Alternative names: Aesculus hippocastanum, Aesculus californica, Aesculus glabra, Spanish Chestnut
The horse chestnut has traditionally been used as a remedy for arthritis and rheumatism, as well as for gynecological bleeding, as a tonic, and as a decongestant (tea made from the leaves).
The seeds, leaves, bark and flowers of horse chestnut trees have long been used medicinally.
Horse chestnut seed extract is a safe and effective short-term treatment for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart. Related conditions include varicose veins, leg pain and itching, edema of the ankles, and leg cramps at night.
Varicose veins: Studies have shown that supplementing with horse chestnut seed extract may help relieve the pain and swelling associated with varicose veins.
For hemorrhoids, horse chestnut seed extract has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of pain, itching, burning, and swelling.
Care should be taken when using horse chestnut extract with aspirin, ibuprofen, Coumadin or other drugs that slow clotting, or with drugs that lower blood sugar.
Horse chestnut is often used for chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins – conditions related to phlebitis. For this reason, horse chestnut is sometimes recommended for phlebitis as well, but may be better suited for prevention of the condition.