Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial to Assess the Acute Diuretic Effect of Equisetum arvense (Field Horsetail) in Healthy Volunteers

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:760683. doi: 10.1155/2014/760683. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Abstract

In this double-blind, randomized clinical trial, 36 healthy male volunteers were randomly distributed into three groups (n = 12) that underwent a three-step treatment. For four consecutive days, we alternately administered a standardized dried extract of Equisetum arvense (EADE, 900 mg/day), placebo (corn starch, 900 mg/day), or hydrochlorothiazide (25 mg/day), separated by a 10-day washout period. Each volunteer served as his own control, and the groups' results were compared. We repeated the same evaluation after each stage of treatment to evaluate the safety of the drug. The diuretic effect of EADE was assessed by monitoring the volunteers' water balance over a 24 h period. The E. arvense extract produced a diuretic effect that was stronger than that of the negative control and was equivalent to that of hydrochlorothiazide without causing significant changes in the elimination of electrolytes. There was no significant increase in the urinary elimination of catabolites. Rare minor adverse events were reported. The clinical examinations and laboratory tests showed no changes before or after the experiment, suggesting that the drug is safe for acute use. Further research is needed to better clarify the mechanism of diuretic action and the other possible pharmacological actions of this phytomedicine.