Wild Horsetail (long green stalks in the photo) has been around since before the dinosaurs. This was found near Whites Creek, TN in mid-February. It typically grows by water and looks a lot like bamboo. It has been used for centuries to aid arthritis, bladder and kidney problems as well as other ailments. Some of its many healing properties include being an antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-hemorrhagic, an astringent, and a diuretic. Horsetail contains numerous mineral salts, particularly silica, but also potassium, manganese, and magnesium, and many trace minerals. Horsetail contains more silicon than any other herb in the plant kingdom. Collagen, necessary for skin and muscle tissue, requires silicon. Thus, horsetail aids in strengthening joints, bones and hair, as well as improving skin. Horsetail can be applied directly to the skin to help stop bleeding, and to treat wounds and burns.
In the spring, the young shoots of horsetail can be eaten much like asparagus. They can also be infused in vinegar to extract minerals. The vegetative stalks of horsetail can be dried and used to make a tea. However, due to some loss of potency when dried, it is preferable to make a tincture from the fresh herb for medicinal purposes. Horsetail tea's anti-fungal properties can also be used to fight powdery mildew and black spot on roses when applied as a spray. You can use the fresh horsetail in soups as well as in stir-fry. Horsetail is also know as tsukushi in Japan and is considered a great spring treat. Here is a great tsukushi recipe.
The only warnings that I was able to discover was that prolonged use of horsetail is not advised as it can be hard on your kidneys due to its diuretic qualities. Also, horsetail contains thiaminase, an enzyme which removes vitamin B from the body. However, this enzyme is destroyed when it is cooked.
8 oz boiling water
4 teaspoons of fresh or dried horsetail chopped fine
honey to taste (optional)
Place horsetail in mug. Pour water over and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and add honey to taste.
Note: Discuss with your doctor before you use any herbal medications.