I wrote a few weeks ago about horsetail, an invasive ‘weed’ that is all over my garden, but which is also a beautiful plant ally. I described using horsetail in tea and baths in my previous article, as well as some of its practical uses, but today I have been making horsetail tincture.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) has been used in medicine for thousands of years, both in Europe and in the Americas for wound healing and as a diuretic and kidney tonic.
The interesting thing about horsetail though is the amount of silica it contains -which is also the reason weed-killers don’t affect it, for those of you who have tried – which the body uses to build and maintain healthy collagen, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, muscle, skin and tendons. It also contains smaller amounts of bioavailable calcium and other minerals, such as potassium, manganese, sulphur and magnesium. Together these make it a lovely supportive herb which helps rebuild connective tissues and stimulates the production of bone cells, making it helpful for treating broken bones, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It stimulates hair growth, boosts collagen and skin elasticity, and has even been shown to improve hair’s shine! Horsetail also has some pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, which make it doubly useful in the treatment of arthritis.
I like to have some horsetail tincture in my arsenal, and using the folk method our ancestors would have used, it is easy to make.
HOW TO MAKE HORSETAIL TINCTURE
- Pick your summer horsetail stems when they are upright and dry, on a sunny day.
- I put them in a blender and cover them with vodka (you can also use brandy) and whizz them up.
- Pour into a clean glass jar, label and place somewhere cool and dark for 4-5 weeks, shaking daily.
- Strain into clean dropper bottles. Label.
- Store in a cool dark place for 2-4 years.
HOW TO USE YOUR HORSETAIL TINCTURE
For arthritis take 30 drops of Horsetail tincture, three times daily for no longer than a month.
You can also use your tincture to promote hair growth and shine. Simply massage a little onto the scalp, or add 3-4 drops of horsetail tincture to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and massage into the scalp and hair. This will keep for up to a year.
Do not take for longer than a month. As with any herb, do not use if you are pregnant pregnant or breastfeeding. Horsetail should not be taken by anyone under 18; it may contain nicotine, which could potentially cause side effects in children. Do not use if you are an alcoholic or have a thiamin deficiency. Horsetail can lower blood sugar, so treat with caution if you are on diabetic medication. Horsetail increases urination, so anyone with kidney problems or on diuretics or laxatives should consult a healthcare professional before using. Do not take if you are on antiretroviral drugs.
© Anna Franklin 2020