The antioxidant activity of an aqueous extract (infusion) and respective ethyl acetate fraction of Equisetum telmateia Ehrh. (Equisetaceae), a plant used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, has been evaluated by DPPH, TEAC and TBARS assays. A high and significant antioxidant activity was detected in the ethyl acetate fraction. Analysis of the aqueous extract and the ethyl acetate fraction by HPLC-PAD-ESI/MS allowed the identification of the major phenolic compounds as flavan-3-ol, kaempferol and phenolic acid derivatives. Among the flavan-3-ols, A-type proanthocyanidins and afzelechin derivatives were detected as well as the more common B-type procyanidins, B2 and C1, whose identification was further confirmed by HPLC using detection involving chemical reaction with p-dimethylamino-cinnamaldehyde. The results suggest that the anti-inflammatory activity of E. telmateia could be due, at least in part, to the presence of compounds with antioxidant activity.