The bark of the Horse Chestnut contains fraxin, tannin and above all esculin. The aqaueous solution of this last principle is somewhat fluorescent much more so than quinine sulphate. Odourless, bitter tasting, esculin has been prescribed as a substitute for quinine in intermittent fevers. But it is above all used to help support periodic neuralgia. The bark itself can be been used as a febrifuge and antiseptic. The root is regarded in America as poisonous, hence, the name poison-root. The seed contains an oil used externally for rheumatic and joint pain complaints.
Aesculus hippocastaflum, L. (Hippocastaflaceae), commonly called the Horse Chestnut or Conker tree seed in English. In French, it is Marronier d'inde; in German, Rosskastiensamen or Rosskastanie.
Remedies are made from the horse chestnut seed, supplied whole or in powdered form. Horse chestnut probably came from India originally, but it is now grown in most temperate climates. Large amounts are produced in Eastern Europe.
The naming of this plant is a bit confusing, because Aesculus is the word the Greeks used to describe oak trees. The name horse chestnut probably derives from the fact that during the Middle Ages, fruits of this tree were used to feed cattle and horses. One of the components of the plant, cyclamin, is particularly toxic to fish. In India, fishermen used to put horse chestnut extracts into the water in order to paralyze the fish and make them easier to catch. During the 1500s, horse chestnut made its way from India to Europe where herbalists used the fruits to help support hemorrhoids.
Traditional Support Uses
In addition to supporting hemorrhoids, tea from the fruit was used to help support symptoms of joint pain. Fluid extracts of horse chestnut were used to protect the skin from prolonged sun exposure - the first sun block. Before quinine became widely available, horse chestnut extracts were used to help support fevers. Today, it is mostly recommended against venous insufficiency and for helping support prostate concerns. In Germany, it is the agent most widely used to help support swelling of the legs from venous health issues.
Commission E Recommendations
Horse chestnut can be used to help support itching, leg cramps, post-operative or post-traumatic swelling and varicose veins.
Horse Chestnut's beneficial effects are thought to derive from a group of chemical compounds called saponins - a name given to a group of molecules that resemble steroids, except that they have a sugar molecule attached. Saponins have soap-like effects; when mixed with water, they produce a lather. The saponins contained in horse chestnut are collectively called escins (Ia, Ib, IIa, and IIb). It is not clear whether all the escins, or just one of the subtypes, is medically effective, but horse chestnut extract clearly reduces the swelling seen in the legs of patients with chronic venous insufficiency. The effectiveness of this supportive has been proven in multiple European clinical trials.
How to Use the Herb
The daily dose is 100 milligrams of aescin, corresponding to 250-312.5 milligrams of extract. Take it twice per day in delayed-release form.
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Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
Discontinue use if you experience itching or nausea.
Saponins can be irritating to the stomach. When taken in full therapeutic doses, gastrointestinal upset is likely to result, and some people report itching when large doses are taken. Some recent animal studies suggest that taking too much extract could cause blood sugar concentrations to drop, but such an occurrence has never been reported in humans.
The first-line treatment for leg swelling is compression - wearing surgical stockings to prevent fluid from accumulating, and to force accumulated fluid back into the circulatory system. If horse chestnut is to be used for leg swelling, it should only be used in conjunction with surgical stockings.
Nothing in horse chestnut extract should interfere with standard workplace urine drug screening tests.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."