Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's sweet, it's nutritious, it's healing, it's, well, yummy for the tummy. And honey, it turns out, is also an ideal base for extraction of certain herbal medicines: Sage for sore throats; Ginger and garlic for colds and flus; Nettles for nutrition; Marshmallow for ulcers. The honey extracts and preserves the plant medicine, delivering it to the gut for intestinal effects or for absorption.

New and old horsetail stalks

Horsetail (Equisitum arvense, E. hymenale) is an ancient non-flowering plant that grows in sandy wetland soil. The new leafing stems have a longstanding reputation for strengthening bones, nails, and hair as a "silica tonic". While the mechanism for this action is incompletely understood, horsetail's history of effectiveness is indisputable. And the silicon and other medicinal components of horsetail are best extracted from the fresh plant into a medium of similar acidity - honey.

HERBALIST'S NOTES: 1) Avoid taking the horsetail plant internally because it's sand content can irritate the gastrointestinal tract; 2) An oxymel is a heated mixture of honey and vinegar, either or both of which has been used to extract plant medicine.


Horsetail sterile stem

Unfiltered honey - 3 parts
Horsetail sterile (leafing) stems - 1 part
Glycerin - 5% of amount of honey

1) Gather a half dozen or so leafing horsetail stems by pulling them upward which will break them off just under the earth;
2) Cut off the dark and dirty underground portion of the stems;
3) Cut the rest of the stems into small pieces into a medium sized wide-mouthed jar;

Straining horsetail from honey  4) Pour honey over the horsetail to completely cover it;
5) Poke a chopstick or straw repeatedly into the honey to allow any trapped air to escape;
6) Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and place in a warm dark place for 2-3 days (I place it on top of the hot water heater);
7) Strain off the honey into a clean jar with a lid. Compost the horsetail;
8) Stir in the glycerin to keep the honey from separating;
9) Label and store in a cool place;
10) Take one teaspoon daily for growing pains or three times a day for nail or hair problems.

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