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When we think of Horsetail, we often think of shampoos or conditioners. We rarely ever think about horsetail for medicinal purposes.

What is Horsetail?

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is an herbal remedy that dates back to ancient Roman and Greek times. It was used traditionally to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. The name Equisetum is derived from the Latin roots equus, meaning “horse,” and seta, meaning “bristle”. Horsetail quite possibly is the most abundant source of silica in the plant kingdom, so much in fact that the herb can be used for polishing metal. Aside from horsetail being high in silica, it also contains large amounts of selenium, potassium and manganese and fifteen different types of bioflavonoids.

What minerals are in Horsetail?

Silica, also known as silicon, is essential in bone and tooth formation and also helps nourish the skin and maintain healthy hair follicles.  Interestingly, this is achieved in much the same way the horsetail plant uses silica plates for structurally stiffening its stems as it does not have woody reinforcement like other plants. Silica is currently being studied for its involvement in collagen synthesis, bone formation and the increased metabolism of certain nutrients like copper, calcium, magnesium as well as its role in detoxifying toxic aluminum from the body. Experts have suggested that silica is a vital component for bone and cartilage formation, enough so that it may be that incorporation large amounts of silica into your diet may prevent osteoporosis.

Selenium is essential for your body to process iodine efficiently, in turn it also helps regulate and promote hair growth.

Potassium, also a mineral in horsetail,  is found to be beneficial for relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system.

Bioflavonoids exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties, because they protect against oxidative and free radical damage caused by pollution and the body’s normal metabolic processes.

12 Surprising Health Benefits of Horsetail

  1. Brittle Nails:

Horsetail contains high amounts of silica, a vital mineral for strong and healthy nails. Plus, this herb can help get rid of white spots in your nails.

How to use:

  • Add two teaspoons of dried horsetail herb to a cup of hot water.
  • Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
  • Let it cool down and then soak your nails in it for about 20 minutes.
  • Pat dry your nails and then rub some olive oil on them.
  • Leave it on overnight, wearing gloves for best results.
  • Repeat this remedy three or four times a week.

2. Bronchitis:

Horsetail tea is known to be beneficial for dry cough , bronchitis, nasal congestion, and fever associated with cold and flu because of it’s bioflavonoid content. As I stated before, bioflavonoids have anti- inflammatory properties and inflammation is one of the key symptoms of respiratory illness.  Also inhaling vapours from boiling Horsetail tea may help relieve nasal congestion.

How to use:

  • Boil water
  • Add two teaspoons of horsetail into an infuser*
  • Let steep for 5 minutes
  • Drink when it reaches the temperature of you choosing
  • Repeat this treatment until congestion subsides

3. Diabetes:

A study found that patients diagnosed with type II Diabetes who were administered one single oral dose of Horsetail extract had significant lower blood glucose levels within 90-120 minutes.

How to use:

  • One Horsetail extract capsule before every meal (30 mins or so)
  • Maximum of two capsules a day
  • Take with 8oz of water

4. Edema (fluid retention):

Because horsetail works as a diuretic and is rich in vitamins and minerals, it is believed that Horsetail may also help re-mineralize and replace the mineral stores of the body exhausted by increased urination due to its diuretic activity. The German Commission E have approved Horsetail use as a diuretic for edema. The National Institutes of Health also rate horsetail as a grade B for its use as a diuretic. The B grade stands for good scientific evidence for Horsetail’s use.

How to use:

  • Steep 2 teaspoons in tea (use infuser) and drink daily for two months
  • Take 1 extract capsule a day for two months

5. Excessive Bleeding:

Horsetail may help minimize or stop the internal or external bleeding. The anti-inflammatory agents in Horsetail may relieve the inflammation and discomfort caused by inflamed wounds, injuries and menstrual cramps.

How to use:

  • Drink one cup of Horsetail tea 2 to 3 times daily.


  • Dried herbs can be placed directly on the would and wrapped in a bandage for 10 minutes. This method has not been tested or studied but has been used by ancient civilizations for small wounds and punctures.

6. Urinary Infections & Symptoms:

Horsetail has been proven to help relieve the persistent urge to urinate with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

How to use:

  • Take one capsule of Horsetail extract two to three times daily.
  • Take a bath with Horsetail tea for at least 15 minutes two to three times a week may be helpful for UTI and Bladder weakness.
  • Steam bath, steep 10 teaspoons of dried Horsetail into one quart of boiling water for 10-15 minutes and add the strained tea into the bath water.

7. Gingivitis:

Horsetail works as an anti-inflammatory and gingivitis is simply inflamed gums. Horsetail can also work at reducing mouth sours and bleeding gums.

How to use:

(Horsetail mouthwash)

  • Boil one teaspoon of Horsetail herb, with an infuser, in one cup of water for 7-10 minutes


  • Add 3-4 drops of Horsetail extract into one cup of lukewarm water.
  • Simply gargle and swish this liquid three to four times daily until relieved.

8. Osteoporosis:

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a study done in Italy found that women with osteoporosis who took 270 mg of Horsetail extract for one year had improved bone density. Because horsetail is high in silica which is known to improve and even repair bone density, it only makes sense that horsetail aids in the treatment of osteoporosis along with calcium.

How to use:

  • Two capsules of horsetail extract daily
  • Stop taking Horsetail for one week after every one month of its regular use.

9. Memory Loss:

Research suggest that the lack of Silica in the body may cause memory loss. Horsetail contains silica which may improve bad memory by strengthening the connective tissues of brain, nerve cells and spinal cord. It also contains nicotine which helps stimulate the brain and nervous system.

How to use:

  • Take one or two capsules of Horsetail extract daily for two months may help minimize the symptoms.

10. Kidney Stones:

It is believed that drinking Horsetail tea two to three time daily may increase the urine production and help flush out kidney and gall bladder stones (Cholelithiasis) as well as may help relieve the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Because horsetail works as a diuretic its aids in cleaning out the kidneys and urinary tract.

How to use:

  • Drink horsetail tea 2-3 times daily until symptoms subside or stone is passed (follow brewing instructions for bronchitis).

11. Hemorrhoids:

The anti-inflammatory and hemostatic activity of Horsetail may alleviate the pain and help decrease or stop the bleeding caused by hemorrhoids.

How to use:

  • Drink one cup of horsetail tea before every meal until hemorrhoid symptoms subside (follow brewing instructions for bronchitis).

12. Hair Growth:

Research shows that silica in Horsetail may help promote hair growth and strength and may also be beneficial for hair loss, dandruff, and split ends.

How to use:

  • Add 3-4 drops of Horsetail extract or tincture mixed in 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to stimulate growth and decrease dandruff.
  • Massage the Horsetail oil mix into the scalp for at least 10 minutes 3-4 times weekly.


  • Add 3-4 drops of Horsetail oil into your regular shampoo and wash as normal.
  • After shampooing, pour half a cup of cold Horsetail tea into the hair and wash it out after 4-5 minutes as if you were conditioning.


  • Take Horsetail extract capsule or drinking one cup of Horsetail tea for two months.

As you can see, Horsetail is certainly a wonder herb and should not be overlooked. Adding this herb into your daily routine won’t just improve your internal health but also you hair, skin and nails. Who doesn’t want that right? Whether you choose to drink it, take the capsule form or use it topically, I know you will be amazed at what this awkwardly named herb can do for you! Next time your at your local Health food store, remember these 12 surprising uses for horsetail and give it a try. You have nothing to lose.

I use and recommend getting organic shavegrass/horsetail from Starwest Botanicals here.

Source: Home Remedies, SuperFoodsforHealth, Image: