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What's the value of a horse's tail?
Part: Whole plant
Horsetail has several stages in it's growth cycle. It starts as a brown stalk and grows "hair-like" leaves that are segmented. when the leaves are long enough to become heavy, the segments separate and fall and the plant becomes difficult for the novice forager to locate. Best picked when the leaves are 1 to 3 inches long, before they start to separate by segments.
Use: Horsetail, also known as Shavegrass, is commonly thought of as the "hair, skin & nails herb".
It is mild in flavor, but somewhat fibrous. This makes it a bit tougher to chew for a salad green. It's a little softer than rosemary herb. It makes a fair pick for those who want to chew on a plant instead of a toothpick while on a walk.
Horsetail makes an excellent tea herb. It tastes best when paired with a more flavorful companion like mint or stinging nettle.
Horsetail is strongly astringent and is therefore used for both internal and external wounds.
It kills eggs of parasites and dissolves tumors. Studies have shown that fractured bones will heal much faster when horsetail is taken.
Silica, found in horsetail is helpful in aiding circulation and assimilation of calcium in the body. It is commonly sold in health food stores for strengthening and improving fingernails, skin and hair.