Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a large tree that is also known as a conker tree. It originates from the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe but it’s native to other parts of Europe and Russia as well. Nowadays, the tree is cultivated in countries with a temperate climate in the Northern hemisphere.

    Despite its name, the horse chestnut is not a real chestnut. It’s called that because it has a shiny brown nut with a green spiky shell that looks similar to a chestnut. But don’t be fooled by this resemblance – horse chestnuts aren’t edible. Avoid consuming raw horse chestnut at all costs because it’s poisonous.

    The bark, flowers, leaves, and seeds of this tree contain saponins and flavones. These ingredients have numerous healing powers that we at Wiki Lawn are about to explore.

    A year in the life of a horse chestnut tree 

    Horse Chestnut Extracts Explained

    Horse chestnut is most famous for the substances it contains. People have been using horse chestnut extract for ages because it helps with various medical conditions.

    One of the top ingredients found in horse chestnut is called aescin. It’s a chemical compound that soothes inflammation and relieves vascular problems. Due to the properties of aescin, horse chestnut extract is often used for treating chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and other issues with venous valves or walls.

    Here’s a list of all identified ingredients:

    • Triterpene glycosides: mainly aescin;
    • Coumarin glycosides: aesculin, scopolin, fraxin;
    • Aglycones: aesculetin, scopoletin, fraxetin;
    • Flavonoids: quercetin;
    • Plant sterols: campesterol, sitosterol, stigmasterol;
    • Allantoin;
    • Leucocyanidin;
    • Tannins

    Aescin is the most commonly used substance from all chemical compounds listed above. But in fact, a horse chestnut extract that contains all of the plant’s ingredients will be more efficient in comparison to just one active component. 

    Horse Chestnut Benefits for Healthy Veins

    Vein problems occur mainly in the legs. The symptoms are itching or burning sensation close to the vein, or pain in the limbs. If this is the case with you, then horse chestnut extract will relieve your hurting legs. It improves the blood circulation and general condition of veins and valves.

    See all vein health benefits of horse chestnut below:

    • Enhances support and blood flow. Horse chestnut helps with the treatment of spider and varicose veins. These are a state of weak veins that result in ache along with unpleasant marks underneath the skin.
    • Reduces soreness and inflammation. Once blood starts rushing through the unhealthy veins as it should normally do, the legs will no longer feel tender. 
    • Treats chronic venous insufficiency. Horse chestnut extract boosts the pressure in veins and thus causes more efficient pumping of the blood upward. It also fixes gaps in the veins.
    • Soothes hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose veins that appear in the rectum. Aescin, the main chemical compound of horse chestnut, alleviates inflammation in the blood vessels and eases the discomfort associated with hemorrhoids. 

    Additional Horse Chestnut Health Benefits

    People across Europe have been using horse chestnut for medical treatment for hundreds of years. The tree extract is beneficial not only for vein problems but for a handful of other health conditions.

    • Relieves cramps in legs. As we mentioned above, horse chestnut enhances blood flow and stretchiness of the veins. These properties affect leg cramps as well.
    • Useful for frostbite and leg ulcers. Horse chestnut has anti-inflammatory features and in these cases can be applied externally as a lotion or ointment.
    • Prevents cell damage. The tree contains kaempferol glycosides and quercetin which are antioxidants that strengthen the cell membranes. 
    • Helpful against rheumatoid arthritis. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, horse chestnut relieves chronic pain in muscles and joints. If you suffer from arthritis, try treating it with horse chestnut extract. An oil extracted from the seeds of the tree can also be applied externally to aching parts of the body.
    • Has an anti-aging effect. The flavonoids found in horse chestnut maintain the elasticity of the skin and it remains young and healthy for longer. 
    • Helpful against skin problems. Horse chestnut not only prevents premature aging but is also useful for treating skin infections, especially eczema.
    • Ensures good health of the digestive system. Horse chestnut seeds are beneficial for the digestive system and can even help with diarrhea.
    • Treats ache in the chest. The root of the horse chestnut contains analgesics that are efficient for relieving chest pain.
    • Boosts women’s health. The extract from horse chestnut leaves alleviates menstrual cramps and pain thus affecting the overall wellbeing of females.
    • Enhances male fertility. The plant can raise sperm density and count.
    • Improves the function of the respiratory tract. The extract from horse chestnut seeds can serve as expectorant and decongestant.
    • Effective for edema. Horse chestnut is useful for treating fluid retention called edema. It’s most helpful when edema is caused by a sports injury or trauma.
    • Helpful against cancer. Although this is not backed up by medical research, it’s believed that horse chestnut can get rid of carcinogenic cells.

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    Patient Warnings for Horse Chestnut

    Some of the chemical compounds found in horse chestnut are considered toxic. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist before you decide to take this substance.

    Herbs and natural supplements have side effects just as traditional medications.

    Possible side effects of horse chestnut

    • Blood-thinning;
    • Allergic reaction;
    • Itchiness;
    • Stomach aches;
    • Swelling;

    Who shouldn’t take horse chestnut extract

    • People who take blood-thinning medications;
    • Pregnant women;
    • Nursing mothers;

    If you experience any of the mentioned side effects, immediately seek medical care.

    The Bottom Line

    Horse chestnut extract can be extremely beneficial for relieving symptoms of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

    It’s also useful for treating other health issues caused by swollen veins such as male infertility and hemorrhoids. 

    Thanks to Its antioxidant features, horse chestnut is used for treating skin problems and other medical conditions.

    This natural supplement can cause side effects or might have an effect on other medications. For that reason, make sure to talk with a healthcare specialist before purchasing and consuming horse chestnut extract.