Horse Chestnut – Read All Benefits, Reviews & How to Use It

Used in herbal medicine, horse chestnut is known for its veinotropic properties , but also for its beauty and health benefits . Pierce all the mysteries of Horse Chestnut extract and discover how it can relieve you.

Origin and description of horse chestnut

Also called white chestnut and horse chestnut, horse chestnut is native to Asia Minor. Its use is known to relieve the symptoms of venous insufficiency in the legs: itching, cramps, heaviness … Traditionally, it is used to relieve hemorrhoids.

The horse chestnut is a tree that can measure up to 30 meters and live over 300 years. This large tree grows wild in temperate areas. Its leaves are webbed, its trunk is gray-brown and on its stem, between five and seven pointed leaflets can be found. The flowers are on their side white, spotted with red or pink and fragrant. The fruit is surrounded by a round or oval capsule. The latter is covered with pale green spines and contains one or two brown, inedible seeds.

The name “horse chestnut” has been given to the fruit, which is reminiscent of chestnuts.

In herbal medicine, the seeds, bark and buds are used.

Good to know: the mechanism of action of seeds is not fully elucidated. On the other hand, escin is thought to be the main asset.

Horse Chestnut

Its different health benefits

Horse chestnut can be used internally and externally . Internally, here’s why it will benefit you:

  • Its tonic effect, anti-inflammatory and decongestant;
  • Its anti-haemorrhagic action;
  • Promote vasoconstriction (decrease in the caliber of a vessel by the contraction of muscle fibers);
  • Its venous tonic effect;
  • Its decongestant side.

Externally, it can be used to relieve pain and heaviness in the legs, reduce frostbite, reduce swelling of the skin and reduce dark circles.

Here are some explanations on the different effects of horse chestnut.

Powerful venotonic (venous tonic)

If you suffer from water retention, venous insufficiency, varicose veins, varicose ulcers or edema in the lower limbs, the horse chestnut can relieve you with its various properties:

  • Anti-oedematous effect : If you have water retention or if you have edema, horse chestnut will reduce the permeability of your veins and prevent liquids from getting into the tissues abnormally.
  • Action on blood viscosity : blood circulation is better.
  • Effect on the tone of the venous tissue : the veins are less flaccid and more elastic.

Effective against hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a very particular deformation of the veins. They are also very painful. To relieve yourself, you can use horse chestnut at the first sign .

Decongestant action

Horse chestnut also has a decongestant effect on the liver. This organ is strained because of excess food and pollutants. All this can lead to a state of congestion thus hindering a good venous return. Thanks to the horse chestnut, this situation of congestion and congestion will be remedied. You will feel much better, and your liver too!

Relieves heavy legs

Because of its flavonoids, horse chestnut tightens the lining of blood vessels and prevents “leakage” of salt, protein and water caused when the veins are dilated and permeable. Thanks to this action, the blood circulates better and so relieves in case of heavy legs.

Acts on cellulite

If cellulite can be purely adipose , sometimes it is accompanied by water retention. Generally, it worsens during heat and lodges mainly at the knees and ankles. In this case, it must be treated as a venous insufficiency. The horse chestnut can help you remedy this problem.

Attenuates some pains

By giving elasticity and firmness to the tissues and decongesting the vessels , the horse chestnut will relieve you in some cases (if you have pain during menstruation, for example).

Other uses

Horse chestnut can also be used to:

  • Promote better cardiovascular health;
  • Prevent rheumatism and low back pain;
  • Reduce certain disorders related to capillary and cutaneous fragility.

Does horse chestnut have any contraindications and side effects?

Horse chestnut contains esculin , a poisonous substance. But the products marketed are exempt.

As for its contraindications, it is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use it. This contraindication is also valid for young children, but also for people suffering from diabetes, liver or kidney failure.

In all other cases, it is important to consult your doctor so that he gives you his opinion on the use of horse chestnut.

Precautions for use

Decoctions, gels and creams based on this plant should not be applied to ulcerated wounds.

Possible interactions with drugs and plants

The standardized horse chestnut extract has been shown to have a hypoglycemic effect . It can not be combined with plants with this same property.

In contrast, horse chestnut can be used with sweetclover to reduce problems of venous insufficiency. In case of varicose ulcers, it may be associated with horsetail. And to treat hemorrhoids, using it in addition to red vine and cypress is a good solution.

As for drugs, it is not recommended to associate horse chestnut with hypoglycemic, anti-coagulant and lithium-containing treatments.

How to use it and what are its dosages?

Horse chestnut can be found in various forms: infusion, mother tincture, decoctions, horse chestnut extract, capsules, cream and gel. The dosages are as follows:

  • Capsules: between one and two, three times a day (to swallow with a glass of water). This form is effective for treating venous insufficiency and circulation problems.
  • Infusion: leaves and bark should be used.
  • Mother tincture: 50 drops morning and evening to dilute in a little water.
  • Decoction: to prepare with bark and leaves and to apply on painful varicose veins.
  • Gel or cream: Apply gently massaging.
  • Horse chestnut extract normalized escin (between 16% and 20%): between 250 and 375 mg twice a day (to be taken during meals).

Horse chestnut as a dietary supplement

As explained, horse chestnut can be used to relieve the symptoms of venous insufficiency and to treat hemorrhoids. Depending on the pain to relieve, the dosage varies. Your doctor can guide you to the dosage to follow and best suited to your needs.

Horse chestnut: what are its advantages and disadvantages on health?

  • Effective for reducing venous problems
  • Relieves other disorders such as edema, cutaneous fragility and capillary.
  • Attenuates cellulite
  • Facilitates blood circulation
  • Relieves in case of heavy legs
  • Attenuates dark circles
  • Available in various forms.

Horse chestnut therefore has some interesting health benefits. On the other hand, it has the following drawbacks:

  • It has some toxicity (so it is better to choose the horse chestnut extract standardized in escin)
  • Dosages to be respected

Horse chestnut extract: what does it really take to think?

Horse chestnut seeds are therefore effective in treating problems related to venous insufficiency . In fact, the World Health Organization, Commission E and ESCOP have recognized the effectiveness of horse chestnut extract in relieving the symptoms of venous insufficiency in the legs (swelling, cramps pain, itching, heaviness).

Horse chestnut is also effective in dealing with circulatory problems. On the other hand, it should not be considered as a miracle cure for this poor circulation.

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