Common horsetail is one of the most primitive known wild plants. Its healing properties were already known and used in ancient Greece, Rome and China. Currently it’s one of the most popular medical plants around the world.

The common horsetail

The plant is also known as field horsetail or by its scientific name Equisetum arvense. It belongs to the Equisetaceae family, which has many other species, but only equisetum arvense has healing properties. In fact, when collecting field horsetail you have to be careful not to pick other species of its family because they can be very toxic; like Equisetum palustre which has a higher content in palustrine.

Fertile horsetail stalk

Fertile horsetail stalk by Tomaz Góralski

It is an evergreen plant which grows as a bush in moist and warm places, and farmers often consider it a weed, because it absorbs many nutrients from the soil. Generally the field horsetail can be found in waterlogged grounds, loamy soil, around grasslands and riverbanks.

Field horsetail has two types of stems: fertile and infertile.

  • The fertile stems sprout in early spring and are from 10 to 20 centimeters long.
  • The infertile stems are the ones that have healing properties. They sprout between April and May and are between 40 and 60 centimeters long. These infertile stems are harvested in summer, then put to dry in bunches hung in the shade. Once dry, the horsetail is crushed to prepare teas and decoctions, as well as a wide range of natural medicines and supplements like: tinctures, ointments, creams, tablets and capsules.

Main Composition

  • Minerals: Silicon, Potassium, Magnesium, Aluminum and Calcium.
  • Saponin: Equisetonin 5%
  • Flavonoids: Isoquercitrin, Luteolin and Kaempferol.
  • Alkaloids: Nicotine and Palustrine among others.
  • Tannins

Other nonmedical uses

Horsetail has had many other nonmedical uses:

  • To wash tin cookware.
  • Like very soft sandpaper for wood.
  • To make whistles.
  • To make shampoos and cosmetics.

This website’s content is for information purposes only and in no way replaces the advice of a health professional. does not take any responsibility for the consequences caused by self-medication.