Horsetail | What's that?
Scientific name: Equisetum arvense L.
Family: Horsetail family (Equisetopsida)
Origin: Europe and North Asia
Botany: Horsetail – often known as field horsetail or common horsetail – grows in fields, meadows, on farmland and along waysides. In spring, it grows light yellow stems of about 20 cm with a cone-like spore at the tip. In May, they then grow green shoots measuring 10–50 cm. These summer shoots resemble little conifers.
Harvest time: May to September
Parts of the plant used: Shoots
What makes this plant so special
Horsetail is one of the few plants that remains from the ice age. Back then, it grew to the size of trees and occupied huge forests alongside giant ferns and mosses. It used to primarily be used in the home for cleaning pewterware. The crystals of silica it contains acted as an abrasive.
Horsetail is thought to fortify body tissue and have a haemostatic effect. It is often used to treat kidney and bladder problems, to combat brittle hair and nails, to help with inflammation and wounds and to purify the blood. Horsetail is rarely eaten as a food, as its high silica content gives it a very woody taste. Young shoots can be drunk in juices and smoothies, however.
Horsetail is rich in the natural compound silica. Horsetail extracts are used in cosmetics to strengthen connective tissue, reduce inflammation, firm the skin, boost circulation and for their astringent (haemostatic) properties. Horsetail is also commonly used to combat greasy hair. It also smooths and regenerates the outer layer of the hair shaft. The hair becomes robust, strong and gains resilience and natural shine.