The Greek physician, botanist and Roman army doctor Pedanius Dioscorides used Common Horsetail, Equisetum arvense to stop bleeding and heal soldier’s wounds. Today we know that ortho-silicic acid (a major source of silicon) is responsible for the wound healing properties of Common Horsetail. In the past, musicians used horsetail to polish their instruments and maids to polish pewter.
Medicinal use of Common Horsetail
Common or Field Horsetail is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the ancient family Equisetaceae which used to cover the earth some 380 million years ago. It has no male and female parts and reproduces strictly by spores present in the fertile stems that appear in late April. After these wilt, the sterile green stems start to grow and persist until the first frosts.
Its high content of silicic acid makes horsetail the number one source of this important chemical compound.
Silicic acid is an important structural element of bones, cartilage, connective tissue, nails, skin and hair. It aids in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, two major components of healthy skin. It also stimulates the proliferation of white blood cells thus supporting the body’s immune defenses.
The high content of potassium stimulates kidney function acting as a diuretic. It promotes the elimination of metabolic waste relieving symptoms of rheutatoid arthritis, arthritis, kidney diseases and skin ailments.
The body’s silicon supply decrease as we age making Common Horsetail very useful in the health care of the elderly.
When used internally, Common Horsetail is good to:
- Support bones, cartilage, connective tissue, nails, skin and hair
- Treat varicose veins
- Increase white blood cell
- Support the immune system
- Stimulate kidney and lung functions
- Promote urination (diuretic)
- Relieve rheumatoid arthitis, arthitis and gout
- Treat kidney and skin diseases
- Soothe stomach irritation and heartburn
- Excrete aluminum from the body
When used externally, Horsetail:
- Treats chronic eczema, frostbite
- Supports the healing process of broken bones
- Lowers inflammation of bursa (a small fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between bones and tendons and/or muscles around a joint)
- Treats hard-to-heal wounds and venous ulcers
- Improves the condition of skin, hair and nails
Common Horsetail contains 10% mostly water-soluble silicic acid, flavonoids, potassium, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
Internally: 6 g herb
Externally: 10 g herb per 1 liter of water
Harvest Common Horsetail from May to July. Pinch off the top third of the green shoot; the softer the shoot, the easier it releases the silicic acid.
Common Horsetail is not eaten raw. It must be cooked or dried to destroy thiaminase, an enzyme that destroys thiamine (vitamin B1) stores in the body. The most popular uses are:
- Power powder
- Hair rinse
- Skin tonic
You can add it to your homemade cosmetics. Your skin and hair will thank you.
Don’t use if you have water retention due to heart and/or kidney failure.