Horsetail is one of the oldest medicinal herbs that even precedes dinosaurs on earth. People used it to heal ulcers, stop bleeding, remedy kidney problems, and fight infections back in ancient Greek and Roman times. As a source of silica, horsetail is also claimed to strengthen bones, hair, and nails.
The aerial parts of the plant are used for their health benefits. Ancient Romans used it as food, medicine, and animal feed. In fact, people eat it as a salad in some parts of Europe.
The perennial plant, sometimes considered a weed, spreads quickly and can rapidly invade a garden, or other moist habits. The fern-like horsetail plant, with hollow, pointed stems and scaly leaves, grows to about 12 inches tall. Only the green fern-like part of the plant is used for medicinal purposes; the root is not used.
Historically prepared as a juice, tea, or tincture for treating many diseases. It’s best known in folk medicine for treating swelling, weight loss, diabetes, bladder disease, kidney disease, arthritis, tuberculosis, and other infections.
It is being studied for bone, oral, hair, and nail health. This is because horsetail is actually the most abundant source of silica in the plant world.
Other potential benefits
Anti-inflammatory activity. Test-tube studies show that horsetail extract may inhibit lymphocytes, the main type of defense cells involved in inflammatory immune diseases.
Antimicrobial activity. Horsetail essential oil seems to have potent activity against bacteria and fungi, including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Aspergillus niger, and Candida albicans.
Antioxidant activity. Research shows that horsetail is rich in phenolic compounds, a group of powerful antioxidants that inhibit oxidative damage to cellular membranes.
Antidiabetic effect. Animal and test-tube studies suggest that horsetail extract may help lower blood sugar levels and regenerate damaged pancreatic tissue.
To sum up, this wonderful plant has multiple potential health benefits, including improved bone, skin, hair, and nail health.