I was asked to make an herb blend that was rich in minerals so of course my first thought went to horsetail (Equisetum). I don't grow horsetail but remembered seeing it once when walking along the irrigation ditch road here. There it is, growing in the grass alongside the road.
Horsetail is rich in a number of minerals including silicon, manganese, magnesium, iron, and copper. Besides minerals it is rich in saponins and flavons (a flavonoid). Horsetail has been said to increase circulation and strengthen connective tissue. One study found that a plant complex containing horsetail inhibited elastase enzymes (in vitro) and when it was applied to the skin at 5% as part of a cream, wrinkles on the face were reduced.
Silicon is thought to be important in development of connective tissue and play a structural role in these tissues which include bone, tendons, skin, hair and nails. Because of this it may also be important in preventing osteoporosis. Although horsetail contains more silicon than any other plant it can also be found in grains, hops (beer), cucumber and tomatoes.
Well, I cut enough horsetail to make quite a bit of extract and when I got home I found this horsetail!
Come on, you know you want to laugh!
I'll tell you about the other herbs in this mineral complex later.
Benaiges A, Marcet P, Armengol R, Betes C, Gironés E., Study of the refirming effect of a plant complex. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1998 Aug;20(4):223-33.