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 Herbal Materia Medica: Horse Chestnut 
Aesculus hippocastanum


Names: Do not confuse with its North American relative Aesculusglabra, Buckeye.

Habitat: Native to Northern Asia but widely cultivated, common in Britain.

Collection: The ripe chestnuts should be gathered as they fall from the trees in September

Part Used: The fruit, that is the Horse Chestnut itself.

Constituents: Saponins, a complex mixture known as "aescin", composed of acylated glycosides of protoaesigenin and barringtogenol-C and including hippocaesculin and many others.

Actions: Astringent, anti-inflammatory.

Indications: The unique actions of Horse Chestnut are on the vessels of the circulatory system. It seems to increase the strength and tone of the veinsin particular. It may be used internally to aid the body in the treatment of problems such as phlebitis, inflammation in the veins, varicosity and haemorrhoids. Externally it may be used as a lotion for the same conditions as well as for leg ulcers. King's Dispensatory gives the following specific indications and uses: visceral neuralgia, due to congestion; soreness of the whole body, with vascular fullness, throbbing, andgeneral malaise; throbbing, fullness, and aching in the hepatic region; rectal uneasiness with burning or aching pain; sense of constriction, with itching; large, purple pile-tumors; uneasy sensations and reflex disturbances depending upon haemorrhoids or rectal vascular engorgement.

Combinations: Other cardiovascular tonics such as Hawthorn, Linden, Ginkgo and Yarrow.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried fruit and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day or used as a lotion. Tincture: take l-4 ml ofthe tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Aesculus

Horse ChestnutBoiadzhiev Ts Tomov T [Experimental studies on the action of total extracts of Aesculushippocastanum L. (horse chestnut) on cellular respiration]

Eksp Med Morfol (1973) 12(1):11-4 Published in BulgarianHagen B [The action mechanism of aesculus extract]

Med Klin (1970 Aug 28) 65(35):1534-7 Published in GermanKonoshima T Lee KH Antitumor agents, 82. Cytotoxic sapogenols from Aesculushippocastanum.

J Nat Prod (1986 Jul-Aug) 49(4):650-6Kronberger L Golles J [On the prevention of thrombosis with aesculus extract]

Med Klin (1969) 64(26):1207-9 Published in GermanKunz K Schaffler K Biber A Wauschkuhn CH [Bioavailability of beta-aescin after oral administration of twopreparations containing aesculus extract to healthy volunteers]

Pharmazie (1991 Feb) 46(2):145 Published in GermanSenatore F Mscisz A Mrugasiewicz K Gorecki P Steroidal constituents and anti-inflammatory activity of the horse chestnut(Aesculus hippocastanum L.) bark.

Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper (1989 Feb) 65(2):137-41Sokolova VE [Effects of horse chestnut (Aesculus hyppocastanun) on the course ofexperimental arteriosclerosis in rabbits]

Patol Fiziol Eksp Ter (1969 Jan-Feb) 13(1):84-6 Published in RussianTsutsumi S Ishizuka S [Anti-inflammatory effects of the extract of Aesculus hippocastanum L.(horse chesnut) seed]

Shikwa Gakuho (1967 Nov) 67(11):1324-8 Published in JapaneseTsutsumi S Ishizuka S [Anti-inflammatory effect of Aesculus extract]

Shikwa Gakuho (1967 Oct) 67(10):1249-54 Published in Japanese

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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