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The chief medicinal property of horsetail is its high silica content.The best dietary source of silica is whole grains-meaning much of our dietary silica is lost in the refining process. In addition to silica, horsetail contains large amounts of potassium as well as aconitic acid, equiaitinee, starch and many fatty acids. Horsetail is often used for mending broken bones. Our hair, skin, nails, and bones all need silica.
Silica gives our cells strength, durability, and flexibility.
Think about walking outdoors on the grass. You put a lot of weight on the little blades of grass, but they spring right back up again. This is because of the high silica content in the grass. Silica enables the blades of grass to be resilient and bend, yet not be broken. Without silica, our bones would be very brittle and break easily. The same is true of hair, skin, and nails. Without enough silica in our diet, our hair can be brittle and break easily, causing split ends.
Without enough silica, our skin loses its elasticity. Without enough silica, our nails become very brittle and split. As horsetail is very, very high in silica, it feeds our hair, skin, and nails along with our bones and keep the cells in these systems strong and resilient.
Horsetail also has antibacterial, antiseptic, and astringent properties. It is a wonderful herb for the genitourinary system. It can tone the bladder as well as the urinary mucous membranes. Horsetail helps the body to fight infection. It has been used for cystitis, prostatitis, urethritis, and for incontinece in adults as well as in children.
Horsetail is also used to reduce menstrual clots, to staunch wounds, to minimize the coughing up of blood, to stop nosebleeds, and to prevent hemorrhages. Horsetail is known to reduce chronic swelling in the legs, to relax muscle cramps, and to relieve chest problems, including damage from emphysema. Horsetail tea is often used to heal stomach ulcers. It is also effective as a gargle for gum and mouth infections and for inflammation of the throat. Because silica promotes collagen formation, it speeds up the healing of damaged connective tissue. It is used successfully to heal anal fissures, hemorrhoids, eczema, tumors, and wounds.
Parts used: Sterile spring stems.
Taste/smell: Fairly bland, slightly sweetish.
Tendencies: Cooling and drying.
It is best used as a tea.
The silica content is so high that the horsetail stems can also be used as a natural sandpaper or scouring pad. The plant grows along wet streambanks, and tolerates shade.