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Horse Chestnut

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What other names is Horse Chestnut known by?

Aescin, Aescine, Aesculus hippocastanum, Buckeye, Castaño de Indias, Châtaignier de Mer, Châtaignier des Chevaux, Chestnut, Escine, Faux-Châtaignier, Hippocastani Cortex, Hippocastani Flos, Hippocastani Folium, Hippocastani Semen, Hippocastanum Vulgare Gaertn, Marron Europeen, Marronnier, Marronnier Blanc, Marronnier Commun, Marronnier d'Inde, Marronnier des Chevaux, Pu, Spanish Chestnut, Venastat, Venostasin Retard, Venostat, White Chestnut.

What is Horse Chestnut?

Horse chestnut is a plant. Its seed, bark, flower, and leaves are used to make medicine. Horse chestnut contains significant amounts of a poison called esculin and can cause death if eaten raw.

Be careful not to confuse aesculus hippocastanum (Horse chestnut) with aesculus californica (California buckeye) or aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye). Some people call any of these plants horse chestnut. This information applies to aesculus hippocastanum.

Horse chestnut seed and leaf are used for treating varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swollen veins (phlebitis).

Horse chestnut seed is used for diarrhea, fever, and enlarged prostate.

Horse chestnut seeds can be processed so that the active chemicals are separated out and concentrated. The resulting "extract" is used for treating a blood circulation problem called chronic venous insufficiency.

Horse chestnut leaf is used for eczema, menstrual pain, soft tissue swelling from bone fracture and sprains, cough, arthritis, and joint pain.

Horse chestnut branch bark is used for malaria and dysentery.

Some people apply horse chestnut branch bark to the skin for lupus and skin ulcers.

Likely Effective for...

  • Varicose veins and other circulatory problems (chronic venous insufficiency). Taking horse chestnut seed extract containing 16% to 20% of the chemical aescin can reduce some symptoms of poor blood circulation, such as varicose veins, pain, tiredness, swelling in the legs, itching, and water retention. However, some early research suggests that horse chestnut might be less effective than Pycnogenol for reducing leg swelling and cramps.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate horse chestnut for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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