A key virtue of horsetail is that its silica is water-soluble, meaning that it can be readily transported around the body in solution form. Taken as a tea or syrup, it reaches your nails and joints, hair, and skin; externally it makes a good poultice and hair rinse, or can be added to the bath or body lotion.
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A young field horsetail (E. arvense) collects the early morning dew Note the green joints, an identifying characteristic.
Horsetail can, in certain cases, work wonders in rebuilding joints and other connective tissues.
One case of horsetail's value was told by a massage therapist who thought she might have to give up her work on account of pain and weakness of the wrist joint. Taking horsetail corrected this, and indeed also led to her fingernails growing much faster. She had to cut them more often to remain a smooth operator!
There is a tradition of horsetail being used to strengthen bones and teeth, and it is often found in formulae for osteoporosis and bone fractures. It helps in the healing process after surgery.
Horsetail seems to work by strengthening the channels in the body, including the arteries and veins, and assists the free passage of fluids. One of its common names, bottle brush, probably refers to its shape but could as easily relate to this clearing of channels.
Horsetail is mildly diuretic, meaning it can clear the kidneys without exhausting them. It is useful in teas for cystitis, incontinence, and other bladder issues, and can help with the problems associated with prostate enlargement.
It is also known as a wound herb, releasing pus and damaged cells from infected wounds. Another way it works on wounds is to slow the bleeding.
Pick horsetail in early summer, cutting the plant several inches above the ground so that it can grow back. For teas, dry it quickly, so that the plants don't turn brown. Crushing the plants lightly with a rolling pin helps the moisture escape.
When dry, cut up into short pieces.
Combine roughly equal parts by volume of dried horsetail and couchgrass , and whichever you have on hand of the following: bilberry leaves, yarrow, or pellitory of the wall.
Use a rounded teaspoonful of the mixture per mug of boiling water in a teapot, and leave to brew for 10 minutes.
Dose: Drink a cupful every two hours for acute cystitis, and continue with three cups a day for a while until you are completely over the cystitis.
Add a rounded teaspoonful of dried horsetail and half a teaspoonful of sugar to 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half.
Dose: Drink a cup occasionally to keep your skin, nails, and hair strong and healthy.
Make triple strength and add a cupful to hot baths and foot baths to help heal sprains and other injuries. It is remarkably effective.
This recipe keeps well, is convenient to take, and tastes good.
A couple of handfuls of fresh horsetail (about 2 ounces) 1 pint water three and a half ounces of sugar
Place the ingredients together in a pan, boil, then reduce heat and simmer for half an hour until the horsetail turns dark green and becomes soft. Strain off the liquid and return it to the pan with an additional 5 oz sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, allow to cool, then bottle. Makes about 13 fl oz syrup.
Dose: Take one teaspoonful a day for two or three weeks, then take a break for a week before resuming if needed.
• benign prostate enlargement
• rheumatic pains
• skin problems
• thin or brittle hair
• chronic cystitis
• benign prostate enlargement
... it doth perfectly cure wounds, yea, although the sinues be cut asunder.
- Galen (1st century AD)
An excellent remedy, internally and externally, for the whole kidney and bladder system.
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