(NaturalNews) Horsetail, also known as shave grass, has been tracked historically to prehistoric times. Horsetail is one of the richest plant sources of silica known to mankind. Natural health advocate David Wolfe calls horsetail one of the top six "super-herbs." Silica in horsetail helps give bones their strength and keeps skin from wrinkling. Collagen, the substance which gives skin its elasticity, is made of silica. Herbalists today use horsetail most often for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and benign prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Almost any herbal kidney and bladder cleanse formula or tincture will contain horsetail. Horsetail is a clinically proven antioxidant, and is also used to relieve edema, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.
Horsetail is proven to be an effective antioxidant
A clinical study performed in 2010 showed that horsetail extract, or horsetail tincture, could be considered a safe and natural antioxidant, as well as contain potential phytochemicals. The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, showed the effects of horsetail extract on sunflower oil and soybean fats. In both tests, free radicals were suppressed. Not only that, but horsetail extract was also able to keep a line of cancer cells from proliferating.
Silica in horsetail shows promise for osteoporosis
The University of Maryland Medical School reports a medical study performed in Italy involving horsetail for osteoporosis. In the study, 122 women took either horsetail powder or a horsetail and calcium blend. All 122 women experienced an increase in bone density. However, scientists are hesitant to accept this study due to the way it was performed, and recommend more clinical research.
Silica converts to calcium in the human body
Consulting traditional herbal literature may shed some light as to why horsetail may improve bone density. The late master herbalist Dr. John Ray Christopher documented his success using horsetail grass as a part of his herbal calcium formula in his newsletters. He calls silica a "master calcium herb." According to Dr. Christopher, silica converts to calcium in the body. His herbal calcium formula contains not only horsetail, but also lobelia, oat straw, and comfrey root.
David Wolfe agrees. He refers to the 1975 Nobel prize nominee for physiology, C. Louis Kurvran, who wrote extensively detailing the parallels between plant silica and calcium. Silica-rich foods include tomato and cucumber skins. Silica-rich herbs include horsetail, oat straw, stinging nettle, and alfalfa. These herbs can be blended and made into a tea by pouring boiling water over them and allowing them to steep for a few minutes. Three cups of "silica tea' provides a rich source of daily plant calcium.
Pubmed.gov, "Antioxidative and antiproliferative activities of different horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) extracts." D.D. Cetojevic-Simin, et al. Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2010; 13(2): 452-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170379