Equisetum arvense

Equisetum arvense, “Field horsetail” or “Common horsetail” in English, “Prêle des champs” in French, belongs to the Equisetaceae botanical family.

Fossil material of this herb has been found from the carboniferous period (about 300 millions years ago). Originally distributed throughout the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, it grows in open fields, arable or waste land, hedgerows and roadsides, usually in moist soils. It can be a serious weed.

Equisetum arvense was used as an abrasive to sand and polish wood, copper, brass and precious metals because of the silica it contains. Cited by the Greek Physician Galen as a herbal remedy, it was used in folk medicine as an adjuvant to treat tuberculosis. It is nowadays mainly used as a diuretic.

Its main constituents are silicic acid, potassium salts and different flavonoids (herbacetin, quercetin glucosides). The so called saponin “equisetonin” is largely a mixture of different sugars and flavonoids.

  • English name Horsetail herb
  • French name Prêle
Equisetum arvense