Horse chestnut: natural remedy for blood circulation with venotonic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oedematous action

What is horse chestnut? The word chestnut makes us think of autumn, but above all it is necessary to clarify that here we will not talk about chestnuts , since the fruit of the horse chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum ) is not edible.

This tree and that of the common chestnut ( Castanea sativa ) present great differences, both in their size and in their fruits. The fruit of the horse chestnut is rounder and is covered by a hedgehog with less hair and harder.

The horse chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum ) is an ornamental and medicinal tree native to North Asia.

In traditional medicine it is used for the treatment of ailments such as bacterial dysentery, fevers, benign prostatic hypertrophy, alterations of the circulatory, respiratory and urinary systems .

In traditional Turkish medicine, the tea prepared from the seeds was used to treat kidney stones and stomach pain , while a fraction of the seed was swallowed to improve hemorrhoid symptoms .

At the moment, the therapeutic indication approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) is the oral treatment of venous insufficiency .

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Bioactive components and therapeutic action

The plant part with therapeutic activity is found in the dried seeds, containing not less than 3% of glycosylated triterpenes expressed as Aescin or escin.

It also contains di flavonoids and triglycosides of quercetin and Kaempferol, proanthocyanidin aninos, and carbohydrates, mainly starch and oligosaccharides, pectin, mineral salts, vitamin P and tannins .

The main pharmacological properties of horse chestnut are attributed to beta-Aescin, with venotonic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and anti-oedematous action . By preventing fluid retention, they serve to prevent edema formation and fortify blood vessels.

Benefits of using horse chestnut

As we have commented previously, in traditional medicine horse chestnut is used for disorders of the prostate, urinary, respiratory and circulatory systems .

Due to its bioactive components, in particular aescin and the action of vitamin P, it favors the increase of resin in the capillaries and tones and strengthens the veins .

It has an anti-inflammatory and vasodilator effect .

Horse chestnut is very useful to treat and prevent fluid retention, as well as to prevent the formation of edema and fortify blood vessels.

It is one of the best natural remedies to deal with all types of venous congestion such as varicose veins, phlebitis and hemorrhoids .

Horse chestnut can also be useful as a menstrual regulator .

The presence of flavonoids relieves the feeling of heavy legs. That is why horse chestnut is the main ingredient in this cream for tired legs that soothes us.

It is usually incorporated as a component of sunscreen , since it repels radiation, and the components are studied for their incorporation in the treatment of leukemia.

The astringent action of horse chestnut helps to stop bleeding and heal wounds, however, it is not used directly on wounds or irritation, but under strict control of the preparation.

horse chestnut benefits

How to use horse chestnut

The only well-established use is in the oral symptomatic treatment of chronic venous insufficiency, characterized by leg swelling , varicose veins, feeling of heaviness, pain, fatigue, itching, tension, and calf cramps . You can prepare the horse chestnut infusion at home.

There are also, for cutaneous use, semi-solid forms recognized by the HMPC (Herbal Medicines Committee ) of the European Medicines Agency.

These gels are indicated for the treatment of heavy legs caused by minor circulatory problems or for the relief of sprains such as edema or hematoma.

The dosage for the gel is to apply a thin layer 1 to 3 times a day on the affected area, and its use can be prolonged unless hypersensitivity or infection reactions occur.


Contraindications of horse chestnut

As we always do, we recommend that medicinal plants are always used under the supervision of a health professional who tells us what treatment we should follow.

Its use is not recommended in people with hypersensitivity to the active substance or to plants of the hippocastanaceae family , as well as in pregnant women and during lactation. Its use in children and adolescents is also excluded, due to the absence of studies that certify its safety.

The concomitant use of aescin with other nephrotoxic drugs, coagulants or anticoagulants is not recommended. Some authors also point out that the toxicity of aescin could be enhanced by beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillins and cephalosporins.

Although absorption is greater in the absence of food, there is also the risk of gastric damage, so it is preferable to take it after meals.

Treatment should be stopped and a doctor should be consulted in case of skin inflammation, thrombophlebitis or induration of the skin, sudden swelling of the legs, kidney, liver or heart failure.

Due to the presence of esculin, a toxic component ( LD50 of the order of 1000mg / kg ), consumed in significant quantities can cause vomiting, spasms and kidney problems, among others.



  • “Phytotherapy for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency. The horse chestnut ”, Ma. Teresa Sánchez de Membiela. Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences-Phytotherapy, Complutense University of Madrid. 2011.
  • “Pre-clinical and clinical studies of selected plant species from countries belonging to Mercosul and toxicological aspects”, Camile Cecconi Cechinel-Zanchett. Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universidade do Vale. 2017.
  • “Fluid extract of horse chestnut”, Rosa Elena Dueñas SA de CV Laboratory of herbal remedies.
  • “Horse Chestnut. Aesculus hippocastanum L. “, Herbs Collection, El País, Uruguay. 2014.
  • “Eat … before they cool down”, Jesús Sáenz de Pipaón Alfaro.

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