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Horsetail (Equisetum)

Would you like your tresses to be as full and lush as a horse’s tail? Look to your weeds for help. Horsetail (Equisetum) is one of those herbs that gardeners hate, and herbalists love. It can never be dug up, for its roots can extend more than 6 feet under. But from deep in the earth, this ancient plant pulls up the minerals and makes them available for us to use. Horsetail is one of the oldest plants in the world. It is over 100 million years old. Feel the plant, it’s like a scaly old dinosaur.

What you are feeling is silica plates. Silica is a very abundant mineral, and absolutely necessary for collagen formation, helping to strengthen the cartilage, tendons and ligaments of our joints, hair and nails. Now, if you do your research, you will discover that silica is difficult to extract, and well you may ask, what is the usefulness of Horsetail if this is the case. But plants are so very clever, and Nature is so very generous. Within Horsetail, silica exists in the form of silicic acid, and this form readily diffuses into water, which explains the time-honoured tradition of using this herb for strengthening hair and nails, as well as for arthritic conditions.

Studies show that the highest silica content is to be found in September, so do get picking! The best way to extract this silicic acid from the herbs is by long decoction. This means that you would collect a handful of herb, bruise it in a mortar and pestle, and then pour boiling water over, and leave for 3 hours in water, then strain. This makes an excellent hair tonic because it strengthens the hair shaft. Simply keep the horsetail water, as described above, and pour over your hair as a final rinse after washing your hair. Even after the first dose, you can feel that your hair is strengthened.