Horsetail, Equisetum arvense

Horsetail is a hardy, spore-bearing, plant that bestrides the world, except Australia, and is virtually unchanged since forming whole forests in Palaeozoic times. High in silicia, its abrasive properties were used from medieval times as flails, scouring pads and metal cleaners. Some horsetails have minute deposits of gold which miners use as visual clues for locating potential sites. It is very weedy, and can take over an area quickly. It like dry and very damp soils. It often grows around creeks, ponds, and fountains.

Healing Uses:

Horsetail is the sole known source of organic soluable silica available to humans. Bitter-sweet E. hyemale is used in Chinese medicine for eye inflammations, and in Ayurvedic medicine for urinary tract complaints, fractures and venereal disease. Restricted to short-term use, field horsetail is used internally for prostrate problems, usually in conjunction with Hydrangea arborescens or other demulcent herbs, or for kidney ailments when boiled in wine.

Home Uses:

The most practical usage of E. arvense is for brittle or splitting nails, not uncommon in earth delving gardeners. Horsetail is useful to have on hand to staunch external wounds and nosebleeds, as it is an excellent clotting agent.

Gardener’s Nail Treatment recipe:

Use two adequately sized glass bowls to accommodate finger nails and toe nails. Keep in reserve 1 tbsp. sweet almond oil. Put 2 tbsp chopped horsetail herb into a stainless steel pan and pour over 1 cup boiled water. Cover and infuse for about 30 minutes. Strain off horsetail plant material and pour into finger and toe bowls. Soak nails in liquid for 10-15 minutes. Remove, dry and massage almond oil into finger and toe nails. Store infusion in tightly closed glass container.

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