Common Horsetail (equisetum arvense)

Hello, readers, and happy Solstice to you! I was so overworked this last two months that I've only just realised that, holy crap, it's today! Where did the time go? I've got rituals to do! Damn, commissions are so time consuming. I've also only just had the chance to take care of my garden, or what we shall call my garden for the sake of simplicity. Imagine my surprise when I saw it dominated by the common horsetail. (Last year my principal weed was tetterwort, so I guess this year they've decided to switch.)

Common horsetail, equisetum arvense, is quite a handy little herb, and a hardy one, at that. Botanically quite interesting, in that the horsetails are now the only surviving plants of the equisetaceae family, which used to be far more numerous in the past - in fact, they dominated the Paleozoic-era underbrush. Equisetaceae are also tracheophytes (or vascular plants), which means they propagate through spores and not seeds.
So horsetail is a survivor as well as a non-conformist. It's also a very useful medicinal and cosmetic plant, which was why I harvested the "weeds" from my garden carefully for processing.
  • Culinary uses
There are none: common horsetail tastes "grassy" and does not really contribute much to cooking. In fact, most types of horsetail, apart from our common or field horsetail, are toxic, especially to animals. Despite the name, it's not horse-friendly at all, and fatal poisoning of horses, especially foals, have happened after they've consumed too much horsetail.
  • Medicinal uses
Horsetail is rich in silicon, potassium and iron, and can be used to supply these elements to the system (usually in form of infusion). It helps in urinary tract infections and inflammations, and can prevent the forming of kidney stones. Patients using horsetail internally over a prolonged period must remember to supply more B1 vitamin in their diet, because horsetail can lower its concentration in the body.
Common horsetail sees most use as a cosmetic plant: extracts are sold as supplements for skin, hair and nails, and it is often added to such cosmetics as shampoos and hair conditioners. These can be made at home as well: fresh herb can be used in alcoholic tinctures or oil infusions or in tea-form to rinse and condition hair or add to bathwater. An extract of horsetail in apple vinegar is an easy homemade hair treatment as well.
  • Magic uses
I've never come across any magic uses for the common horsetail, and I'd be willing to learn about them.

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