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Horsetail is a bushy perennial herb native to the northern hemisphere areas of Asia, Europe, North America, and North Africa. There are over 20 species of horsetail grown worldwide. Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is the most common specie used for medicinal purposes. The sterile and young vegetative shoots of horsetail are mainly harvested in spring or early summer when plants are large but somewhat succulent. Emergent sterile stems of horsetail have been employed for the treatment of various clinical disorders including haemorrhage, urethritis, jaundice and hepatitis in traditional medicine in various countries. The plant is cut above the root and the stems are used as fresh or processed as an ingredient for food, nutraceutical or pharmaceutical applications. Horsetail is available in the form of dried leaves, liquid or powder extract, tincture, tea bags and capsules.

E. arvense is a good source of various naturally available minerals and bioactive compounds including silicon, potassium, aluminium, manganese, saponins, phytosterols, phenolic acids, caffeic acids, alkaloids, and tannins. Horsetail is known to have a high level of water-soluble natural silica which can vary depending on agronomic conditions and geographical location. It has been demonstrated that the presence of silica plays a significant contribution to the medicinal properties of horsetail based ingredients. The high silicon content of the herb strengthens connective tissue, ligaments, bones, hair and fingernails. E. arvense also has a highly complex pattern of flavonoids (up to 15 are reported). These complex bioflavonoids are believed to be responsible for strong diuretic properties. Clinical studies involving animal models and/or human as well as in vitro studies provide plethora of evidence for various health, therapeutic and nutritional benefits due to the presence of water soluble silica, flavonoids and other bioactive compounds. Studies show that regular intake of these compounds may be important for long-term bone health and mineral balance.