of forms: dried herb, liquid extract, capsules, or tea bags.
Horsetail can be used to make a delicious tea – To reap the benefits of this herb, drink one cup of the tea 2 to 3 times daily. It’s easy to make too, simply add 1 or 2 tsp. of dried horsetail to hot water. Allow the tea to sit for about 10 minutes, then strain and drink.
DIY mouthwash – Make your own medicinal mouthwash by adding a tsp. of the herb into boiling water, and leaving it to rest for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, add a few drops of the herb extract into lukewarm water for the same effect. Use the mouthwash 3 or 4 times per day to reap the maximum benefits.
Horsetail compresses – Horsetail has been shown to help with painful wounds, so making your own infused compress is a good way to reap the benefits. Add the dried herb into lukewarm water and leave it for around 15 minutes or so. After this, take a small piece of cloth and put the herb inside, and apply to the affected area. For added benefits, rotate your compress between hot and cold, as this has been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation. To create a hot and cold compress, repeat the process with warm water, and then again with cold water, creating two different compresses.
A medicinal paste for wounds – Applying horsetail in the form of a paste can help with troublesome wounds. Simply take some crushed leaves and soak them in lukewarm water or add water to half tsp. of horsetail powder. This will form a paste which you can then apply to a compress to speed up the healing process.
A soothing soak for feet – If you suffer from dry or painful feet, make this easy soak for extra relief. Take dried horsetail leaves or the powder (around 10 tsp.) and add to 4 cups of water. Let it soak for a short while and then put your feet in for around 15 minutes. Moisturize with coconut oil and put on cotton socks to keep the feet warm.
A nourishing nail treat – We touched a little on this above. Add 2 tsp. of dried horsetail into hot water and let it soak for around 10 minutes. Once cooled, add your fingers and leave for another 15-20 minutes. Once finished, dry your hands and moisturize your nails with olive oil and lemon juice. Do this a few times per week and you will notice a big difference in your nails and hands.
If you are using patches for smoking, e.g. nicotine, or you have a sensitivity to it, then avoid horsetail, because it has a nicotine content of its own. Similarly, if you are currently taking diuretics or laxative drugs, avoid again as this can lead to serious health problems such as low potassium (hypokalemia) or dehydration.
If you suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B, or if you are an alcoholic then you shouldn’t use horsetail. The herb is rich in Thiaminase and too much of it destroys thiamine (B1).
Do not take horsetail in any form if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is important to note, also, that horsetail should definitely not be taken for longer than two months consecutively.