horsetail tea

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by pointy1, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. pointy1

    pointy1 Member

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    Can anyone tell me if it's true that the silica in horsetails is somehow made available to plants by soaking the horsetail in water (horsetail tea) and applied as a foliar spray or used for watering the garden? Does the horsetail have to decompose/ferment. It doesn't seem possible that the silica somehow "leaches" out of the horsetail after a week in a bucket of water.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd agree, sounds improbable. But for what purpose, anyway? Plants (other than horsetails!) don't use silica at all.
     
  3. bjo

    bjo Active Member 10 Years

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    I am sure that the horsetail would have to decompose to release the silica as you suggest. Actually i must disagree a bit with Michael, lots of plants deposit silica in their tissues as phytoliths, for example grasses. However, as most soils are based on silicates (another form of the element silicon) and will contain silica phytoliths from already decayed plants, I cannot see that there can be any need to add more silicon in the form of horsetail tea. Perhaps the tea has other beneficial ingredients.

    ciao
    Brian
     
  4. Vancouver Island

    Vancouver Island Active Member

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    bjo, I think you are right about horsetail tea. I had a cat that had health problems and she seemed to improve in the spring when she chewed on the horsetails. I was somewhat concerned, but read somewhere that it was a tonic -- though I wouldn't suggest drinking it until you do a lot more research on it.
    Someone had suggested that it helps bamboo grow with stronger stocks. I have a number of large clumps(15' tall!) of bamboo and lots of giant horsetail growing in the garden. Both do well. I only remove the horsetail if it pops up in the veggie garden due to its shading qualities. That said its growth root is often 2' below the surface, so I generally only pull the stocks out as they grow.
     
  5. bjo

    bjo Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi,

    Fantastic...first time i've had a reply from a whole island !!

    My comments in this thread were just related to its benefits to other plants not actually to animals/humans. However, here in Europe, horsetail, especially prepared as a tea is a widely used herbal medicine. A range of benefits are mentioned including strengthening bones and increasing joint flexibility. The most common use seems to be for kidney/ urinary tract problems as it is a diuretic. Here in Portugal horsetail tea is very commonly drunk for kidney problems - especially in winter. Horsetail is sold dried in the local vegetable market - and quite a lot seems to be bought. So I think you've got quite a smart cat there - able to self medicate!

    Returning to plants, your email made me realise a couple of possible benefits of horestails. The fact that the roots penetrate so deeply and will penetrate into stiff clay soils may be important. Firstly, they may improve soil drainage and aeration. Secondly they may bring up otherwise unavailable nutrients into the surface layers. However, if growing in the open garden, I still regard them as horrible weeds and would do anything to eradicate them. I love them as plants, but the Equisetum hyemale I grow is restricted to a pot.

    Say hello to that smart cat for me.
    ciao
    Brian
     

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