Medicinal Plants

Equisetum Arvense (Field Horsetail)

Field horsetail which is botanically known as ‘Equisetum Arvense’ is useful in the treatment of brittle bones, wounds, joint pain and muscle pain and kidney stones. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential helps in the management of diabetes mellitus, liver disorders, and bacterial and fungal infections. Field horsetail is an excellent source of essential minerals and health-promoting compounds which make it a potent immune booster.

Nutrient Composition

Field horsetail is an abundant source of essential minerals such as potassium, manganese, silica, iron, phosphate, and calcium. It further contains small amount of active and health-promoting compounds such as

  • Flavonoids
  • Tannins
  • Resins
  • Alkaloids
  • Fatty acids
  • Glycosides
  • Pectic substances

Such a composition makes this plant extremely useful for the treatment of various diseases and disorders. (1)

Benefits & Uses of Equisetum Arvense

Equisetum Arvense (Field Horsetail) is helpful in the following health conditions:

Treats Kidney Stones

A high urine density is associated with dehydration, concentrated urine, and kidney stone formation. Evidence-based scientific studies have shown that treatment with field horsetail reduces urine density and thus, lowers the risk of stone formation.

Its diuretic potential increases the passing of urine and hence, it enhances removal of small stones from the kidneys via urine.

Therefore, drinking field horsetail tea can help in flushing out kidney stones and can be beneficial for individuals with stones.

Relieves Pain

Field horsetail possesses Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effect. It reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli and helps in relieving pain. High doses of field horsetail induce sedative and analgesic effect and thus, it helps in lowering pain.

Furthermore, studies have also revealed that field horsetail contains anti-inflammatory agents such as

  • Sterols
  • Flavonoids
  • Saponins
  • Tannins

These agents inhibit the action of inflammatory compounds, ease inflammation and decrease the severity of pain. (2)

Relieves Fluid Retention

Field horsetail is a natural diuretic that increases the production of urine. The diuretic action of this plant is attributed to the presence of flavonoids, mineral salts and phenolic compounds in it.

Studies have revealed that due to its diuretic potential, field horsetail works quickly to relieve fluid and sodium retention or edema.

It was further found that the effect of field horsetail was comparable to that of standard diuretic drugs.

This amazing plant helps the kidneys to throw out more sodium and water and thus, it decreases edema. (3)

Enhances Wound Healing

Field horsetail enhances quick skin wound healing. It reduces the size of the wound and lowers the level of inflammation too. The anti-inflammatory property of field horsetail has a healing and soothing effect.

Furthermore, it promotes regeneration of skin cells and reduces the intensity of pain associated with the wound. Such an effect is attributed to the presence of saponin and silicon in it.

The antibacterial potential of field horsetail further prevents wound infections caused by bacteria and organisms. (4)

Fights Osteoporosis

Scientific studies have reported that field horsetail contains ‘silica’ that promotes absorption and utilization of calcium for bones.

It was further noted that silica enhances stabilization and synthesis of collagen, a protein present in bone, which is responsible for its strength.

Besides this, field horsetail increases the number of osteoblasts, bone-forming cells and inhibits ‘osteoclasts’, cells that break down bone tissue.

Silica present in field horsetail further accelerates bone mineralization and reduces the excretion of calcium.

Hence, treatment with field horsetail along with vitamin D, calcium, and zinc supplementation promotes the formation of bone and mineralization of bone matrix.

Such a combined treatment prevents osteoporosis and it has been proved to be better than drugs used for the treatment of osteoporosis. (5)

Management of Diabetes Mellitus

Studies have reported potent hypoglycemic activity of field horsetail. Antioxidants present in it prevent the damage caused by free radicals to pancreatic beta-cells, producers of insulin.

Health-promoting compounds present in field horsetail improve insulin sensitivity, lower insulin resistance and enhance uptake of glucose by muscles and tissues. Hence, glucose is used as a source of energy rather than being present in the blood in excess amounts.

Thus, field horsetail helps in maintaining blood glucose levels within normal range and prevents the onset of diabetic complications which set in due to high blood glucose levels. (6)

Anti-Microbial Potential

Field horsetail exhibits strong antibacterial activity against ‘Staphylococcus aureus, gram-positive bacteria that cause infections of the respiratory tract and skin.

Such an effect is attributed to the presence of essential oils in it. These essential oils contain 25 different compounds in them that inhibit bacterial growth and prevent further increase in overall bacterial population.

Thus, field horsetail is a natural, safe and cost-effective drug that can be used in the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections. (7)


The immunomodulatory property of field horsetail is accredited to the presence of flavonoids and phenolic compounds in it. It helps in the treatment of inflammatory disorders and activates immune cells to fight against various diseases and infections.

The abundance of essential minerals and health-promoting compounds present in field horsetail boosts immunity. Thus, treatment with field horsetail can be beneficial for immune-suppressed patients such as those suffering from cancer and HIV. Hence, it modulates immunity and keeps diseases and disorders at bay. (8)

Enhances Liver Health

The protective effect of field horsetail on the liver is due to the abundance of health-promoting compounds such as onitin, luteolin, apigenin, quercetin, and kaempferol. Among these compounds, kaempferol and onitin exhibit the strongest hepatoprotective activities against liver damage.

In addition to this, these active compounds possess strong antioxidant properties and hence, it safeguards the liver against free radical attack and toxin overload. Such an action preserves normal structure and functioning of the liver. (9)

Enhances Cognition

Results from scientific studies have shown that treatment with field horsetail prevents cognitive deficits. Such an effect is possible due to its high antioxidant potential. These antioxidants combat oxidative stress which otherwise deteriorates cognitive function. Quercetin present in field horsetail boosts cognitive health and helps in reversing cognitive impairment.

Thus, field horsetail helps in improving cognitive performance. (10)

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Sneha Sadhwani

Dt. Sneha Sadhwani Sewlani (B.Sc. Food Science & Nutrition, PG in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics) is Clinical Nutritionist & Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Lifestyle Coach. She has expertise in clinical nutrition and 4 years’ experience working as Clinical Nutritionist and Dietician. She has been associated as a nutritionist with LTMG Hospital and S. L. Raheja Fortis Institute in Mumbai. She has also her own private practice where she offers a wide range of different programs, including weight loss, weight gain, diabetes management, diet plan according to diseases and much more through her in-person and online consultation. Sneha strongly believes that a healthy diet and lifestyle modifications are the best ways to prevent and treat diseases. She says, “Eating healthy is an art, be an artist of your own mind and body”.

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