The impressive benefits of horsetail include its ability to prevent certain types of cancer, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, increase cognitive function, relieve respiratory issues, soothe the skin, protect bones, promote oral health, detoxify the body, treat diabetes, and promote hair care.
What is Horsetail?
It’s not often that you come across a living fossil, but in effect, that is precisely what horsetail is. This is, of course, the common name of Equisetum, which is the last remaining species of the genus of that name. The remaining members of that genus have gone extinct, so this is truly a blast from the past, and has some unique characteristics to go with that great backstory! They are defined by a singular vascular shoot that forms the main stem and the leaves are largely non-photosynthetic. Furthermore, they reproduce via spores, not seeds – a very unusual quality for a plant. Historical records include mentions of horsetail being used for myriad health issues dating back to Greek and Roman times.
Like some other rare and valuable plants on our planet, horsetail is able to absorb and store valuable and rare minerals that our bodies require. This means that when horsetail is consumed, those minerals and unique organic compounds are passed on to us, resulting in a wide variety of health benefits. Some of the active ingredients that make horsetail potent include antioxidant compounds, silica, and other phytochemicals that can have dramatic effects on the body. You can consume horsetail as a supplement, in capsule form, or it can be brewed directly into a tea, but this is a powerful compound and therefore, should only be used moderately. Now, let’s take a closer look at the miraculous, ancient health benefits of horsetail.
Health Benefits of Horsetail
Horsetail has many amazing health benefits. Let us discuss them in detail below.
One of the most exciting areas of research concerning horsetail is related to cancer, as the antioxidants found in horsetail extract show significant effects against free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular respiration that can cause inflammation, pain, wearing out of the organs, and degenerative diseases. The presence of antioxidants also prevents free radicals from causing healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones. This research is in its early stages, but the results thus far are promising.
Some of the other properties of horsetail include antibacterial and antiseptic, meaning that the extract can protect against the invasion of foreign pathogens and substances that can compromise our immune system. This is particularly effective when you have been wounded or are recovering from an illness, as infections can be much more severe when they attack an already weakened immune system.
If you regularly experience painful swelling and inflammation in parts of your body, whether due to injury, arthritis, gout, or any other condition, adding horsetail tea or supplements to your health regimen can be of great use. The analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds found in horsetail can quickly alleviate those symptoms and get you back on your feet.
Silicon is one of the rarest minerals needed by our body and there are very few accessible sources of it in our diet, which is why you so often find it in supplement form. However, horsetail has naturally high concentrations of silicon, which is a key element in protecting bone mineral density and integrity as we age. If you are at high risk of osteoporosis or already suffer from bone degradation, then adding horsetail to your diet is an easy solution to slow the decline, and even reverse it in some cases!
The idea of our mind ‘starting to go’ can be a frightening thought, so it is important to protect your powers of cognition as well as possible. Horsetail’s antioxidant effects have been linked to higher cognitive abilities in laboratory studies, probably owing to the increase in neural pathway efficiency when free radicals are eliminated from the system. This means that horsetail is not only a brain-boosting herb, but it may protect you from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as we age.
If you suffer from respiratory issues, such as congestion or frequent colds, drinking horsetail tea can be a wonderful solution. It acts as an expectorant, clearing out mucus and phlegm where bacteria can lodge and grow, while also helping to strengthen the immune system and relieve inflammation, resulting in respiratory relief.
Horsetail extract is commonly found in various creams and organic beauty products, as the unique and complex mixture of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, silica, and other compounds, which are powerful skin care agents. If you want to reduce the redness of boils or acne, eliminate eczema or psoriasis, or prevent premature aging, horsetail extract contains all of the necessary components to do that.
Research has connected the use of horsetail supplements and tea to more balanced insulin levels in the body, namely in the rapid lowering of blood sugar when necessary. While this is an effective method of diabetes management, it should only be used for a short time, or when absolutely necessary. It can have serious long-term impacts if consumed for longer than two months in succession.
Regulating urination and the elimination of toxins is crucial to overall health, and horsetail extract can help to achieve that. Connections have been made between increased uric acid elimination and horsetail consumption. Uric acid is what creates painful kidney stones, which can cause the kidneys to work inefficiently. Therefore, by increasing the natural excretion of this acid, there is no build-up and your kidney health is protected.
The rich mixture of minerals and organic compounds in horsetail have also made it a popular element in hair care products, namely to increase the strength of the hair and improve its health. You can reduce hair loss, strengthen hair follicles, and even boost the luster and shine of your hair by using horsetail extracts in your hair care products.
Word of Caution
There are some negative side effects to horsetail, but they generally only manifest after taking the herb for more than two months straight. The effects on your body can be very powerful and beneficial, as we have seen above, but care must be taken. If you are pregnant or lactating, don’t consume this herb, and for everyone else, speak to a trained medical professional or your physician before adding this high-impact herb to your health regimen.