Top 15 Benefits and Uses of Horsetail

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

Horsetail, as you might imagine from its name, is a thin perennial plant that looks similar to a horse’s tail or a bird’s tail. It has no seeds but instead reproduces by spores. It’s sometimes called Pewterwort due to its ability to polish pewter. Other common names include shavegrass, bottle brush, horsetail fern, or scouring rush. Both Chinese herbalists and the Romans have been using horsetail for centuries. Horsetail is often used in Japan in many shampoos and cosmetics.

Horsetail has many medicinal properties and nutrients including calcium, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, fatty acids, and silica. Horsetail is able to absorb many nutrients from the earth, such as silica, which is not found in many other plants.

This plant has many useful compounds such as antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, diuretic, and coagulants. It can be used for many health conditions. Take a look at the top 15 benefits and uses of this amazing plant.


1. Helps with bladder issues

Many studies have proven that horsetail extract can help those with bladder problems and urinary tract issues. Horsetail can alleviate the symptoms of urinary tract infections, such as that feeling that you constantly must pee. One capsule of horsetail extract taken 2 or 3 times per day can help. Or taking a bath with some horsetail tea 2 or 3 times per week can stop bladder infections and even help strengthen the bladder. To use this method, add 10 teaspoons of dried horsetail to one quart of boiling water and steep for about 15 minutes. Strain and pour the tea into the bath. Soak in the bath for about 15 minutes each time.


2. Helps with mouth and throat problems

Gargling twice per day for 2 minutes with horsetail tea can help stop inflamed tonsils, mouth sores, bleeding gums, and gingivitis. Find out do’s and don’t of oral care.


3. Helps with cognition

Scientists in Brazil discovered that horsetail extracts given to rats helped to improve long term and short term cognitive and memory performance. This study, done in 2005 and published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, states that the improvements to cognitive function could be due to its antioxidant compounds.


4. Healthy hair

Many studies show that the silica in horsetail helps with both hair health and growth. Horsetail can help stop dandruff, split ends, and hair loss as well. You can work both ends of the hair issue by both drinking horsetail tea and washing your hair with a shampoo that contains horsetail extract. Making your own horsetail hair conditioner is easy. Mix a half dozen drops of horsetail extract into 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin coconut or olive oil will not only stop dandruff, but will increase your body’s ability to grow hair by encouraging blood circulation in the scalp while strengthening the hair follicles. Add this mixture to your hair and massage it into the scalp at least three times a week and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you can’t find horsetail shampoo, make your own by mixing a few drops of horsetail extract into your favorite shampoo.


5. Helps dissolve kidney stones

Research done at UMMC shows that horsetail can help stop the formation of kidney stones and even help dissolve stones already in place. Some kidney stones develop from an excess of uric acid in the body. Drinking horsetail tea or taking supplements can help remove uric acid from the joints and kidneys. This is especially helpful for those with gout.

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Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

6. Helps with skin problems

The antiseptic, silica, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant nature of horsetail give it the ability to cure wounds, burns, acne, skin lesions, and skin rashes. Silica is known to form collagen, which is an important factor for the growth and care of healthy connective tissues in the body. For this reason, horsetail is often used in anti-wrinkle and antiaging cosmetics and creams. Consuming horsetail tea regularly would allow its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions to delay premature again and alleviate inflamed or irritated skin. You can kill acne by soaking a cotton ball in horsetail tea and rubbing it over your face every night before bed. Be sure to avoid the eyes. Read more about 4 groups of food that give you balanced hormones and great skin.


7. Helps with Edema

Few studies show that horsetail can have a diuretic effect on the body and can help it produce more urine. Horsetail is also rich in minerals and while helping the body produce more urine, replaces lost minerals due to more frequent urination. Horsetail has been approved by the German Commission E for use as a diuretic for edema. Try taking horsetail extract or drinking tea twice per day for 8 weeks to reduce fluid build -up in the body. This is especially helpful for those with edema.


8. Stops bleeding

Horsetail can minimize or even stop both internal and external bleeding, including excessive menstruation. The anti-inflammatory nature of horsetail can stop the discomfort caused by inflammation and provide relief from the pain of wounds, injuries, and menstrual cramps. Drink horsetail tea two or three times per day.


9. Antimicrobial

Horsetail is a great antimicrobial and can fight against specific strains of fungi and germs. Studies done in 2006 show that horsetail kills E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, pseudomonas aeruginosa, and salmonella enteritis’s.


10. Stops osteoporosis

Horsetail has a large blend of calcium that is already being used in Italy to help stop fractures and improve bone strength, while studies show that it can have a huge impact on bone density. This is probably due to the high amount of silicon in this herb. Several studies have shown that silicon intake is linked to great bone density in both men and premenopausal women.

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Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

11. Stops brittle, weak nails

The minerals in horsetail can help stop those white spots (which indicate weakness) in fingernails. People report that taking horsetail extract capsules daily, combined with soaking nails in horsetail tree at least 4 times per week, hardened nails considerably.


12. Diabetes

Studies show that patients with type-2 diabetes who were given a daily oral dose of horsetail extract had a significantly lower blood sugar levels within one hour of taking this herb. Diabetics should try taking horsetail extracts once a day before a meal. As always, talk to your doctor before starting any herbal supplement program.


SEE ALSO: Cabbage, a Natural Medicine for Cancer and Diabetes

13. Stops foot infections and chilblains

Chinese herbalists have been using horsetail for hundreds of years for treating problems with the feet such as frostbite, chilblains, and athlete’s foot. Chilblains is a skin condition that occurs after exposure to extreme cold and humidity, which causes damage to the capillary bed of the feet. This causes redness, itching, blisters, and inflammation. Since horsetail has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, it’s well suited to help stop these types of skin problems.


14. Helps with bronchitis symptoms

Horsetail tea has been proven to help stop dry coughs, nasal congestion, and bronchitis symptoms. It’s also helpful in reducing fevers due to flu or colds. Inhaling the vapors from horsetail tea can help clear up congested nasal passages. Drink horsetail tea two or three times per day, taking time to inhale the steam when you have respiratory problems. See a doctor if you don’t see improvement in 5 days.


15. Heals boils and carbuncles

Horsetails anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial can help stop the infection and inflammation that comes with carbuncles and boils. A salve made from horsetail can be used to draw out the infection and pus from boils and other sores. To make a healing compress, soak crushed and dried horsetail into some warm water for about 15 minutes. Place the soaked herb in a small piece of cloth or cheese cloth and apply it to the affected area. Using hot and cold compresses with horsetail extract 2 or 3 times a day can greatly help reduce the inflammation and draw out the pus.

As with any nutritional supplement, horsetail is safe when taken in moderation and for a short duration. Always consult your doctor or health care provider before you add horsetail to your daily routine, especially if you are taking other pharmaceuticals. Horsetail does contain some nicotine, so pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using it.