Horsetail, a nutritive filter

These times in our lives are crazy, as womyn, as people, as an intersectional representation of us. I’ve always considered myself an edge walker, albeit with a propensity to jump in when damn good and ready and always with an escape route.
But this feels particularly chaotic. Much like careening down a desert canyon with impenetrable walls in a nightmarish flash flood of polluted information. In a struggle to understand, I realize that I can’t. Typical barriers are being mercilessly pummeled, so stabilization in my mind, must come from filters. I can filter and so can you. We can strive to do this internally, in our bodies. Perhaps moments of understanding will follow.
Our great filters are the liver and the kidneys.
And that’s what got me in the mind of horsetail. This ancient edge walking plant has survived many epochs and all of the event horizons of their demises, 100s of millions of years, which has divided it off to be the single surviving member of it’s family: Equesetum arvense.

Also, it is so beautiful.
You may know this plant as one that strengthens the bones, nails, skin, hair and even the cartilage. I love the strength of it, too. But for me, the true center of its magic is in its propensity to walk in the waters. Long ago, our only resort as a species was to look primarily to how a plant lived, how it behaved, to find an alignment with the body. It also gave reassuring logic to an idea of why animals sought certain plants out instinctively—always searching for reason we humans. We can look to this segmented stalk and see joints in it, we can roll this vibrant pole around in our fingers and feel the bend in its joints and align that with our own joints. Its very name was conjured from the first year of its life cycle and the look of that spray of frond likened to a horse’s tail.
But I really love that this plant lives in those places where water collects on the earth in the gravely, sometimes actually sandy divides between the aquatic and the terrestrial. It lives and drinks and survives the moisture while it digs roots down through the pebbly soil finding purchase to filter and mine nutrients and minerals from all it touches. And there, we humans can sift through the significance of its behavior and see its virtues for the kidneys, our body’s governor of the waters of the body.
The shape of the lobes of our kidneys and the ingenuity of the body, its innate intelligence is astonishing. We have these porous tubules that outline them and filter the water and nutrients into the blood vessels that lace them. And again, I’m brought back to surviving this flood. As we careen around these manmade lobes of sponges toughened and waxed by human behavior, it’s important to find a way to absorb the good and pee out the rest.
And we need our plant allies. For this, we could benefit from horsetail…it takes in silica for cripes sake. This amazingly mineral rich, slightly astringing tonic to the kidneys is just the ticket right now. We can look to stress causing the hair to fall out, to brittling the nails, but really, internally, the symptoms are a causal result of the inability to filter and absorb.
If you’d like to read a really pretty and informative writing about horsetail, check this out:
If you’d like to read more about the doctrine of signatures and the varied facets of its evolution, this article written by Matt Wood is wonderful.

As always,
Keep it light, keep it easy, keep it movin.
Many hugs,

Elizabeth DeCourseyComment