Horsetail – Ancient Wonder, Modern Medicine

Whispering Earth

Horsetail, Equisetum spp., is truly a wonder from another age. The Equisetum family are known as a ‘living fossils’ as they are the only living examples of the Equisetopsida class which formed the major part of the understory of the great Paleozoic forests. These covered the land for over 100 million years, roughly 542 to 541 million years ago, a time which saw the first large reptiles and an explosion in marine life. Now Equisetum arvense usually grows between 20-40 cm high, but at that time, its relatives grew up to 30 metres tall, giant green skeletons which stroked the heavens with their feathery branches. This era ended with the Permian- Triassic extinction event, or the Great Dying as it has become known, the largest mass extinction in the history of the Earth. It took the Earth 30 million years to recover. Horsetail however endured and, as a result, holds in…

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