Horsetail extract: benefits & how to make it
Horsetail can strengthen the plants in a natural way. Here are the advantages of the use of the popular extract and how to prepare it correctly.
The field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a truly versatile plant. In spite of being considered an irritating weed by many, the horsetail has many benefits. First, it is a valuable plant-strengthening agent. Second, for some time now, the herb has also been of great use in naturopathy, cosmetics and even in the household. In colloquial German, the horsetail is referred to as ‘tin-herb’, which is due to the fact that tin household appliances used to be cleaned with horsetail. This is possible, because the plant contains silica crystals. The silicic acid is also responsible for the plant-fortifying effect of the horsetail. There are numerous terms used to describe the solution made by soaking horsetail including horsetail tea, brew, extract or manure. The details about the use and the countless effects of this extract are discussed below.
Uses and benefits of horsetail extract
The field horsetail is one of the plants with the highest content of silicic acid. Silica strengthens the tissue of the plants. As a result, fungi have a hard time infecting the reinforced plants. This is because fungi usually infect a plant with spores. The fungal spores form an organ similar to a plant root. Because of that, the spore must penetrate the leaf tissue in order to feed on the plant. If the plant tissue is resilient, the spore does not succeed and it starves. Silica makes life difficult not just for fungi (such as mildew). Also various sucking insects like aphids prefer vulnerable plants, because their cell wall of the leaves and stems can be punctured much easier.
By soaking the plant and making an extract, the positive effects are enhanced. However, the horsetail extract is not an active pesticide. It is a very efficient preventative measure but the extract is not suited for direct control of an already existing fungal infestation. In addition, the horsetail broth must be used regularly, otherwise the silicic acid content in the leaves decreases again. Therefore, administering the extract every 14 days or so, is the best approach.
Tip: Horsetail extract is completely harmless and therefore particularly suitable for vegetable plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and other fungus-prone plants such as roses.
How to make horsetail extract?
If you are considering cultivating your own horsetail, then beware: even in agriculture, the horsetail is one of the stubbornest weeds and, once it starts growing, it’s hardly controllable. Growing horsetail in pots, on the other hand, should cause no problems. If you want to get horsetail quickly, you can easily get your hands on the dried herb online. Some online shops even sell ready to use products made of the plant. The production of a broth is much more time-saving than liquid manure. To prepare the extract, simply place the fresh or dried horsetail in a container or a bucket with water and soak for 24 hours.
Mixing ratio: 1 kg fresh field horsetail or 150 g dried field horsetail in 10 litres of water.
After soaking, the brew must simmer for 30 minutes. Then, the brew has to cool down before it can be put to use. Before application, sieve the brew to get rid of the horsetail stalks and leaves. If you want to apply the brew with a syringe, using a coffee filter is recommended. Otherwise, the finer particles will clog the nozzle of the syringe.
Finished horsetail extract: For application, one part of the horsetail extract should be diluted with 5 parts of water (1:5).