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A member of the Equisetaceae family, horsetail plant has been used for its medicinal value since the prehistoric times. The herb is used in various cultures due to its healing properties. Horsetail has been used as a folk remedy for bladder and kidney troubles, as well as ulcers and tuberculosis. In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb is widely employed as a natural remedy for cold and fever  .
The healing and calming properties of the horsetail herb are extremely good for hair growth, making it a prime component in hair care. One of the oldest medicinal herbs, horsetail is equally beneficial for your health, skin and hair  . The plant as a whole has various benefits. Ancient Romans used the aerial part of the plant not only as a medicine but also as a food item and animal food. It is even used as a salad ingredient in some parts of Europe  .
The chemical composition of the herb can vary depending on its geographical origin, extraction process, season and the processing method and storage. The horsetail herb has various active ingredients. Phenolic compounds such as apigenin, luteolin, flavan-3-ol, kaempferol, isoquercitrin, quercetin, proanthocyanidins, tannins, caffeic acid. It also has silicon, silica, kynurenic acid, styrylpyrones, water-soluble vitamins, phytosterols, choline, chlorophyll, phytosterols, thymol, and trace minerals  .
Read on to know more about the lesser known benefits offered by the ancient wonder plant.
Nutritional Value Of Horsetail
100 grams of the herb contains 38 calories of energy. It has 0.16 grams of carbohydrates, 0.07 grams protein, 0.38 micrograms of vitamin K, 0.04 milligrams niacin, 0.01 milligrams vitamin B6, 0.02 milligrams pantothenic acid, 0.66 milligrams vitamin C, 0.16 grams dietary fibre, 0.12 milligrams sodium, 0.66 milligrams magnesium, 0.04 milligrams iron, and 0.02 milligrams zinc.
The other nutrients present in the horsetail herb are 
- 1.76 micrograms vitamin A
- 2.2 micrograms folate
- 12.8 milligrams potassium
- 1 milligram calcium
- 1.88 milligrams phosphorus
Benefits Of Horsetail
1. Boosts immunity
The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of the herb aids in fighting off the foreign pathogens and substances that can affect your body and immune system. Along with that, the antiviral properties of horsetail helps improve your immune system, thereby protecting your body from being affected by any illness and keeping the infections far away  .
2. Reduces inflammation
The horsetail herb has excellent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps in reducing any inflammation or swelling in your body caused due to an injury, gout, arthritis etc. The analgesic compounds in the herb aids in reducing the pain as well as the inflammation. It helps in curing any allergies or rashes as well  .
3. Elevates cognition
Being antioxidant in nature, the herbal plant has been asserted to improve one's cognitive abilities. The studies indicated that as the herb has the ability to get rid of the free radicals present in your body, it can increase the neural pathway efficiency - thereby improving the cognitive response and skills  . Therefore, it can be pointed out that not only can the herb improve one's cognitive skills but can also help protect your body from cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
4. Boosts bone strength
The mineral silicon plays a major role in improving your bone mineral density and integrity. Silicon is essential to your body, however, is rarely found in the foods we commonly eat. Horsetail is a good source of silicon, with naturally high concentrations of the rare mineral. Incorporating the herb into a daily diet can help you from the risk of osteoporosis or bone strength degradation. It not only slows down the decline but also in some cases, can reverse the degradation  .
5. Improves kidney health
Studies have linked horsetail consumption with increased uric acid elimination. This can be directly linked to that of kidney health because uric acid causes the development of kidney stones, that can be extremely painful and cause discomfort. It hinders with the proper functioning of your kidney  . By naturally increasing the excretion of the uric acid, the herb helps in improving your kidney health.
6. Manages diabetes
Consuming horsetail is asserted to have a positive impact on balancing the insulin levels in your body. Studies have revealed that it can reduce the levels of sugar in your blood, when necessary. Horsetail supplements and tea are being used as an effective method of diabetes management   .
7. Prevents cancer
As aforementioned, the antioxidant nature of the horsetail herb helps fight against the free radicals present in your body. This property works towards preventing the onset of cancerous cells from being spread in your body  .
8. Aids in weight loss
Being a natural diuretic, the herb is considered to be beneficial if you are looking forward to losing some weight. The herb helps by eliminating the toxins present in your body, thereby improving and speeding up your metabolism  .
9. Treats respiratory issues
The expectorant properties possessed by the herb, along with its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial in treating respiratory issues. Horsetail helps the condition by clearing out the phlegm and the mucus and promoting a better functioning respiratory system. It is also beneficial in curing dry coughs.
10. Treats UTIs
Horsetail herb has been used for ages to treat a weak bladder. The herb can be used to treat urinary tract infections, as it will get rid of the infection causing bacteria by eliminating it through your urine. By improving the function of your kidney, the herb helps by reducing any inflammation or discomfort caused in the urinary tract due to the infection  .
11. Nourishes hair
The herb is not only beneficial for your health but is also good for the health of your hair  . Horsetail helps promote hair growth, cures dandruff and split ends, and works as a natural hair conditioner.
12. Improves skin quality
Horsetail herb can be used to improve the quality of your skin. The herb possesses anti-ageing properties which help in limiting the onset of wrinkles, blemishes and spot marks that appear as a sign of ageing. The silica-absorption abilities of the herb aids in forming collagen, that works wonders in protecting your skin from any damage. The herb is also used for treating acne  .
Healthy Horsetail Recipe
1. Horsetail tea
- 2-3 tsp dried and barren horsetail stems
- 2 cups of water
- Honey for taste
- Begin by boiling water in a kettle.
- Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of horsetail in a teacup.
- Once the water is boiling, pour it onto the herb and let it steep for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain your tea and sweeten it with honey.
*You can pair the tea some dried dandelion as well.
How To Store Horsetail
- As the herb has high water content, you need to dry it to store it.
- You can use a food dehydrator set to the lowest temperature setting, or
- You can bundle the horsetail up, tie the bundles, and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place with the proper amount of air circulation until it gets dried.
- Once it becomes dry, you can chop it up and store in airtight glass containers.
- Dried horsetails will stay for more than a year.
The horsetail herb should always be consumed as per the guidance of a nutritionist. However, it is necessary that you understand the possible side effects it can have on your body, in the event of excessive and uncontrolled usage  .
- Avoid using horsetail herb if you are on any medications or supplements.
- If you have vitamin B deficiency, do not consume the herb because the thiaminase enzyme can be harmful to your body.
- If you are on nicotine patches, avoid the herb.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume the herb.
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