Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum 


Astringent, Anti-inflammatory

Primary Uses

Hemorrhoids, Phebitis, Minor Wounds,Venous Insufficiency (Related to Varicose Veins)


The horse chestnut tree is widely cultivated for its large seeds known as horse chestnuts. Medical uses date back to nineteenth-century France, where extracts were used to treat hemorrhoids. 

Horse chestnut is most often used to support venous insufficiency. This is a condition associated with varicose veins, when the blood pools in the veins of the leg and causes aching, swelling, and a sense of heaviness. While horse chestnut appears to reduce these symptoms, no studies have evaluated whether it can make visible varicose veins disappear, or prevent new ones from developing.  

Because hemorrhoids are actually a form of varicose veins, horse chestnut is used for them as well, and studies suggests that it may be effective. 2 

Finally, horse chestnut is sometimes used along with conventional treatment in cases where the veins of the lower legs become seriously inflamed (called phlebitis).
Note: Phlebitis is potentially dangerous and requires a doctor's supervision.


The most common dosage of horse chestnut is 300 mg twice daily, standardized to contain 50 mg aescin per dose, for a total daily dose of 100 mg aescin.

Safety Issues

Properly prepared horse chestnut products appear to be quite safe. 1  After decades of wide usage in Germany, there have been no reports of serious harmful effects, and even mild reported reactions have been few in number.

Individuals with severe kidney problems should avoid horse chestnut. Horse chestnut should not be combined with anticoagulant, or blood-thinning, drugs, as it may amplify their effect.



If you are taking aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ticlopidine (Ticlid), pentoxifylline (Trental), or anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin: Do not use horse chestnut except under medical supervision. **


1.  Hitzenberger G. The therapeutic effectiveness of chestnut extract [translated from German]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1989;139:385-389.  

2.  Sirtori CR. Aescin: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic profile. Pharmacol Res. 2001;44:183-193.