Rastafarians, members of a religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s who believe that Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, was the Second Coming of Jesus and their god Jah incarnate, wear the easily recognisable dreadlocks. The rope-like strands of hair formed by locking or braiding hair are inspired by the Nazarites of the Bible and the mane of the Lion of Judah as a symbol of non-conformism and freedom. The most famous member of the Rastafari movement is Bob Marley whose reggae music is popular world-wide. Rastafarians express their spirituality in a number of unorthodox ways, among other things through the “spiritual use” of cannabis, through the severe criticism of the materialistic walk of life and promotion of sensory pleasures, temperance in eating and vegetarianism. As they are opposed to everything materialistic, their religion is not institutionalised. They have faith in personal intuitive experience and living at the present moment.
Rastafarian dreads look like horsetail, a plant of an equally freedom-loving spirit. Horsetail spreads its ‘dreads’ freely in wet meadows, marshland, fields along brooks and roads… Apart from looking like Rastafarian dreads, it looks like a horse’s tail and hence its name in both Latin and English. Horsetail is reminiscent of a small Christmas tree, its leaves are spiky and turned upwards – looking quite magical. It has such healing properties that a whole religion could be woven around it.
In ancient times horsetail was used for various purposes: due to its abrasive properties, the Indians polished their arrows with it; it was used for centuries to polish tin dishes. Today we know that it was silicic acid that made the dishes shine and that horsetail’s exceptional healing properties are precisely due to this ingredient.
It is believed that horsetail was a giant dominant plant that grew some 15 metres in height during the Palaeozoic, the oldest era of planet Earth. Today, this is a perennial plant that reaches up to half a metre in height.
Horsetail contains flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, vitamin C, carotene, manganese, potassium, iron and the very useful silicic acid.
Let us see what medicinal properties horsetail has:
- Horsetail is a diuretic, it stimulates the expulsion of accumulated fluid from the body and cleanses it. That is why it is used against cellulite and fatty deposits on the hips.
- The plant’s diuretic effect helps with swelling in the legs and edema caused by injuries or diabetes.
- Horsetail protects the urinary tract because it prevents the formation of stones. It can reduce pre-existing stones and speed up their expulsion. It is very useful in inflammations of the urinary tract and bleeding, as it eases painful urination and prevents inflammations of the kidneys and the prostate.
- It helps with stomach ulcers, constipation and lazy intestines.
- Silicic acid, being good to cure tissues, is useful to treat lung and blood vessel injuries. It is recommended to be taken for tuberculosis, arteriosclerosis and varicose veins.
- In combination with other medicinal herbs it is good for period pains, increased bleeding and secretion.
- It stimulates the creation of red blood cells and it is excellent for anaemia.
- The silicic acid in this plant strengthens the skin, hair, nails, it adds the elasticity with its collagen fibres, it helps with alopecia and removes dandruff.
And that is not all. Horsetail is a veritable goldmine. Literally so, as plants absorb useful substances from the soil, including metals. This plant can accumulate more gold than any other. One tonne of fresh horsetail is reputed to give around one kilo of gold. The start of the 20th century saw the emergence of a new branch of mining – herbal plant mining which uses special techniques to extract precious metals from plants.
Horsetail is unique and exceptional, but it should be used with caution. It should not be taken excessively and is best used in professionally-prepared products. There are some varieties of horsetail which are toxic and therefore its harvesting should be left to professionals. Horsetail infusion should be consumed strictly in accordance with instructions. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not use it. Also, as it is a diuretic, a lot of water should be drunk with it.
Horsetail is an ingredient in several Herba Svet products: in Equigal, it stimulates the expulsion of accumulated fluid from the body and removes cellulite. In Hipoprostat it protects the prostate and aids urination; in Nefrovit, it protects the entire urinary tract, prevents infections, formation of stones and their expulsion; in Leocardin, it flushes out excess fluid and improves heart rate in cardiac insufficiency. This wild plant brings the biggest treasure, that of non-materialistic kind: health.