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Horsetail Tea

Horsetail belongs to the genus Equisetum, from the Latin for horse and bristle. It is called horsetail because the plant used to be tied to horse and livestock tails to ward off flies. The plant is also known as "scouring rush", "shavegrass" and "bottlebrush"; its high levels of silica make it abrasive, and it has been used to scour pots and to polish wood and pewter. The plant's medicinal effects, documented in ancient Roman and Chinese texts, come primarily from its many minerals, particularly silicic acid. Silicic acid strengthens connective tissue, which means it significantly improves the flexibility and functioning of joints, blood vessels and organs. Because the plant aids in clotting, horsetail tea helps stop excessive menstrual bleeding. The tea is also a remedy for gout, rheumatism, poorly healing wounds, water retention and emphysema.

Preparing the Tea
Soak 1-2 tsp. of dried horsetail green parts in 1 cup of cold water for 10-15 min. Or, gently simmer for at least 15 min. Then strain and drink 2 cups of the tea everyday. Drink the tea for 2 weeks to strengthen bones, ligaments, tendons, nails and hair.

Therapeutic Effect : The main therapeutic component in horsetail is silicic acid, a mineral that strengthens and tightens connective tissue. This makes the tea particularly valuable for healing joint injuries, rheumatism, skin disorders and gout. Horsetail's weak diuretic chemical, equisetonin, relieves fluid retention, making it a good treatment for swelling and urinary tract infections.

To strengthen the lungs
The silicic acid in horsetail strengthens the walls of the thin air sacs in the lungs, increases resistance to invading pathogens and relieves the urge to cough. Horsetail also promotes expectoration. For these reasons, it has been traditionally used to treat such respiratory ailments as asthma and tuberculosis.

For urinary tract infections
Horsetail, with its diuretic effect, increases urine output without washing away minerals. Kidney and bladder infections respond well to horsetail tea, which can even wash away accumulated gravel and toxins in the kidneys.

Take care! : Those who should not drink horsetail tea include the following : pregnant and nursing women, young children and those who have a kidney disease.

Medicinal Uses

For rheumatism and gout
Because silicic acid is absorbed through the skin, a bath containing an infusion of horsetail tea can relieve the pain of rheumatism and gout. Steep 3 ½ oz. of horsetail green parts in 1 qt. of hot water for 1 hr.; strain into a bath

For swelling
To reduce swelling and water retention, try a compress with horsetail tea, which improves circulation and draws water from tissues. Saturate a cotton cloth with warm tea, wring the compress out and apply it to the affected area. Wind a dry cloth or plastic wrap around the compress and leave it in place for 15 min.

To reduce bleeding
Horsetail strengthens the walls of blood vessels and promotes clotting, so horsetail tea makes a good remedy for heavy menstrual flow, bleeding gums or a bloody nose. Drink 2 cups daily, or use the tea in baths and rinses until bleeding subsides.

For varicose veins
A horsetail tea compress can relieve the discomfort fo sore legs and varicose veins, since horsetail tightens blood vessels and tissue. Saturate a cotton cloth with cool tea, wring the compress out and place it on the affected area.

Healing Tea Mixtures

To treat a strong, chronic cough

1 oz. horsetail green parts
1 oz. plantain leaves
½ oz. linden flowers
¼ oz. thyme leaves
¼ oz. fennel seed

Prepare the tea - soaking or simmering all the herbs together - to ease severe cases of bronchitis and strengthen the immune system.

For general cleansing and healing

1 oz. horsetail green parts
1 oz. dandelion green parts
1 oz. licorice root

Prepare this blood purifying tea, soaking or simmering all the herbs together, to help circulatory disorders. This tea can also eliminate mild skin problems and irritations, such as rashes.

To help flush out a kidney infection

1 oz. horsetail green parts
½ oz. goldenrod green parts
½ oz. birch leaves
½ oz. lovage root
½ oz. thyme leaves

Prepare the tea, soaking or simmering all the herbs together. Drink this tea for 2 weeks to flush out normally healthy kidneys.