Equisetum arvense

The horsetail has a prehistoric appearance, being one of the oldest plants on the planet. Native to Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, it grows spontaneously in wetlands. It is valued as a source of minerals and oligoelements. It exists in almost the entire territory of Portugal.

It belongs to the Equisetaceae family and its sterile aerial parts are commonly used.

The horsetail plant mostly contains minerals (particularly silicon, potassium and magnesium), flavonoid glycosides, tannins, vitamin C, phenolic acids, mannitol and inositol. This plant contains a large amount of silicon and smaller amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and tannins, amongst other substances.

The diuretic action observed in experimental studies is attributed to flavonoids and potassium salts. Due to the large amount of silicon salts, it presents remineralising and toning effects on the connective tissue, improving the consistency and the elasticity of the supporting tissues, thus having beneficial effects in the consolidation of fractures. The essential oil is endowed with antimicrobial activity.

It is traditionally used for fracture healing, osteoporosis and rheumatic diseases, genitourinary infections and prevention of urinary lithiasis due to its diuretic action. It is also used in obesity accompanied by fluid retention.



Cunha AP, Silva AP, Roque OR (2012). Plantas e Produtos Vegetais em Fitoterapia, 4ª Edição, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Serviço de Educação e Bolsas, 212-213.

Cunha AP, Roque OR (2011). Plantas Medicinais da Farmacopeia Portuguesa, 2ª Edição, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Serviço de Educação e Bolsas, 201-204.

Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines (2000), 2nd Edition, Thomson Medical Economics, 409-410.

Domínguez M, Gómez R. Novo Guia das Plantas Medicinais, Ediclube, 58-59.

McIntyre A. (2015). Herbal Remedies for Everyday Living, Octopus Publishing Group Lda, 74.

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