Horsetail is a plant that is used by many to make natural medicine. It was historically prepared as a juice, tea, or tincture for treating many diseases. Considered as one of the oldest medicinal herbs, it is rich in silica that is responsible for its numerous benefits. It also contains chemicals that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and work like “water pills” (diuretics) and increase urine output.
Below are some of the known health benefits of horsetail.
Hair & Skin, and Nail Health
Since horsetail has significant amounts of silica, it has been traditionally used to hair, skin, and nail health.
Silica is believed to be key to the optimal synthesis of collagen, a building block that is essential to the strength and elasticity of the skin as well as in the health of our nails and hair.
A 2012 study published by the “Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology” showed that silica derived from Horsetail significantly increased hair growth after 90 and 180 days. Moreover, a 2016 study found that hair with high amounts of silica was less likely to fall out and was also more lustrous than hair with lower levels of silica.
Meanwhile, the results of a study published in the Journal of Plastic Dermatology revealed that the topical use of horsetail on nails reduced splitting and fragility of nails as well as reduced longitudinal grooves.
Its wound healing effects are mainly attributed to its richness in silica. These silicates and silicic acid work by promoting the migration of leukocytes and neutrophils (types of white blood cells that fight off infection) to the site of the wound and start the inflammatory phase of the healing process.
In a study, results showed that horsetail ointment (3%) improved wound healing on
healthy women who had surgery to induce childbirth. After using horsetail ointment on the wound for 10 days, half of the study participants experienced reduced pain and quick wound healing with no side effects. Silica helps to seal the wound, while flavonoids prevent infections.
Has Diuretic Properties
Traditionally, horsetail has been used as a diuretic ((a substance that increases the amount of urine produced by the body) and to treat bladder problems.
A 2014 study found that horsetail works as well as a conventional diuretic medicine (hydrochlorothiazide) without side effects such as significant changes to liver or kidney function or electrolyte balance.
Helps Strengthen Our Bones And Tendons
Horsetail has high mineral content that possesses “remineralizing” effects that is beneficial in nourishing and strengthening our bones. Silica, one of its important components, is important for bone and teeth health among other things.
Horsetail can help prevent osteoporosis, cavities, and improve healing and may have positive effects on the flexibility of the tendons and the vessel walls.
Diuretics are often used to flush excessive fluids from our body which can be helpful for individuals suffering from high blood pressure and swelling (edema).
Results of a study showed that horsetail extract achieved an effect similar to the standard diuretic in 36 healthy male volunteers, without disrupting the electrolyte balance.