Equisetum arvense


Sermis liczarek Wroclaw. (2012). Skrzyp polny. Retrieved from: http://ziola.pisz.pl/tag/skrzyp-polny-ziola/

Botanical Name: Equisetum arvense

Common name: Horsetail

Family: Equisetaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)

Parts used: Dried stem (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)


Constituents: Alkaloids (incl. nicotine, palustrine and palustrinine); Flavanoids (incl. isoquercitrin and equicetrin); (Sterols (incl. cholesterol, isofucosterol and campesterol); Silicic acid; and Saponin “equisitonin” (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)



  • Astringent
  • Vulnerary (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)
  • Diuretic: Based on preliminary human trials (Natural Standard, 2014; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)



Traditionally used in Europe as an oral diuretic (Natural Standard, 2014). Clinical trials are limited, indications based on traditional use include:

  • Osteoperosis

In a human trial horsetail was found to effectively raise bone density (in combination), however the trial had low validity (Natural Standard, 2014).

  • Nephrolithiasis (Natural Standard, 2014)
  • Urinary tract infection (Natural Standard, 2014)
  • Wound healing (topical) (Natural Standard, 2014)
  • Hoffmann states the herb’s use in continence and bedwetting in children due to the herbs toning and astringent actions (2003, p. 547).
  • Inflammation and benign enlargement of prostate gland (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)
  • Chilblains (topical) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 547)

The German commission E has approved horsetail for:

  • Edema (post-traumatic and static edema)
  • Urinary gravel
  • Wound healing (topical)
  • Irrigation therapy for bacterial and inflammatory disease of lower urinary tract

(Natural Standard, 2014)


The herbs diuretic action is supported by preliminary human trials (Natural Standard, 2014)


Preparation & Dosage:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%) 2-4mL/tds
  • Infusion: 2tsp dried herb/1 cup water/tds
  • Bath for rheumatic pain: Infuse 100g in hot water for 1 hour before adding to the bath.


Cautions & Contradictions:

  • The Natural Standard state there is a theoretical rick of thiamine deficiency, hypokalemia and nicotine toxicity and therefore should be avoided in individuals with chronic alcoholism, renal insufficiency and cardiac arrhythmias (2014).
  • Potentially unsafe in children (Natural Standard, 2014)

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