Horse Chestnut Uses

Horse Chestnut Uses thumbnail
Horse chestnut is readily available at natural food stores and vitamin shops.

Extracts from the horse chestnut plant have been used for hundreds of years to treat certain medical conditions. It is toxic in raw, non-standardized form and the seed is actually classified as unsafe by the FDA, so read the label to ensure the toxic substances have been removed. Properly used, medical research supports some claims of relief from certain painful and harmful conditions by users of this powerful herb.

  1. Scientifically Proven Benefits: Circulation

    Other Reported Benefits

    • Horse chestnut may relieve coughs, fever and other ailments.
      Horse chestnut may relieve coughs, fever and other ailments.

      Horse chestnut users report relief from several other conditions, such as diarrhea, hemorrhoids, phlebitis, fever, cough, enlarged prostrate, eczema, menstrual pain and swelling related to joint conditions such as arthritis and injury. While no clinical trials support these anecdotal claims, horse chestnut contains an ingredient called aescin that is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects, and increase vein tone.

    Risks and Warnings

    • Do not take horse chestnut if you are pregnant or nursing.
      Do not take horse chestnut if you are pregnant or nursing.

      Check with your doctor before taking horse chestnut, particularly if you are on other medications, such as blood thinners. Other conditions that could be exacerbated by horse chestnut include diabetes and digestive, kidney and liver problems. You should not take this herb if you are pregnant or are breast-feeding. If you are allergic to latex, you may also have an allergic reaction to horse chestnut.

    Read the Label

    • Read the label and make sure that esculin has been removed from your horse chestnut formulation.
      Read the label and make sure that esculin has been removed from your horse chestnut formulation.

      The active ingredient in horse chestnut seed extract is aescin. Look for a standardized product containing 50mg of aescin, with the ingredient esculin (or aesculin) removed. Remember that any raw substance from the horse chestnut plant---seed, bark, flower and leaf---is very unsafe and can cause severe conditions such as paralysis, vomiting, weakness and even death. If you buy horse chestnut in a suppository formulation, be aware that you could experience itching and inflammation). Individual side effects may vary, but the research supports safe use for up to three consecutive months. No research has been conducted on its long-term safety.

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