Giant Horsetail is common, edible, and medicinal. You’ve probably seen it scattered throughout parks and near roads without knowing it. City dwellers take note–this is a plant you can usually forage without taking a drive to the woods! Early to mid spring is ideal for foraging horsetail and other delicious shoot vegetables.
Why Forage for Horsetail?
If you get to them early enough, young fertile shoots are a delicious wild vegetable that can be eaten raw. The flavor is juicy and similar to celery without all the stringiness. Fertile shoots are a traditional seasonal delicacy to many indigenous groups, especially on the west coast up through British Columbia.
Shoots should be eaten while young and green. Once they begin to brown, they are no longer palatable. Once leaves appear on the stalk, horsetail is no longer edible, but is great for medicine.
Horsetail is full of minerals and trace elements, filters heavy metals and toxins from the body, helps grow and strengthen hair, and increase bone density. It’s also an excellent natural remedy to strengthen and rebuild connective tissues such as the kidneys, lungs, mucus membranes, hair, skin, cartilage, and sinuses.
Horsetail is more than 35% silica, one of the highest percentages in the plant kingdom. Silica is necessary for calcium metabolism and essential for the formation and repair of bone and cartilage. Only a small portion of silica on the Earth is bioavailable to us (able to absorb in the body), however horsetail is a rich source that we can use.