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Top 12 Reasons Why You Should Consume More Horsetail!
Horsetail is an herb that looks exactly as the name implies: very much like a horsetail or perhaps the tail of a bird. In the past, horsetail has been referred to as pewterwort, since it was used to polish wood and pewter, or sometimes even scouring rush, since the abrasive coating on the stems made for a nice “brush” for scouring pots! A few other common names for this plant are bottle brush, shavegrass, paddock pipes, horsetail fern, and candock.
This is a very old herb that has been used as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used horsetail for its numerous health benefits. It was sometimes used as a dye for clothing and the stalks used to make whistles. Although horsetail can be used for many things, its main value is in its health benefits. Horsetail contains phenolic acids, fatty acids, tannins, saponins, flavonoids, calcium, iron and silica. Horsetail is similar to alfalfa in that it has deep roots that can absorb many minerals, such as silica, from the earth that other plants cannot reach.
Horsetail has numerous agents such as being antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and astringent activity.
You may have heard that horsetail is good for growing hair and that is true, but it has so much more to offer! Keep reading and find out the top 12 ways that horsetail can benefit you and why you should add some to your supplement routine.
1. Super Memory Power
Studies done in Brazil using rats showed that horsetail extracts improved short term and long term memory as well as cognitive performance. A 2005 study found that its cognitive improving abilities are most likely due to its high antioxidant compounds. This study was published in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior.
2. Stops Osteoporosis
One study showed a connection between horsetail and osteoporosis. This herb contains a strong blend of calcium and is already used in Italy to improve bone strength and prevent stress fractures by improving bone density. This is most likely due to horsetail’s high ratio of silicon. Studies have shown that a daily intake of silicon, such as the type found in horsetail, is linked to greater bone density and mineral density in men and premenopausal women.
3. Super Antioxidant
Lab tests show that horsetail extract has such powerful antioxidants that it can even stop the development of cancer cells. This 2010 study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, showed that there was a link between the phytochemicals and antioxidants in horsetail and a lowered incidence of cancer in lab studies.
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4. Supports Healthy Nails
If you have weak, brittle nails that have those unsightly white spots on them, then horsetail might be the answer you are looking for. You can use horsetail both internally via supplements, and externally by soaking your nails in a horsetail extract. Soak about 2 teaspoons of dried horsetail in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes, and then soak your nails in the solution for another 10 minutes. Doing this two or three times per week, combined with a horsetail supplement, should strengthen those weak nails in about 4 weeks.
5. Fungal Infections and Chilblains
Since horsetail has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial compounds, it’s the perfect remedy for fighting foot and skin infections such as frostbite and Athlete’s foot. Chilblains are a painful skin condition that occurs when severe cold combined with humidity causes damage to the capillaries on the feet, which causes redness, itching, inflammation and blisters. You can consume supplements internally, and then make a solution similar to the one for nails and soak the feet in this warm water mixture for the relief and speedy healing of these common foot problems.
6. Soothes Sore Throats
Making a strong horsetail tea and then drinking or gargling with it is a great way to soothe and stop sore throats in their tracks. Since horsetail contains strong antimicrobial compounds, it can kill the bacteria that often causes sore throats. Read more about natural remedies for sore throat.
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7. Bladder Issues/Bedwetting Problems
Some studies have shown that horsetail extract can help those with urinary tract infections, bedwetting problems, and weak bladders. For bladder weakness and UTIs, a warm bath with some horsetail tea is helpful, as well as consuming two or three horsetail capsule supplements each day.
8. Stops Edema
In the 2004 issue of Pharmacal Research, research was published which showed that horsetail had strong anti-inflammatory compounds and in studies done involving mice, it reduced edema (swelling due to water retention) by as much as 30 percent. The German Commission E has approved this herb for use as a diuretic for those with edema. Horsetail can also help restore minerals that are lost due to increased urination.
9. Respiratory Support
Making a tea from horsetail and consuming this 2 or 3 times per day was shown to help support healthy lungs, help heal bronchitis, nasal congestion and stop coughs. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms last more than 5 days. Find out more remedies to calm a cough.
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10. Supports Healthy Skin
The antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, as well as the silica that horsetail contains means that it has many strong compounds that can help skin wounds heal more quickly, help reduce acne outbreaks, and keep skin looking smooth and healthy, Silica helps the body make collagen, which is vital for healthy connective tissues and elasticity in the skin. Horsetail is used extensively in many antiaging and wrinkle creams. The high level of antioxidants that horsetail contains means that it is a powerful fighter of free radicals, which cause aging and wrinkles. You can drink horsetail tea or make a tea and use it as a toner on your face or pour some over wounds to speed healing.
SEE ALSO: How To Nourish Your Skin Infographic
11. Minimize Bleeding
Horsetail has hemostatic and coagulant activity that helps to minimize bleeding, both internally and externally, as well as limiting excessive menstruation. Since horsetail is also an excellent anti-inflammatory, it can stop the discomfort caused by inflamed injuries and menstrual cramps. Two or three cups of horsetail tea a day or two before your period, and for the next 3 days after your period will help to minimize cramping and excessive bleeding.
12. Hair Growth
This is what horsetail is best known for. Research shows that the silica in this herb promotes hair growth and strength. It can also stop dandruff and hair loss. You can take horsetail supplements or drink tea as well as use a strong horsetail tea as a hair rinse for strong, lustrous, and rejuvenated hair. You can also make a tincture from horsetail and add that to some olive oil or coconut oil and make your own hair growth stimulating conditioner. You should see the results of horsetail within about 2 months.