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The Benefits of Horsetail
Horsetail, also called shavegrass, is a non-flowering plant that looks like a green horse's tail. The straight, ribbed stems are often covered with whorled, radiating branches, but some species aren't. Branchless shoots, which are not as likely to be harvested for herbal remedies, are often capped with an arrowhead-shaped cone at the top that produces a prolific amount of spores. You can find horsetail as a bulk herb for making teas, as a tincture, or in capsules or tablets.
Consider taking horsetail herb internally for cystitis, prostatitis, and to strengthen and regenerate connective tissue. The herb is high in organic silica and is useful for strengthening bones, hair, and nails. Use horsetail extracts in capsule form if your nails or hair are brittle and break easily. In Europe, extracts of horsetail are used for easing inflammation and to speed healing of rheumatism and arthritis. The tincture or tea is a useful diuretic and helps cleanse the urinary tract and remove excess mucus.
Horsetail can also be used for skin and eye conditions, and is good for glandular swellings and discharges of pus. It clears fevers, releases nervous tension, and calms an overactive liver. It strengthens the heart and lungs and heals fractured bones more quickly. It can also be used for bed-wetting, gallbladder diseases, skin diseases, edema, and spitting of blood. Use it for muscle cramps and spasms. It is used for bone diseases, including osteoporosis and rickets.
Early settlers used horsetail to scour their pots and pans. Because it is ridged with silica, it is an outstanding scouring pad. Fine cabinetmakers use it for polishing wood finishes.
Externally, a fomentation can be placed on bleeding wounds, ulcers, and burns.
Warning: Excessive use of horsetail will irritate the kidneys and intestines; so only take it infrequently and in small doses for a short time. After 2-3 weeks, do not use it for a week. Then the treatment can be repeated. Continued use interferes with the absorption of thiamine (vitamin B1).
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