A Natural Herbal Remedy For Vascular Problems
Horse chestnut seed extract comes from the dried ripe seeds that are removed from the conkers of the Aesculus hippocastanum tree. The horse chestnut seed has been used by many indigenous cultures for therapeutic purposes to treat specific health issues. Even European phytotherapy has accepted horse chestnut seed extract as a herbal remedy to deal with vascular problems. Folk medicine practitioners from Turkey even encouraged the use of horse chestnut tea to pass kidney stones and soothe an upset stomach. Studies like “Beneficial effects of Aesculus hippocastanum L. seed extract” even suggest that it can even treat hemorrhoid symptoms. Today, the use of horse chestnut seed extract is recommended for the treatment of vascular issues, such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Horse Chestnut Seed Extract Benefits
A compound known as aescin is present in horse chestnut seed extract, which is apparently the reason behind its primary benefits. Based on the study “Effects of escin on acute inflammation,” aescin tends to resist systemic redness. Inflammation or redness is generally a protective response from the immune system and while there are other compounds that temper inflammation, they suppress the immune system to do this. Aescin does not suppress the immune system in order to resist redness and swelling.
Aescin found in horse chestnut seed extract also possesses potent antioxidant properties. The article “Horse Chestnut - Aesculus Hippocastanum” highlights information that reveals that horse chestnut seed extract can help combat free radicals very effectively. In addition, aescin also happens to be a saponin, which means that it is capable of strengthening capillaries in order to assist the vascular system. This makes horse chestnut seed extract very useful to reduce swelling that occurs due to fluid leaking from fragile capillaries.
It has also been claimed that horse chestnut extract can help alleviate leg pain, specifically when it is a symptom of venous insufficiency. Based on studies like “Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency,” it has been discovered that horse chestnut seed extract does indeed help improve symptoms of edema, leg pain and pruritus when taken orally.
Horse chestnut seed extract can also be taken orally for a short period of time to treat mild to moderate blood flow disorder, which is an effect of the aescin found in it.
Horse Chestnut Seed Extract Dosage
The article about horse chestnut on Examine.com claims that the recommended dosage of horse chestnut seed extract falls within the range of 400 milligrams and 600 milligrams. However, apparently the standardization for aescin in the extract is more important than its overall dose, and it should not exceed 150 milligrams per day.
When taking supplements containing horse chestnut seed extract, the article suggests that two capsules or pills should be taken each day. One should be taken preferably at 8 am in the morning and the other at 8 pm in the evening, i.e. 12 hours apart, because it takes 12 hours for aescins to reach baseline concentrations.
Horse Chestnut Seed Extract Side Effects
The study “Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency” has also indicated that consuming horse chestnut extract may result in side effects like dizziness, gastrointestinal complaints, headache, nausea, and pruritis.
Since horse chestnut seed extract contains aescin, which is known to improve blood flow, anyone taking blood thinners, especially warfarin, should avoid its use. Based on the study “Life-threatening rupture of a renal angiomyolipoma,” those suffering from angiomyolipoma should strictly avoid using horse chestnut seed extract as it may cause the angiomyolipoma to rupture. Those suffering from asthma, especially occupational asthma, should also avoid using horse chestnut seed extract as it may act as an allergin.
- J Ethnopharmacol: Beneficial effects of Aesculus hippocastanum L. seed extract on the body's own antioxidant defense system on subacute administration.
- Pharmacol Rep: Effects of escin on acute inflammation and the immune system in mice.
- Int J Cosmet Sci: Horse Chestnut - Aesculus Hippocastanum: Potential Applications in Cosmetic Skin-care Products.
- Arch Dermatol: 1998 Nov;134(11):1356-60. Horse-chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. A criteria-based systematic review.
- Cochrane Database Syst Rev: Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency.
- Examine.com: Horse Chestnut.
- J Emerg Med: Life-threatening rupture of a renal angiomyolipoma in a patient taking over-the-counter horse chestnut seed extract.