Shave grass (Equisetum arvense) popularly known as horsetail, has been tracked historically to prehistoric times. Horsetail is one of the richest plant sources of silica known to mankind. These herbs can be blended and made into a tea by pouring boiling water over them and allowing them to steep for a few minutes.
Three cups of “silica tea’ provides a rich source of daily plant calcium. Its botanical name is derived from the plant’s brush-like appearance and basically means horse bristle, or horsetail. The stems of shave grass have been used medicinally as well and may even be found as ingredients in various shampoos, skincare products, and dietary aids.
When taken internally, the remedy can help stop bleeding ulcers or slow down heavy menstrual bleeding. It can be used as a gargle and mouth rinse for treating sore throat symptoms, bleeding gums, and mouth ulcers too.
The plant can be applied externally as a compress for wounds, sores, and skin problems. The major action of horsetail is as a urinary tract astringent and diuretic. These properties are produced by a combination of tannins and flavonoids present in the herb. Folk medicine refers to the ability of horsetail to tone organs of the urinary tract and soothe the bladder.
This is best explained by the herb’s ability to tighten the inflamed epithelial tissues with tannins and purge the urinary tract of toxins by dieresis. Horsetail is most noted for its trace mineral profile as it is an excellent herbal source of bioavailable silicon, calcium, magnesium, chromium, iron, manganese and potassium.
Horsetail is believed to have anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, Chinese herbalists have been using horsetail topically for centuries in the treatment of foot conditions such as Athlete’s Foot, frostbite, and chilblains as well as cracked and tired feet.
Chilblains is a skin condition caused by the exposure to extreme cold and humidity which damages the fine capillary beds in the skin of feet causing redness, inflammation, itchiness and blisters. Simple remedy is to soak affected feet in a horsetail soak for 15 minutes. To make horsetail foot soak, infuse 10 teaspoons of horsetail extract powder or dried herb in 4 cups of water.
Herbalist believe that massaging 3-4 drops of horsetail extract or tincture mixed in 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil may help stimulate the hair growth and decrease dandruff by improving the circulation in the scalp and strengthening hair follicles.
Simply massage the horsetail oil mix into the scalp for at least 10 minutes 3-4 times weekly. For hair wash, add 3-4 drops of horsetail tincture into your regular shampoo and wash as normal. Also after shampooing, pour half a cup of cold horsetail tea into the hair and wash it out after 4-5 minutes just like conditioner.
Horsetail should be used short term only, for a maximum of two months unless advised by your doctor otherwise. Ideally, the consumption of horsetail supplements should be stopped for one week after one month of its regular use and be continued on for another month.