What is Horsetail and What Are the Benefits?
What is Horsetail?
Horsetail is a plant with benefits for your hair, skin, and health.
It is commonly known as 'horsetail herb', 'horsetail bamboo', 'equisetum arvense', or 'puzzlegrass'. Horsetail is a medicinal plant that has been used by ancient herbalists for centuries. It got its name due to the branched part of the plant resembling the tail of a mane.
The plant is often used in the form of horsetail tea and horsetail supplements, as well as horsetail creams.
Horsetail is known for having the highest source of silica (silicon), which is an essential nutrient known for strengthening hair, nails, and bones. Silica is present in plants, animals, and humans. It is the second most abundant element on earth and the third most abundant trace element in the human body.
Aside from its silica properties, horsetail also contains flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory compounds and various health and anti-aging benefits.
Similarly to collagen, our body’s level of silica decreases with age and actually plays a part in the biosynthesis of collagen production. This decline in silica leads to signs of aging such as brittle hair and nails, aged skin, and a weaker immune system.
That said, studies have found that silica is effective in improving skin, hair, nails, bones, and the immune system.
What Are the Benefits of Horsetail?
1. Improves Skin Elasticity & Soothes Skin
Horsetail is rich in silica, a nutrient known to aid with collagen formation. Horsetail has anti-aging benefits and has been proven to increase skin elasticity, tighten the skin, and improve skin texture.
Studies have also found that horsetail soothes skin and helps with skin conditions such as rashes, eczema, or acne due to its anti-inflammatory compounds. With its anti-aging benefits and role in collagen production, horsetail is a great way to improve skin health and tighten the skin for a more youthful appearance.
2. Improves Hair Health
Horsetail is widely known for its hair benefits and has been found to be effective in improving overall hair health.
Studies show that horsetail helps strengthen hair strands, reduce the brittleness of hair, maintain hair tone, improve hair texture, and can make hair appear shinier due to its naturally occurring silica compounds. Studies indicate that higher silica content in hair results in a lower rate of hair loss and an increase in brightness of hair.
In another clinical study, it found that those who took a silica supplement for 9 months showed more resistance to hair strand breakage compared to those who took a placebo.
3. Strengthens Brittle Nails
As mentioned, our bodies’ silica levels decrease with age, which can lead to having brittle nails. Horsetail has been found to improve nail brittleness due to its silica properties. According to research, silica improves nail fragility and overall nail health.
4. Supports Immune Health
Aside from beauty benefits, horsetail has been widely used in traditional medicine for its health benefits. Studies have found that it holds anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce oxidative stress, which is damage caused to our cells from having an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals (compounds created in the body as a result of stress, pollution, poor diet, smoking, or alcohol).
Research explains that oxidative stress can take a toll on health, leading to sickness, inflammation throughout the body, and may speed up the aging process. That said, horsetail can support immune health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body.
5. Supports Bone Health
Bones play many roles in the body and provides structure to our bodies and allows us to move. As we get older, our bone mass and bone health decline.
Horsetail is rich in silica, a nutrient known to support bone health. Science shows that horsetail helps regenerate bone tissue and improves overall bone health. Research has shown that silica can increase bone mass density and may help in reducing bone-related injuries.
Side Effects of Horsetail Supplements
While horsetail is deemed safe to consume, we always advise consulting with your doctor before use if you have a medical condition or are taking medication. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not recommended to take horsetail due to the lack of research about the safety of taking horsetail while pregnant.
Horsetail may cause allergies, especially for those who are allergic to carrots or nicotine. Horsetail may lower blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes. Horsetail might aggravate thiamine deficiencies.
It is always best to consult your doctor prior to use if you take medication, have a health condition, or are pregnant or nursing.