Who doesn’t want hair as thick, shiny and luscious as a horsetail? No, we aren’t talking about some weird Frankenstein hair transplant where you literally get the hair from a horse. However, we can say that horsetail may take you one step closer to the flowing, glorious hair of your dreams.
Are you curious? We thought you might be.
Before you pack up and head to your nearest stable, let us stop you right there. Horsetail is a plant that has been used as a herbal remedy for centuries, dating as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman empires to treat wounds.
Over time, it has been utilized for other purposes, including folk remedies for arthritis, hepatitis, jaundice, tuberculosis and more.
However, in more modern times, horsetail is primarily utilized for its medicinal properties to improve hair, skin, and bone health.
Herbs and plant-based ingredients are an ever-growing trend in the world of beauty, especially for hair and skin, with components such as tea tree oil, avocado oil and rice water serving as natural alternatives to more complex chemical-based treatments.
Today, we’re focusing on the mystical herb horsetail, its benefits, and how to use it to achieve stunning hair.
Without further ado, we’re off to the races!
What is Horsetail?
Horsetail goes by many names, including field horsetail, giant horsetail, bottle brush, common horsetail and its formal name horsetail Equisetum arvense. If you want to get really technical, it belongs to the plant genus Equisetaceae.
Horsetail is an herb that grows wildly in Northern Europe and North America and other places with the appropriate moisture and temperate climate.
To some gardeners, horsetail is considered a pesky weed that spreads quickly and swiftly dominates a garden. Its appearance resembles a fern, with pointy stems and scaly leaves. However, scientists celebrate this plant for its ability to flourish under a wide range of conditions.
That’s because horsetail requires minimal nutrients to survive and thrive. She’s a self-sufficient sister who’s doing it for herself!
Yes, that was a Eurythmics reference. Yes, we know we’re old. No, we’re not sorry.
That said, there are worse things to invade your garden. At least horsetail pays its rent (in a matter of speaking) and makes itself useful in other ways.
In recent years, however, its reputation has grown in the beauty realm as an excellent and natural method of enhancing hair care and combatting hair loss, potentially promoting hair growth.
Why is Horsetail Used for Hair?
For the sake of full transparency, we should start this by saying that the evidence surrounding horsetail’s efficacy as a haircare treatment is primarily anecdotal.
In other words, more scientific research is necessary to prove how effective it is. However, the testimonials and limited evidence we do have are quite promising.
The primary claims that indicate horsetail may help promote healthier hair are:
It Contains Silicon
Silica, also known as silicon dioxide, is a natural mineral created by combining silicon and oxygen. It is found naturally occurring in many plants, including horsetail.
While there is no scientific evidence that silica can rectify the effects of hair loss, it has been found to help strengthen hair by delivering essential nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. So, while it may not reverse hair loss, it can prevent breakage, which will lead to stronger, healthier hair.
Another study in 2015 indicated that individuals that took oral supplements, including horsetail for its natural silica, experienced improved hair strength and hair growth.
Additionally, a 2016 study found that taking vitamins and supplements is one of the most effective ways for your body to retain silica, with these supplements commonly coming from horsetail.
It Impacts Collagen Production
Since horsetail contains silica, many advocates that support using it for hair care suggest that its impact on collagen and calcium can also prove beneficial for hair on top of its ability to promote bone health.
Some research also suggests that collagen can support and increase hair-building proteins. In a 2012 study of women experiencing hair thinning, taking oral collagen supplements improved hair volume, thickness and scalp coverage in just 90 days.
In 180 days, hair shine, skin smoothness and skin moisture retention also improved.
It Possesses Beneficial Minerals
On top of the silica contained in horsetail, it also possesses a bountiful amount of other beneficial minerals, including selenium, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants.
According to a 2010 study, horsetail Equisetum arvense could be a source of natural antioxidants and potential phytochemicals.
The mineral selenium helps the body process iodine, which regulates hair growth. On the other hand, potassium and magnesium are important for strong, healthy and shiny hair and can help prevent thinning hair while also reducing dullness.
Is it Safe?
Like with any supplements or herbal treatments you plan on trying, it’s best to consult your doctor. A professional will provide appropriate insight into how it may affect any current treatment plants or medications.
It is important to note that horsetail, like most other herbal supplements, is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
While additional research is necessary to clarify and solidify the efficacy of horsetail for stopping hair loss and improving hair growth, it has been seen to improve circulation and stimulate hair follicles, helping facilitate hair growth.
Most of the evidence surrounding horsetail’s effectiveness on hair health and appearance is anecdotal, as we previously mentioned.
How to Use It
There are multiple methods to reap the benefits of horsetail for your hair. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Many shampoos and conditioners can be found containing horsetail extract for topical application. Alternatively, you could opt for a more direct and efficient method of taking horsetail in oral pill, supplement or tincture form.
One of the most popular ways that people enjoy the herb is by brewing it in tea. In this instance, you can purchase it in pre-packaged bags or use a handful of dried horsetail per 2-3 cups of water. The tea should steep for at least fifteen minutes.
If you have the additional time for some self-care, you can also make a horsetail hair rinse. Similar to brewing the tea, you add 2-4 teaspoons of dried horsetail into a cup of hot water, let it steep for 15-20 minutes, strain and cool it.
From there, you rinse it through your hair and live it on for 15-20 minutes.
Horsetail – For Hair as Healthy as a Horse
Herbal and plant-based ingredients are taking the beauty world by storm.
Instead of blindly trusting the ingredients in products, consumers are wanting to become more aware of what it is they are putting on or in their bodies, and for good reason!
The anecdotal evidence surrounding the benefits of horsetail Equisetum arvense is substantial. Many sing its praises as an effective and natural method for maintaining hair health and potentially facilitating further hair growth.
While further research is necessary to determine how effective it is, the current evidence promises many benefits.
But keep in mind, horsetail is no one-trick pony! Outside of its hair benefits, it is also a fantastic ingredient that has been used for generations to treat various conditions, including anti-inflammation and for wound healing.
If you’re thinking of trying out horsetail for yourself, consult your doctor to see if it may interfere with any existing treatments or medications. Like many herbal supplements, it is not regulated or approved by the FDA.
With so many different ways to reap the benefits of horsetail, which will you try first? Beautiful, healthy hair awaits!