Horsetail herb is a popular organic herb used in everything from tea and medicine to hair products. Since the Ancient Greeks, people have used horsetail for its countless natural benefits and it is still used today. Read on to learn more about what the herb is, how it can be used, its benefits, and how to use it for your hair.
What Is Horsetail Herb?
Horsetail herb is the common name for the plant Equisetum. Other names include “puzzlegrass” and “shavegrass.” Equisetum is the only member of its genus still found on earth—the rest are extinct. An interesting fact about the horsetail plant is that it doesn’t use photosynthesis, and it reproduces with spores, not seeds. Considered one of the most abundant sources of silica, its long stalks have enough silica that the herb can actually be used to polish metal. With powerful effects on the human body, horsetail has been used since the Greeks and Romans for its health benefits.
Horsetail Herb Uses
Horsetail has been used for almost everything. People have used it to treat a wide variety of health conditions, including weak bones, frostbite, gout, acne, kidney stones, and athlete’s foot. Very few substances can be used to treat as many health conditions as horsetail. The list of uses could go on and on, but here are some of the most common uses for horsetail:
Blisters and boils
Bladder problems like urinary tract infections
Acne and other skin blemishes
Heavy bleeding including nosebleeds and menstrual periods
Most often, horsetail is applied to the problem area, taken in a pill or as a tea, or used as a gargling infusion.
There’s a good reason many people use horsetail for so many health conditions. There are many benefits, but here are the most prominent benefits of using horsetail:
Horsetail boosts your immune system. After an illness or infection, your immune system is extremely vulnerable. Horsetail has antibacterial properties that keep dangerous pathogens out of your system.
Horsetail can improve your brain. The herb helps eliminate free radicals to improve your neural pathways. Studies have shown higher cognitive functions in people who take horsetail, and its cognitive benefits can be used as Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention.
Horsetail promotes kidney health. The kidneys work hard to eliminate toxins and regulate urine; horsetail can help by eliminating uric acid, which is what causes kidney stones. There is a high correlation between taking horsetail and lower levels of uric acid.
Horsetail for Hair
Horsetail herb is also popular as a hair growth supplement to combat hair loss and balding. The vitamins and minerals found in the herb will help strengthen hair follicles, which will promote growth. After all, hair grows best in healthy conditions. There is evidence that horsetail can help prevent hair loss and strengthen the follicles enough to reverse it in some cases.
To use horsetail for hair growth, mix 1 cup of water with ½ cup of horsetail herb and steep for an hour. Strain it and then rub it through your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. Because this is a topical application of horsetail, it can be used regularly without breaks.
Another popular way to use horsetail for hair growth is horsetail extract, a bottled oil that comes from Equisetum (a plant in the horsetail family). Because the oil comes directly from the plant, it’s completely natural and organic. Horsetail extract can be taken orally or it can be rubbed on your hair and skin. If you drink the oil with water, the typical dosage is 300mg of horsetail.
How to Make Horsetail Tea
Horsetail tea is extremely easy to make and can benefit your immune system, cognitive functions, bone strength, and kidney health. Here are some simple instructions to make horsetail tea and enjoy the horsetail benefits:
For the herb, you will want the stalks (typically dried) that grow above ground. The dried stalks are particularly plentiful during the summer.
Place the horsetail herb in a teapot or anywhere you can steep a tea. Use the ratio of 3 teaspoons per cup of water to determine how much herb you need.
Bring water to boil in a tea kettle or pot and add the horsetail herb.
Let it steep for around 5 to 10 minutes before straining.
Enjoy your horsetail tea! If you want to sweeten it, try some honey. Dandelions and nettle are great to mix in as well, if you’re looking to add more herbs.
What to Know Before Using Horsetail Herb
Horsetail is an extremely powerful herb that can benefit your health and hair in many ways, but here is some important information to keep in mind before using the herb.
Don’t take horsetail when pregnant or breastfeeding. There is potential for an unsafe interaction, so only use horsetail on your hair or skin.
Horsetail contains thiaminase, which is a substance that breaks down the vitamin thiamine. People who are thiamine deficient should avoid taking the herb because it could make the deficiency worse.
Some people are allergic to horsetail. Often people who are allergic to carrots are also allergic to horsetail. So if you have a carrot allergy, check with your doctor before using horsetail.
Horsetail contains a small amount of nicotine. Those with nicotine allergies should avoid horsetail.
Most people can use horsetail herb with no problems. If you’re considering adding this herb to your health and beauty routine, talk to your doctor.
The Bottom Line for Horsetail Herb
You can use horsetail as an extract or tea to treat health conditions like arthritis, or you can use it to prevent hair loss. For a plant that is considered a weed, horsetail herb can be used for so many health and hair benefits, and it’s all natural.