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What is Horse Chestnut?

Horse Chestnut comes from a tree known as the buckeye. The chestnut is native to the Balkan Peninsula and can now be found in Europe and Russia.8 The Horse Chestnut ingredient has been used for hundreds of years to help with a variety of conditions, and most recently one of those conditions are weak veins.

Horse Chestnut seed with 20% aescin, is especially beneficial to those suffering from varicose veins.  There is strong scientific evidence for its role in helping the body heal in cases of chronic venous insufficiency.

The main ingredient in Horse Chestnut is aescin, which is a chemical compound that has anti-inflammatory effects and alleviates certain conditions of the veins.8 Because of the effectiveness of aescin, Horse Chestnut is used to help issues with varicose veins and other vein issues, such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which occurs when the venous walls or valves are damaged thus causing blood to collect in the leg veins.5

Horse Chestnut - Benefits and Uses

Horse Chestnut Benefits for Vein Health

Vein health is important, particularly in your legs. If you feel sensations of aching, burning, or itching around the vein, as well as having tender or sore legs, then Horse Chestnut is likely a great option to get your legs feeling good again. Horse Chestnut enhances the circulatory function and is a direct source of nourishment for veins and valves.1

  1. Horse Chestnut assists with the structural support of veins and helps to increase blood flow. The supplement improves vein health which helps with varicose and spider veins. These are weakened veins and valves in the body that cause unsightly markings under your skin, as well as discomfort or pain.
  2. Help with chronic venous insufficiency is another benefit of Horse Chestnut. This ingredient increases the pressure in the veins so that blood can be pumped more efficiently upward, while also closing gaps in the vein that are contributing to the pooling of blood.

  3. Horse Chestnut reduces pain and swelling while improving circulation.

  4. Relieving pain and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a form of varicose veins that occur in the rectum, Horse Chestnut’s vein supporting ingredient, aescin, is beneficial in relieving pain and discomfort thanks to its ability to reduce swollen blood vessels along with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Additional Horse Chestnut Benefits

The Horse Chestnut has been used for centuries and has been widely used in traditional medicine in Europe since the 16th century.3 Although vein support has been a primary use of Horse Chestnut, there are some other benefits as well.

  • Helps restless legs – Horse Chestnut can improve blood circulation in the body and help repair vein walls, both of which contribute to restless legs.

  • Contains powerful antioxidants – Antioxidants help to prevent damage to cells. Two antioxidants found in Horse Chestnut extract are quercetin and kaempferol glycosides.4 Along with these antioxidants, aescin has also shown very strong antioxidant activity.5

  • Helps support rheumatoid arthritis – Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of Horse Chestnut, it is widely used to support arthritic and rheumatic aches, sprains, and pains.3 In European folk medicine, carrying the fruit in a pocket was believed to prevent or cure arthritis.

Horse Chestnut Warnings & Side Effects

Horse Chestnut provides strong beneficial effects relating to vein support. However, there are some important things to be aware of in regards to dosage and time frame usage, possible side effects, and who should not take it. Remember, with any supplement, if you are taking other medicines and/or have health conditions, it is always suggested to talk to your primary care doctor before adding any supplements to your diet intake.

  • How to use Horse Chestnut
    Make sure to use a trusted brand of Horse Chestnut because homemade preparations can contain a toxic compound.6 The most common dosage is 300 mg containing 50 mg of aescin twice daily for 2-12 weeks.7
  • Side effects of Horse Chestnut include:
    - Dizziness
    - Headache
    - Stomach upset
    - Itching
  • If you are or have one of the following, you should not take Horse Chestnut: 4,6
    - Liver or kidney disease – the disease could become worse.
    - Diabetes – blood sugar could be lowered.
    - Pregnant or nursing – unknown effects, but better safe than sorry.
    - Bleeding disorders – could slow blood clotting.
    - Digestion problems – could irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
    - Latex allergy – it’s been found that those with latex allergy might also be allergic to Horse Chestnut.
    - Taking lithium – could increase the levels of lithium.

Additional Helpful Vein Health Ingredients

Often used in addition to Horse Chestnut, several other ingredients can assist with vein health and support.

  • Butcher’s Broom is an evergreen shrub that is found throughout Europe and North Africa. For 2,000 years, it’s been known for its beneficial effects on the circulatory system, and today, it’s used to help with hemorrhoids and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (e.g. pain, heaviness, leg cramps, leg edema, varicose veins, peripheral vascular disease, itching, and swelling), as well providing anti-inflammatory benefits.9

  • Chromium is a mineral that is needed by humans in small amounts. It’s most effective in the reduction of cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which has a ripple effect on the vascular system.12 High cholesterol and triglycerides can play havoc on veins; therefore, ensuring levels are in a normal range can improve overall vein health.

  • Cayenne, also known as Capsicum annuum, is an annual herb native to the tropical Americas and cultivated throughout the tropics worldwide. Helping with circulatory problems is a primary use of cayenne, as it stimulates circulation and enhances blood flow, which can improve vein health.13

  • Ginkgo Biloba is derived from leaves of the oldest known living tree (the ginkgo tree), which dates back over 200 million years. In addition to being an antioxidant, ginkgo biloba has been shown to improve blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky. With an increase in blood circulation, vein health is benefitted.10

  • Citrus Bioflavonoids are phytonutrients with strong anti-inflammatory effects, which include strengthening capillaries. Furthermore, they enhance the effects of vitamin C (vitamin C is known to support blood vessels) and support blood circulation, which results in reduced swelling, venous backup, and edema.11

Learn More About Horse Chestnut, Related Vein Health, and Ingredient Topics

If the idea of ingredient knowledge has piqued your interest for more information, here are some links where you can feed your curiosity:

We’d love for you to share any insights and tips you have about Horse Chestnut, how you use the supplement, and how it helps with your vein health and arthritis. Share with the LifeSeasons community and support our belief that knowledge is power and our community our life source. 

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Horse Chestnut References:

1. https://www.wellnessresources.com/news/horse-chestnut-for-your-veins
2. https://effectiveremedies.com/benefits-of-horse-chestnut/ 
3. https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/varicose-veins 
4. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-horse-chestnut/ 
5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1055-horse%20chestnut.aspx?activeingredientid=1055&activeingredientname=horse%20chestnut 
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833478/ 
7. http://www.medicinehunter.com/horse-chestnut-varicose-veins 
8. https://lifeseasons.com/butchers-broom 
9. https://lifeseasons.com/ginkgo-biloba 
10. https://lifeseasons.com/citrus-bioflavonoids 
11. https://lifeseasons.com/Chromium 
12. https://lifeseasons.com/cayenne