A potential natural hair care alternative is horsetail tea or extract. Here’s a closer look at its benefits and usage.
What is horsetail?
Horsetail or equisetum, also called snake grass and puzzlegrass, is a common plant found in mainly in North America (although various species can be found around the world).
It is considered it is a “living fossil” since its species has lived for over one hundred million years now. It is a plant that efficiently absorbs minerals, and its main reproduction method is spore formation.
Aside from hair care, it can be used for skin and nail care. Horsetail has also been used to treat ailments like kidney stones, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis due to its calcium absorption properties.
People, mainly Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest, eat young shoots raw. The plant can also be used as a green-colored dye, and to polish wooden tools.
Ancient Romans cook the plant in the same way as asparagus or use it to make tea or thickening powder.
Japanese also prepare horsetails like asparagus as well.
However, if it is eaten over a long enough period of time, some species can be poisonous to grazing animals, including horses due to thiaminase enzymes, which can cause thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency. This can be addressed by proper preparation before consumption, though.
Hair care benefits
The plant has quite a list of compounds in it. Due to its natural mineral absorption properties, horsetail is rich in:
- vitamin B3
- vitamin B7
- vitamin C
- aluminum salts
- aconitic acid
Specifically, silica helps strengthen hair strands while selenium helps the body process iodine. All of these combined does the following:
- improve hair structural integrity, sheen, texture and growth
- prevent hair loss and dandruff
How to create horsetail tea
Horsetail herb for hair are available either as a dried herb or as a liquid solution. If there are some growing nearby, one can harvest some for fresh use. For freshly-made tea, do the following:
- Chop the horsetails into two- or three-inch pieces (Note: quantity depends on the user, but a strong mixture is roughly half a cup of the plant to a cup of water)
- Place the pieces in adequate container
- Add boiling water
- Let it sit for a minimum of five minutes to a maximum of one hour
- Separate the pieces from the mixture
- Let the water cool down before using
How to use in hair loss prevention
The extract can also be mixed with virgin olive or coconut oil, if one wants to.
- Mix half a cup of horsetail herb to a cup of water
- Let the mixture sit for an hour
- Once ready, use it as a hair rinse and massage the scalp
- Rinse hair thoroughly with water and shampoo
For the best effect, have the mixture ready and use it on a daily basis.
How to use for dandruff control
The mixture needed to address dandruff is slightly different.
- Mix two teaspoons of horsetail extract and 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil
- Massage it on the scalp and hair
- Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes
- Wash it off with mild shampoo and water
It is recommended to use the mixture at least twice a week to get rid of dandruff.
Horsetail tea as natural conditioner
If one does not have any issue with their hair, horsetail can still be used as a natural conditioner. Using it after shampoo helps make hair soft and shiny. At the very least, it gets rid of frizzy and dry hair which is a less severe kind of hair problem.
There have been many testimonies to its benefits as herbal medicine, some of which date back to ancient Greek and Roman medical sources. However, it is still considered part of alternative medicine as there is currently insufficient scientific evidence to its effectiveness, including hair regrowth. This means that horsetail tea for hair care works for some but not for others. It has no known adverse side effects regarding hair care, so one can either expect to enjoy the benefits of its use or to be no worse than when they started off.