Horse chestnut ( Aesculus Indica,hipposcastanum )  is big and giant tree native in Europe, South Asia mainly in great Himalaya. It’s all parts bark, seed, leaves are used to make medicine.

Horse chestnut seed contains main active ingredient saponin group Aescin ( Escin , beta Escin /Aescin, alpha Escin, krypto-Escin ) 2% to 3% ( Aescin and Escin synonyms )

Esculin (esculoside, Aesculin) coumarin mainly in leaves, bark.

Quercetin 3,4′-diglucosidea, Proanthocyanidin A2,

Leucocyanidin, leucodelphinidin

 

The raw seed skin, leaves, bark contains esculin a Coumarin it is mild poisonous in nature should note take internally.

Horse chestnut extract contains 20% to 90% Escin, where Proanthocyanidin A2 and Esculin are isolated from bark, leaves and seed skin (Seed cortex).

Note: Both seed and leaf of Horse chestnut is mistakenly widely believed to treat varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swollen veins. But only seeds of Horse chestnut should be used because leaf is not safe for this purpose.

1. Horse chestnut aescin benefits in chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

Poor blood circulation in legs veins is the cause of chronic venous insufficiency.

One of its causes is dysfunction of the one-way-Veins valves and decreasing tightness of veins. These one-way-valves allow the blood to flow upwards, by opening and closing.

Your muscles surrounding veins work as pumps that push blood in veins. When these veins valve gets damaged and dropped, you may have swelling, pain, fatigue, tension, and itching in the legs.

Aescin raises the venous tension and tone of veins by the release of Prostaglandin (PGF 2a). It antagonizes to 5-HT, histamine and also reduce the catabolism of vein wall tissue. [ 1 ]

Many clinical studies state horse chestnut Aescin is excellent for chronic venous insufficiency. Horse chestnut reduced the pain, swelling and itching in the legs, ankles as compared to placebos.

An oral supplement of horse chestnut seed extract for 16 weeks shows significant improvement in chronic venous insufficiency based on 543 patient’s clinical trial. [ 2 ] [ 3 ]

2. Horse chestnut aescin cure varicose veins

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins mostly appear blue or purple color.

Aescin give elasticity to veins and tighten muscles shrouding the veins. Muscles maintain positive pressure for pumping blood upwards in veins.

Horse chestnut decreases the enlarged and swollen veins by strengthens the connective tissue between veins and skin.

Oral supplementation dose of Aescin equivalent to 80mg to 120mg per day for 8 weeks may prevent time consuming, painful, and expensive complications of varicose veins. [ 4 ]

3. Horse chestnut aescin reduces swelling and water retention

Swelling is caused by fluid accumulation present in the soft tissue of skin but it is most prominent in legs and feet. This excess fluid leads to causing stiff joints, aching limbs, skin discoloration, and heaviness.

Escin reduces the extra-cellular fluid by decreasing the size of small pores in capillaries and veins. It also enhances venous contractile activity by improving the venous tone. It protects elastin and hyaluronic acid from damaging.

As a result, blood vessels are “sealed” by preventing the leakage of fluid into the tissues decreases the edema and swelling. [ 5

Horse chestnut Aescin inhibits the enzymes elastase and hyaluronidase and thereby protects elastin and hyaluronic acid from the damage.

Aescin reduce water retention / swelling [ 6 ]

Especially in summer our body sweats regularly to regulate the body temperature. Hence in summer sweating creates great problems when you are suffering from Chronic Venous insufficiency and using compression garments all the time.  

Instead of wearing compression garments, taking Horse chestnut (100 mg Aescin in a day for 12 weeks) would be the best option. It will give better result as well as strengthens the veins and nourishes the capillaries. [ 7

4. Horse chestnut aescin improves spider veins

Spider veins are spider’s web like networks of small blood vessels (capillaries) that may appear anywhere on the body. It’s not painful, but if it is in legs and feet then it will be converted to varicose veins after long period.

The capillaries of small veins are dilute by the excess fluid formation in skin surface and lead to spider veins.

Horse chestnut Aescin improves leaky capillaries by reducing the size of small pores of blood vessels. It also blocks the enzyme (elastase and hyaluronidase) responsible for the dilution of small blood vessels.

Horse chestnut Escin increases the connective tissue by protecting the structure of capillaries. [8 ]

Horse chestnut extract can be used externally and internally for the treatment of spider veins and  both combinations can be used for better and fast results. [ 9 ]

It normalizes the vascular permeability by reducing capillary filtration.

5. Horse chestnut aescin improves hemorrhoids (or piles)

Hemorrhoids or piles is the anal varicose veins. You me feel heavy pain, swelling and some time bleeding. It is chronic venous inefficiency (CVI). Veins of anal get enlarged and swollen.

About 50% of adults are having hemorrhoids from time to time however it doesn’t cause symptoms but it causes itching, discomfort and bleeding.

You have already read above the credibility of horse chestnut Aescin in CVI. It seals the small blood vessels (anal veins) and decreases the fluid formation in anus canal. As a result it increases the vein tone and decreases the risk of hemorrhoids.

By taking 40mg of Escin (Aescin) per day, the study was conducted on 80 patients and about 80% of them recovered after 2 months of treatment. [ 10 ]

6. Horse chestnut aescin– very effective anti inflammatory

In most of the studies conducted on Horse chestnut shows it has the ability to reduce the swelling, increases the micro circulation, increases the veins tension and modifies the capillary filtration.

Aescin decreases the formation of inflammation cells (suppresses the neutrophil) and increases ATP level. It gives instant relief by inducing  the nitric oxide syntheses. [ 11 ]

Horse chestnut is traditional folk Medicine in Europe and northern Asia for inflammation and swelling. [ 12 ]

7. Horse chestnut Aescin in anti ageing and anti cellulite

Aescin supports the stabilization of collagen and elastin in the skin. These two proteins are must for new skin cells formation.

Aescin is venotonic, makes veins healthy and especially small blood veins are also called capillaries. The proper function of capillaries boosts skin color tone.

Puffy eyes (Swollen eyes) and dark under-eye circles are very common as you age.

Aescin removes excess extracellular fluid. Puffy eyes are due to excess fluid between skin tissues and muscles of your eyelids. Escin is good for puffiness and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Your cellulite may embarrass you, but it is very common in adult age. Escin favors the microcirculation and reinforces the connective skin tissue.

By all the above function, Aescin is anti-cellulite, reduces bags under eye and wrinkles. [ 13 ]

Nowadays horse chestnut is very popular for the anti-aging cosmetic ingredient

8. Horse chestnut Aescin blood lipid profile

Having horse chestnut seed flour increase in the good fat ie. HDL and decrease in the values of bad fats . Utilization of processed flour in the diet can definitely improve the blood lipid profile.

In animal experiment that 1(%) Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (aescin) reduced the elevated blood cholesterol level whereas exhibited inhibitory effect on lipase activity responsible to decreased level of triglycerides and cholesterol. [ 14 ]

Aescin lowers cholesterol, shows similar effect like pine barks extract and grapes seed extract.

9. Horse chestnut Aescin improves sperm quality

In China, research has been conducted on over 219 male suffering from infertility; they have been given a dose of 60 mg of Aescin for two months. It has shown the improvement of sperm count by 30 %. [15]

10. Horse chestnut beta Aescin good for GUT.

In a research when mice had been given beta Aescin then it has been found to block the effects of serotonin (neurotransmitter). As a result it accelerates the Gut flow (gastrointestinal transit) by decreasing the inflammation. [16 ]

 

11. Horse chestnut seed floor reduces blood sugar.

Processed flour of Japanese Horse Chestnut and different grains decreases blood sugar level in animal study. This would be good dietary food for diabetes and obesity [17] [18]

 

12. Benefits of Horse chestnut in diabetic kidney

 In the case of kidney disease due to diabetes, the regular use of Horse chestnut is very beneficial as it has been proved in the research conducted on mice. It also decreases inflammation without changing sugar level. [19]

 

13. Horse chestnut Esculin may protect obesity

 Horse chestnut (Esculin) inhibits fat accumulation in fat cells by 80%. It boosts glutathione level by 30% and reduces the ROS production required for fat cells formation. [20]

 

14. Horse chestnut may heal leg ulcer

 Diabetic patients always seek complication with foot infection and ulceration. The topical formulation containing aescin represents a valid approach to manage skin wounds and also prevents skin ulcerations in patients affected by diabetes. [21]

 

15. Horse chestnut aescin is a powerful antioxidant

 Aescin is more powerful antioxidant as compare to Vitamin E. The study also indicates antioxidant activity of horse chestnut is accelerated due to presence of flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol). They are well know antioxidants.  [ 22 ]

 

Side effects and adverse effects

  • Horse chestnut seed should be peeled properly (brown shell) before use. Because its bark, leaves and seed shell contains esculin can cause headache, nausea, coma, and paralysis
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking raw bark, leaves and unpeeled seed always cause bad effect. It contains esculin is poisonous for breast feeding women and also during pregnancy.

If you taking supplements of horse chestnut then should be see caution regarding Esculin free or not during pregnancy.

Always prefer 90% Horse chestnut extract (90% Aescin ) there is very less or almost free form esculin is safe for internal use.

 

  • Digestion problems: not recommended if you are taking it in raw form specially bark and leaves.

But Horse chestnut seed extract doesn’t have any problem with bowel movement.

  • Kidney disease: if your renal is disordered there is concern horse chestnut may kidney disease worse. You should take doctor advice before taking it if you have kidney problem.
  • Surgery: Since Horse chestnut might be shot blood clotting so it is suggested to you should stop 2 weeks before surgery.
  • Latex allergy: people have allergy with latex can be chances allergy with horse chestnut bark, leaves, raw seed.

 

Interaction:

  • Horse chestnut reduces the blood clotting, so taking it with medication it might be increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. So avoid with aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
  • Horse chestnut may reduce blood sugar if you are taking medication for blood sugar so both can reduce the sugar level too low and cause hypoglycemia. So take doctor supervision during diabetes.
  • Horse chestnut reduces the fluid it should increase the lithium levels.

Dose

  • For chronic venous inefficiency 120mg Aescin ( 300mg extract of 20% to 40% ) in a day.
  • Standardized horse chestnut extract contains 20% to 90% Aescin as active ingredient.

Aescin 1% to 2% in cream formations applied 3-4 times a day up to 2 months

Uses & Effectiveness

Most effective for

Varicose veins, Spider vein other circulations problems, Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Taking horse chestnut extract ( Aescin 20% to 90%) has shown satisfactory evidence for a clinically significant activity in chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), haemorrhoids, post-operative oedema, anti inflammatory and venotonic properties, pain, tiredness, swelling in the legs, itching, and water retention.

& can be effective (Less evidence)

  • Male fertility: In clinical study horse chestnut can increase the sperm density.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Enlarged prostate.
  • Eczema.
  • Menstrual pain.
  • Soft tissue swelling from bone fracture and sprains, arthritis, joint pain, and other conditions.