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Edition 23: September 2010

Edition 23: September 2010

What Herb is That?
Horsetail
Herbal goldmine controls bleeding

HORSETAIL is an ancient Roman and Greek medicine traditionally used to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. Romans used it as a vegetable during famines and as an animal feed. The famous herbalist Galen proposed horsetail to heal severed tendons and ligaments.
Culpeper said it was ‘very powerful to stop bleeding, either inward or outward’. “It solders together wounds and cures all ruptures,” he said.
The Chinese used horsetail (E.hiemale, or mu zei), as a remedy for eye disorders, dysentery, flu, swellings and haemorrhoids. Russian research has revealed that horsetail can remove lead accumulations in the body.
The name Equisetum is derived from the Latin roots equus, meaning "horse," and seta, meaning "bristle."
When horsetail dries, silica crystals form in the stems that look like feathery tails and give the plant a scratching effect. For years, horsetail was used as an abrasive cleaner; the dried stems used to scour pots and polish metal, hence the common name pewter wort.
Horsetail has a long history as a remedy for joint pain and it has been discovered that this amazing plant can absorb the most gold from the soil than any other plant (minute amounts), which makes it a worthy treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Horsetail also absorbs a lot of selenium, which is a potent antioxidant used in cancer treatments.
Horsetail is a herbaceous perennial which grows throughout temperate regions of the world and is cultivated in Yugoslavia. It is a member of a very primitive family of plants; descended from huge, tree-like plants that thrived 400 million years ago during the Palaeozoic era.
This bamboo-like marsh-dweller has a hairy, tuberous rhizome and the stems are erect, without leaves or hairs and have black-toothed sheaths with whorls of spreading, green branches. The dried stems are used medicinally.

The plant contains the highest amount of silicon (silica) of all known herbs. Silica is found in connective tissues throughout the body and is important in the building and repair of healthy connective tissues. It also helps enhance bone flexibility and adhesion.
The best dietary source of silica is whole grains. Much of our dietary silica is lost in the refining process; therefore horsetail herb makes this mineral bio-available for our easy absorption.
 Horsetail has been recommended as a complementary treatment for osteoporosis as its silica content encourages the absorption and use of calcium by the body and also helps to guard against fatty deposits in the arteries.
Its influence on lipid metabolism could be of benefit for those with cardiovascular problems.  It has also been established that the use of silicic acid causes leucocytosis (a temporary increase in white blood cells).
Horsetail is an excellent genito-urinary system astringent that is used internally for the treatment of prostate problems, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, incontinence, cystitis and urethritis. This also applies to cystitis with haematuria, which is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. (Professional guidance is advisable). Horsetail tea is also recommended for gout due to its ability to flush out toxins. 
 While it acts as a mild diuretic; horsetail’s toning and astringent actions make it valuable to treat of incontinence and bed-wetting in children.
At first it was believed that the diuretic activity was caused by the inorganic elements of the plant (silicon), but today it has been proven to be the action of the flavonoids and saponins.
As a diuretic it is particularly suited to metabolic or hormonal oedema during the menopause and oedemas of the legs. It encourages water diuresis without increase in the excretion of potassium salt or electrolytes.
Remineraliser rejuvenates hair, skin and nails
Horsetail controls internal and external bleeding and is an astringent, healing herb; but its main effect is on the genito-urinary system. A remineraliser herb rich in minerals, especially organic silica, gold and selenium, it helps to rejuvenate the hair, nails and skin, increasing calcium absorption and helping to rebuild connective tissue.
Sitz baths with equisetum extract are indicated for functional pelvic disease in women where there is no inflammation, but primarily muscular tensions and changes in muscle tone in the small pelvis that are autonomous in origin. Such treatment is considered a remedy in cases of inflammation or benign enlargement of the prostate gland.
Horsetail has a considerable haemostatic and cicatrising action and has therefore been used traditionally to treat certain hemorrhages.
The juice of the plant is good for anaemia resulting from internal bleeding such as stomach ulcers, since it promotes the coagulation of blood.
The local astringent and anti- haemorrhagic effect explains the application of horsetail to such conditions as bleeding from the mouth, nose and vagina and its use to check diarrhoea, dysentery and bleeding from the bowel. Fresh, crushed stems can alleviate nosebleeds as the juice increases blood clotting.
As a vulnerary it heals wounds beautifully thanks to the high silica content and it makes a superb compress for chilblains, fractures and sprains.
It works to increase the health of the connective tissue in the skin, helping to create a healthier skin tone and is a suitable addition to skin creams to boost the skin and nails.
The tea makes a good wash for wounds and sores; a gargle for mouth and gum inflammations plus an eye wash for conjunctivitis.  Gargling or mouth-rinsing with horsetail tea facilitates the healing of gingivitis and pharyngitis.
Horsetail provides nutritional support for the respiratory tract and is restorative for damaged tissue after pulmonary tuberculosis and other lung disease, as the silicic acid stabilises scar tissue.
FACT FILE
Name:
Horsetail
Latin name: Equisetum arvense
Other Names: Field horsetail, bottlebrush, scouring rush, pewter wort, corncob plant and shave grass.
Actions: Mild diuretic, genito-urinary astringent, anti-haemorrhagic, haemostatic (stops bleeding), prophylactic (wards off disease) causing a mild leucocytosis, restorative to damaged pulmonary tissue, detoxifier, locally styptic and vulnerary (heals wounds).
Indications: enuresis (bed-wetting), prostate disease, cystitis, urethritis, kidney stones, arthritis.
Precautions: Correct identification of this plant is important since other species of Equisetum contain toxic alkaloids, and excessive doses of E. arvense can themselves lead to symptoms of poisoning. It should not be used where there is cardiac or renal dysfunction. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take horsetail.  Possible Interactions: The effects of horsetail may enhance the effects of certain medications, including alcohol. People taking prescription medications should not take horsetail without first consulting a health care practitioner.
Essential Oil of the Month
Petitgrain

Oil calms constant conscious chatter

PETITGRAIN is one of three essential oils obtained from the orange tree - the others are neroli (from the flowers) and orange (from the fruit rind).
This oil is a member of the Rutaceae plant family; the orange tree is a native of central Asia, now found mainly in the Mediterranean region with essential oil produced in Italy, Spain, France and Paraguay.
Though distilled from the same botanical species as neroli and bitter orange, petitgrain essential oil possesses its own characteristically unique aroma.
 Petitgrain essential oil is distilled from the leaves and sometimes the twigs and branches of the orange tree.
Originally it was extracted from the green, unripe oranges when they were still the size of cherries, hence the name petitgrain or 'little grains.' This soon proved to be uneconomical as the production of this oil diminished the yield of bitter orange oil from the mature fruit later in the season.
Petitgrain adds a delightful middle note to perfumes and is the classic ingredient of eau-de-cologne. It is often used to replace the more expensive neroli (orange blossom) oil.
Its uses are plentiful; working effectively as an antiseptic, fighting infection by inhibiting bacterial growth. This oil, being non toxic and non irritant, can be safely applied externally or ingested (under supervision).
 Essential oil of petitgrain, being anti- spasmodic by nature, induces relaxation in the tissues, muscles, nerves and blood vessels thereby helping cure spasm such as continuous coughs, abdominal and muscular cramps, congestion, intestinal pulls and convulsions. This is very helpful for the lungs and respiratory tracts, when there is congestion, breathing troubles and coughs. 
The refreshing, woody yet floral fragrance of petitgrain is a wonderful deodorant, combating body odour and clammy skin.
It also checks bacterial growth in those parts of the body which are always subjected to heat and sweat and remain covered by clothes, rarely seeing sunlight. Petitgrain prevents the resultant odour and various skin infections. It is indicated for abnormal sweating (those who suffer from hyper-nervousness can have this problem).
Cosmetically petitgrain is used for general toning of the skin, especially for overly greasy skin.  Where there is a moist, almost wet, puffy texture to the skin, it is good for maintaining the moisture and oil balance and it works well in a blend to remedy acne and pimples. Add a little to hair products to combat greasy hair and dandruff problems.
Petitgrain can relieve indigestion by evening the peristaltic action which improves overall digestion, including constipation and emotional stomach-ache symptoms.
Being an anti-emetic, it also treats nausea and the tendency to vomit and it is safe to use during pregnancy for this purpose.
Petitgrain essential oil may also help dyspepsia and flatulence. Add to a massage blend with peppermint and carrot oil to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
COMMON USES
Burners and vapourisers:
Petitgrain oil can help with convalescence, anger, panic, depression and anxiety, calming irritation, while relaxing the body and boosting the conscious intellectual side of the mind.
Blended Massage or Bath Oil: Helpful for convalescence, anxiety, irritability, anger, panic, tension, rapid heartbeat, pain and insomnia, while calming and relaxing the body and fighting skin blemishes.
Blended into creams or lotions: helps clear up greasy skin and to release the congestion of such a skin, while at the same time helping to clear up acne, pimples and other skin blemishes.

This oil has a good reputation as a strengthening tonic to protect the nervous system from the adverse effects of shock, anger, anxiety and fear.
It is equally efficient in calming nervous afflictions such as panic attacks, convulsions, epileptic and hysteric attacks.
Use it as a soothing and relaxing sedative for all sorts of nervous crises such as abnormal palpitations, hypertension and insomnia; sleep patterns may be improved by calming the conscious processing.
Petitgrain will support the nervous system in cases of nervous exhaustion, PMT and menopausal mood swings.
Replenishing the parasympathetic nervous system, it is particularly helpful for convalescence after an illness.
Petitgrain inspires the strength and commitment needed to acknowledge and overcome obsessive and addictive behaviourial patterns such as gossip, drama, negative thinking, constant talking and dishonesty.
This oil generates more self-love and self-acceptance to nurture and fill the “lack” behind addiction and realise its true cause, which takes honest introspection.
 Its fresh, woody aroma is stabilising and reassuring to the numbed self, who in shame and denial has become desensitised  from the anguishes of life.
Petitgrain’s smell reintegrates the fragmented self, resolving inner conflicts and the constant need to rationalise behavior.
Realigning a distorted self image clears such confusion and very much reduces mental chatter, uplifting the mood and inducing positive thinking so the conscious intellectual side of the mind can function optimally.
FACT FILE
Name: Petitgrain
Latin name: Citrus vulgaris/aurantium
Aroma: A pleasant, green, slightly tangy scent with sweet floral top notes and woody undertones. The colour of the oil is pale yellow to amber and it is watery in viscosity.
Petitgrain blends well with: all citrus oils, bergamot, cedarwood, cardamom, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
Therapeutic Properties: antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant, deodorant, sedative and nervine.
Uses: Petitgrain oil can help with nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions and in particular anger and panic. It calms and soothes the mind, while relaxing the body, easing breathing, reducing rapid heartbeat, relaxing muscles and stomach pains.
Caution: Petitgrain oil is in general non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitising and non-phototoxic. This is useful when a fresh, citrus note is desired as other citrus oils can be photosensitising.

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