Horse Chestnut


Horse chestnut is a tree. 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 only.

Horse chestnut seed extracts are most commonly taken by mouth to treat varicose veins and other circulatory problems that can cause the legs to swell. There is currently no good scientific research to support the use of horse chestnut for other conditions.


Is a Form of:


Primary Functions:

Varicose veins

Also Known As:

Aescin, Aescine, Aesculus hippocastanum, Buckeye

How Does It Work?

Horse chestnut contains a substance that thins the blood. It also makes it harder for fluid to leak out of veins and capillaries and weakly promotes fluid loss through the urine to help prevent water retention (edema).


  • Poor circulation that can cause the legs to swell (chronic venous insufficiency or CVI).Taking 300 mg of standardized horse chestnut seed extract 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 maritime pine bark for reducing leg swelling and cramps.

Recommended Dosing

The following dose has been studied in scientific research:


  • For poor blood circulation (chronic venous insufficiency): 300 mg of horse chestnut seed extract containing 50 mg of the active ingredient, aescin, twice daily.

Horse Chestnut Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for horse chestnut to work?

It is best to use a horse chestnut product that contains an exact amount of the labeled chemical. Check the label to be sure your product does not contain a toxic substance called "esculin." It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve.

Is Horse Chestnut good for hair growth?

So from dry skin to hair growth, discover some of the most-talked and revered supplements available. High in Omega 3 fats, it helps to 'drench' the skin from inside-out. The one for varicose veins – Horse chestnut seed is well-known for reducing and controlling inflammation, the main cause of varicose veins.

Does horse chestnut affect blood pressure?

Horse chestnut extract appears to impair the action of platelets (important components of blood clotting). These effects result in reduced inflammation and reduced blood pressure. Horse chestnut also reduces swelling by constricting vessels of the venous system and slowing the leakage of fluid out of the veins.

What is horse chestnut pills good for?

Today, people use horse chestnut extract as a dietary supplement for chronic venous insufficiency (when the veins of the lower leg are unable to send blood back toward the heart), hemorrhoids, and swelling after surgery. Preparations made from the tree's bark are applied to skin sores.

What are the side effects of horse chestnut?

Horse chestnut products can sometimes cause side effects such as dizziness, headache, nausea, stomach upset, itching, and calf spasms. Pollen from the horse chestnut flower can cause allergic reactions. Rectal (suppository) use of horse chestnut may cause inflammation and itching in the anal area.

Is Horse Chestnut safe?

Properly processing horse chestnut seed extract removes esculin. The processed extract is considered generally safe when used for short periods of time. However, the extract can cause some side effects, including itching, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, muscle spasm, or headache.

Is horse chestnut extract safe to take?

Summary Horse chestnut seed extract is generally safe to take or use topically. However, there are some reported side effects, interactions with certain medications, and safety concerns associated with certain medical conditions.

Is Horse Chestnut good for skin?

Topical horse chestnut also can soothe varicose veins due to the escin content, which imparts anti-inflammatory and anti-edema activities on capillary permeability. The branch bark of horse chestnut is sometimes used on skin to treat lupus, skin ulcers and eczema.

Is Horse Chestnut good for varicose veins?

May treat varicose veins

Horse chestnut seed extract may improve venous tone by improving blood flow in your legs. Additionally, it may help decrease leg swelling and pain associated with varicose veins.

Is Horse Chestnut good for the heart?

Horse chestnut has been used in alternative medicine and is likely effective in treating some symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (decreased blood flow return from the feet and legs back to the heart). Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA.

Is horse chestnut a diuretic?

Horse chestnut may reduce the absorption of NSAIDs, which are drugs used to treat inflammation. Lithium. Horse chestnut may have a diuretic effect, which could delay how fast your body processes lithium, a medication used to treat psychiatric disorders.

Why are they called horse chestnuts?

When the tree was brought to Britain in 1616 from the Balkans, it was called horse chestnut because the Turks would feed the seeds to their ailing horses. The tree is chiefly grown nowadays for ornamental purposes, in towns and private gardens and in parks, and along streets.

Does horse chestnut shrink hemorrhoids?

The anti-inflammatory properties of horse chestnut seed extract may help relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids by reducing inflammation and swelling in the affected veins. Summary Horse chestnut extract may help relieve hemorrhoid symptoms by reducing pain and swelling, but more research is needed.

What animal eats horse chestnuts?

Despite being called horse chestnuts, conkers can actually be mildly poisonous to some animals. Other animals, such as deer and wild boar, can safely consume them.

Can you cook horse chestnuts?

Don't do it! Even though conkers might look appealing, there's no sensible way you can eat one. And yes, that applies even if you fry, boil or roast them.

Are horse chestnuts poisonous to dogs?

Horse chestnut trees drop hard, dark brown nuts, or conkers, from September onwards. Just like the tree's bark, leaves and flowers, they can be fatal to dogs if ingested. Not only do they pose a choking risk due to their size and shape, they also contain a deadly toxin called Aesculin which is poisonous to pups.

Are conkers horse chestnuts?

Conkers are the glossy brown seeds of the horse chestnut tree. They grow in green spiky cases and fall to the ground in autumn - the shells often split on impact to reveal the shiny conker inside.

Are horse chestnuts poisonous to humans?

Raw horse chestnut seed, leaf, bark and flower are toxic due to the presence of esculin and should not be ingested. Horse chestnut seed is classified by the FDA as an unsafe herb. The glycoside and saponin constituents are considered toxic.

Why are horse chestnuts poisonous?

Raw horse chestnut seed, leaf, bark and flower are toxic due to the presence of esculin and should not be ingested. Horse chestnut seed is classified by the FDA as an unsafe herb. The glycoside and saponin constituents are considered toxic.

Can goats eat horse chestnuts?

Not so the horse chestnut, willow and sweet chestnut - all difficult to digest. But suitable for sheep and goats, which latter animal, The Dendrologist tells us, should never be fed on grass alone. And there are killer trees, or rather trees that make animals sick if they eat the leaves.

Clinical Studies