Names: Oblivion Horsetail, common Horsetail, Bottle Brush, Paddock-Pipes, Dutch Rushes

Botany: Equisetum arvense is a herbaceous perennial rhizomatous plant of the Equisetaceae family. Early in the spring, it grows from a deep, articulated root straight-chained fertile brownish stems. The fertile stems grow 10-20 cm and 3-5 cm diameter. On the top of the stems spores develop and as soon as spores are mature, the fertile shoots die. In the early summer, green hollow infertile stems grow from the root with up to 20 segments. Sterile stems are 10-90 cm tall and 3-5 cm diameter. From the stem joints grow long, needle-like leaves that are smaller at the end and facing up. It is native throughout the arctic and temperate regions of northern hemisphere. It grows in the swamps, trenches, on moist and sandy meadows, and fields. Field horsetail is primarily known as a persistent weed.

History and/or folklore: The 30 or so species of horsetail that survive today are relics of species that formed the great forests of 300 million years ago.

Culpepper and Dioscorides extol the virtues of it for staunching bleeding. Galen recommended horsetail for healing sinews and to strengthen the lungs and give strength generally.

Biochemistry: Botanical extract contains acids (silicilic – 10%, ferulic, ascorbic, malic, caffeic, gallic, pectic, tannic, oxalic, aconitinic), campesterol, equisetrin, equisetonin, alkaloids (nicotine, palustrine), amino acids (niacin), fibre, minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, silicon, selenium, and zinc), flavonoids and bitter substances.

Equisetum arvense botanical extract


Equisetum arvense botanical extract
Traditional use: Historically, a decoction applied externally was said to stop bleeding of wounds, heal wounds and reduce the swelling of eyelids. An infusion of the whole plant (above ground) was used for rinsing hair (the high content of silica prevents dry hair, baldness, seborrhoea, and dandruff) and strengthening nails.

In cosmetics it is mainly used in preparations against wrinkles, bruising and cellulitis.

For medicinal purposes only the green barren stems are used, gathered over the summer. The botanical extract is used to promote secretion of water from the body and eliminate kidney sand and stones. It is also used to prevent haemorrhage and it is a remedy for pulmonary disease, bronchitis, and tuberculosis. It is recommended in diets to enhance metabolism and kidney function. Herbalists also recommend it for rheumatism and gout.

Horsetail tea is gargled in case of inflammation of oral mucosa and gums. It lowers blood pressure and reduces and relieves problems associated with varicose veins and broken capillaries.


Contraindication: Horsetail is a plant with strong diuretic properties; its internal use can produce problems in blood pressure; before use, a doctor should be consulted. It should not be administered during pregnancy or nursing.

Many professionals consider horsetail too dangerous to use as a medicinal plant (as it contains silicates, alkaloids, and enzymes such as thiaminase).