dinosaur grass 🦕
A prehistoric descendent of the fern family, horsetail carries a reputation in folklore as an ally for getting in touch with our ancestral roots, reconnecting us to the earth, and returning “home” to ourselves.
As acreage kids in the 90’s, my siblings, friends, and I used to blast Ace of Base and Mariah Carey cassettes on my portable tape deck while making forts in the trees. After putting in a serious shift building our outdoor dwelling, we’d move on to mixing potions and crafting household tools from whatever was growing around us.
Horsetail was a common plant in the aspen parkland bioregion we lived in and proved useful for crafting bracelets, necklaces, and little brooms to sweep out our new branch-walled, dirt-floored home- never complete without that Casio tape deck.
Horsetail has been known to generations of children as “puzzle grass” because of its jointed stems that can be pulled apart and easily put back together again, but we often referred to it as “dinosaur grass”. Turns out, we were onto something- this primitive plant is actually a living fossil, dating back to the Paleozoic era nearly 400 million years ago.
Returning to the same aspen woods of my childhood in later life, with a budding interest in herbalism and the spiritual connection we have with plants, this familiar plant captivated me all over again. It came home to it and in turn, it helped me come home to myself.
Incomprehensibly ancient, I find horsetail to be energetically grounding and supportive, a reminder of our lineage throughout time and the ages of the earth. A prehistoric descendent of the fern family, horsetail carries a reputation in folklore as an ally for getting in touch with our ancestral roots, reconnecting us to the earth, and returning “home” to ourselves. Sit with it awhile and you might find your thoughts drifting further and further back.
What is it good for?
Astringent and rich in the protein silica, horsetail strengthens and promotes healthy hair, skin, nails, teeth, bones, cartilage, and ligaments. It also boosts our bodies natural collagen production, which is useful for improving skin’s elasticity as we age and gradually produce less of it.
Historically, horsetail was a nutrient dense food source for the Dene, Plains Cree, and Woodland Cree of the prairies every Spring, often boiled like a vegetable until tender. It was also infused into water and oil to heal skin conditions, and once it became coarse with calcium deposits in the Fall, it was helpful for polishing and scouring hard surfaces including teeth.
Commonly, horsetail is considered a weed since it drops spores and spreads prolifically. Gardeners tend to loathe it, but perhaps outside of our vegetable gardens we can consider medicinal “weeds” to be generous plants, offering us a bounty of opportunity to work with their magic on and in our bodies.
how we use it
In addition to wildcrafting a basket or two ourselves every summer, we’ve partnered with Indigenous wild harvesters in northern Saskatchewan to keep us well stocked for mixing up batch on batch of goodies.
Like everything we make, my intention with our products is to connect you to the plants that grow here, the people who love and care for them, and to your body as you nourish it by incorporating them into your daily rhythm.
Feeling a connection to horsetail? Watch for it as one of the first plants to flourish in early Summer, or click below to learn more about the products that we make with it.