No, it’s not about cutting the hair off the horse’s tail and making an infusion. By the way, it would be quite unpleasant. We talk about the ponytail as a plant, known as Equisetum arvense, so as not to get into mistakes.
Although it is not an ornamental or attractive plant (in fact it is considered a weed by farmers), it has great potential given the content of phenolic compounds, secondary metabolites (flavonoids), salts, etc. Knowing how to take advantage of all these extracts in the appropriate dosage and measure, the ponytail it offers great healing potential.
Getting to know the ponytail a little
Equisetum arvense, considered as a bush because of its size, it is a plant species that belongs to the family Equisetaceae. It usually grows wild in many areas of easy access to moisture such as many areas of the Northern Hemisphere. This constant need for moisture makes it common to see it grow close to river streams, springs, lakes, etc.
Although the most specific name that today does not generate any doubt about its classification is «ponytail‘, it may also be known by other names, such as:
- Donkey tail
- Mule tail
- Water cane
However, many of these names are simple deviations from the official denomination, ponytail.
What chemical composition does it have?
The properties of horsetail have been known since ancient times. In this century it has been known exactly the compounds that it houses:
- Trace elements: organic silicon, carbons, salts with high content of potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.
- Flavonoids: a type of secondary metabolite originated by the plant with a large number of properties for humans (anticancer, antimicrobial, cholesterol reduction, antithrombotic, etc.).
- Tannins: organic substances with antioxidant potential, vasodilators, etc. It is also present in wine.
- Saponosides– a fungicidal potential that prevents sporulation and the development of certain fungi.
- Acids: ascorbic, ferulic, silic, malic, caffeic, Gallic, pectic and tannic.
Benefits and properties of horsetail
Of all the compounds contained in this plant, potassium salts and flavonoids are involved in the secretion of urine, by increasing urinary flow. This is very interesting for problems related to fluid retention, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, etc.
The silicon contained in horsetail plays a fundamental role in preserving bone density in our body. Extracts of this plant have been researched and recommended for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Also, for those people who have fragile nails, Equisetum arvense increases the density and strength of the nails.
The astringent potential of tannins, an abundant compound in this medicinal plant, is useful for treating hemorrhoids, healing mouth ulcers, reducing inflammation of irritated throats.
As a curiosity to tell you that the Aloe Vera it also has these astringent properties.
Its content in flavonoids and saponin (later we will see its fungicidal potential), prevents the development of fungi and bacteria on our skin. Of all the properties of horsetail, the antimicrobial potential can be effective in treating wounds and disinfecting them.
It has been scientifically proven that compounds rich in tannins, such as wine grapes or olive oil, reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
Of Handbook of Medicinal Herbs we know that horsetail was used to stop bleeding wounds and to clean them, to reduce nosebleeds, to combat digestive disorders, gout, etc.
The properties of horsetail also reach the eye level. Its anti-inflammatory potential permite reduce the eye strain, so it is interesting for diseases such as glaucoma.
To take advantage of this potential, one recommendation is to make eye baths with compresses wet with the extract of this plant (decoction for 10 minutes of 100 grams of dried horsetail in 1 liter of water).
Ponytail for hair
As you already know, there are myths of miracle remedies that claim to stop hair loss. However, there are only a few drugs and products that have proven their effectiveness.
Horsetail can help us reduce the loss of fine and weakened hair as long as the origin of the problem is due to a nutritional deficiency.
This is because this medicinal plant contains a good source of silicon, which is intimately linked to hair health, adding shine, thickness and elasticity.
Often, food supplements and vitamins are used to reduce hair loss, but they are only functional if it is because we really suffer from a nutritional deficiency, so this serious defect we have to solve through a improvement of our diet.
As long as the origin of the problem is due to a lack of silicon, the ponytail for hair can be effective.
As not all the mountain is oregano, you always have to take precautions when taking advantage of the potential of the essential oils of any plant. To begin with, they are part of the basis of many drugs and here, the proportion and percentage of such oils is what determines one effect (potive) or another (negative).
Problems related to the lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) because horsetail contains an enzyme that destroys it. Such negative action was found in cattle that consumed very high amounts of Equisetum arvense.
Either way, there are horsetail-based products subjected to techniques for the destruction of these enzymes or thiaminases.
Although at low levels, this plant also contains levels of nicotine, which can cause problems for children, pregnant women or liver and kidney patients.
The ponytail it should not be consumed just after drinking alcohol, having irritated gastric mucous membranes (spicy food) or while taking drugs such as aspirin or anti-inflammatories.
Dosage and daily intake of Equisetum arvense
We can find different formats of this product, the best known being the infusion based on extracts of Equisetum arvense and 1 gram pills with all their concentrated properties.
+ For infusions, you can take a maximum of 3 cups a day.
+ For tablets, the maximum indicated is 1 gram.
It is recommended not to extend the intake of horsetail more than 6 weeks. Of all the properties of horsetail, most of the benefits it produces are for particular cases (wounds, diuretic potential, strengthening nails and bones, etc.), so it is not necessary to take it for long periods of time.
Properties of Equisetum arvense as a fungicide
Apart from all the benefits and contraindications (not everything is going to be good in this life …) that we have seen in the face of medicine applied to the human being, Equisetum arvense it also has in its chemical composition elements that act by inhibiting the development of fungi.
In fact, in many stores specialized in fertilizers and phytosanitary products we will find products formulated based on horsetail extracts.
These compounds have fungicidal action against:
- Powdery mildew
Its active ingredient that acts against these diseases is a saponin that we have mentioned before known as equisethytone. In horsetail it comes at 5% concentration, more than enough to inhibit and prevent the appearance of a large number of fungi.
If we add to this compound other flavonoid additions that this plant also has such as glauteolin, equisethrin or isoquercitrosidor, nicotine, etc. the protective potential of our plants it is much larger.