Drugs A - Z

Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.)

an herbal product - treats Chronic venous insufficiency

Generic Name: horse chestnut

Brand Names: Venastat


Herbs & Supplements


Aescin, aescine, Aesculaforce®, aescule, aesculetin, buckeye, bongay, chestnut, conkers, conquerors, coumarins, eschilo, escin, escina, escine, fatty acids, fish poison, flavonoids, graine de marronier d'Inde, fraxetin glucoside, fraxin, HCSC, H. vulgare Gaertnhestekastanje, Hippocastabi folium, Hippocastanaceae (family), Hippocastani semen, horsechestnut, horse chestnut seed extract, HCSE, linolenic acid, Marron Europeen, Marronier, NV-101, palmitic acid, quinines, Rokastaniensamen, rosskastanie, scopoletin glucoside, scopolin, Spanish chestnut, steric acid, sterols, tannins, Venastat®, Venoplant®, Venostasin®.


Horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE) is widely used in Europe for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a syndrome that may include leg swelling, varicose veins, leg pain, itching, and skin ulcers. Although HCSE is traditionally recommended for a variety of medical conditions, CVI is the only condition for which there is strong supportive scientific evidence.

Side effects from HCSE have been similar to placebo in clinical trials. However, due to an increased risk of low blood sugar, caution is advised in children and people with diabetes.


DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Chronic venous insufficiency: Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that is more commonly diagnosed in Europe than in the United States and may include leg swelling, varicose veins, leg pain, itching, and skin ulcers. There is evidence from laboratory, animal, and human research that horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE) may be beneficial to patients with this condition. Studies report significant decreases in leg size, leg pain, itchiness, fatigue, and "tenseness." There is preliminary evidence that HCSE may be as effective as compression stockings.
Grade: A


WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Angiogenesis, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH or enlarged prostate), bladder disorders (incontinence, cystitis), bruising, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), gall bladder disease, gall bladder infection (cholecystitis), gall bladder pain (colic), gall bladder stones (cholelithiasis), hemorrhoids, kidney diseases, leg cramps, liver congestion, lung blood clots (pulmonary embolism), menstrual pain, nerve pain, osteoarthritis, pancreatitis, post-operative/post-traumatic soft tissue swelling, rectal complaints, rheumatoid arthritis, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), skin conditions, ulcers, varicose leg ulcers, varicose veins, vein clots (deep venous thrombosis), whooping cough.


Adults (18 years and older)

A dose of 300 milligrams every 12 hours, for up to 12 weeks (containing 50 to 75 milligrams of escin per dose), has been taken by mouth. A dose of 600 milligrams of chestnut seed extract per day has also been studied.

A gel preparation of horse chestnut containing 2% escin (applied to the skin 3-4 times daily) has been studied for bruising, without clear benefits.

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) has been reported with intravenous use. Horse chestnut leaf has been associated with liver inflammation (hepatitis) after injection into muscle.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend use of horse chestnut in children. Deaths have been reported in children who ate raw horse chestnut seeds or tea made from horse chestnut leaves and twigs.

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