Shavegrass has found many uses through the ages, most of which can be traced in some way to its very high silica content. Maud Grieve writes that, "the epidermis contains so much silica that bunches of the stem have been sold for polishing metal and used to be imported from Holland for the purpose, hence the popular name of Scouring Rushes." Its high mineral content, astringency and effect on the urinary and circulatory systems gained it high regard among the old herbalists as a wound healing herb. The diuretic properties of shavegrass were also valued by 19th century practitioners.
Silicon is an essential element in the manufacture of collagen, the matrix material that holds the body together. It gives elasticity and suppleness to the skin, and contributes flexibility and strength to the bones, hair, and nails. Horsetail can be thought of as an "internal cosmetic," building beauty from the inside out.
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