Horse Chestnut

A decorative tree of the horse chestnut family with a pyramidal crown. Buds very sticky, up to 2.5 cm long. The leaves are hanging oppositely, radially arranged, with 5 - 9 leaflets. The flowers are white, with red or yellow spots, arranged in upright spikes or bunches. Fruit a spiny knob with 1 or 2 seeds. Blooms in May. The seeds ripen in September.

Practically the whole tree is used in medicine - fruits, leaves, bark, young shoots and flowers. The bark is collected in early spring and immediately dried in the fresh air or in well-ventilated rooms. The leaves are collected during the flowering period, in late June-early July, and dried in the same way as the bark. Forced dryers not exceeding 40C may also be used.

The flowers are collected with the whole inflorescence, drying them in the sun for the first day, and then in a well-ventilated room or in dryers not exceeding 35C. If you use a dryer, drying in the sun is not necessary.

The fruits are harvested when they are fully ripe and fall to the ground by themselves from the tree. Dry them on sieves, in a well-ventilated room, not exceeding a temperature of 55C.

Horse chestnut bark contains flavonoids, coumarin compounds (esculin, fraxin), triterpene saponin escin, tannins, sugars, vegetable fat oils, coumarins, vitamins B and C, phylloquinone.

The leaves contain flavonoids (including rutin), carotenoids, pectins. Rutin, pectin, mucilage substances, flavonoids are found in large quantities in the flowers.

The fruits contain quercetin and kaempferol glycosides, esculin, fraxin, escin, fatty oils, proteins, starch (50%), tannins, vitamins B, C, K, minerals Mg, Mn, Co, I, including selenium.

Medicinal significance

In official medicine, horsetail is used due to its glycoside flavonoids esculin and saponin escin. Esculin reduces the permeability of capillaries, stimulates the antithrombic activity of blood serum, increases the production of antithrombin in the reticuloendothelial system of blood vessels, increases blood filling of veins, especially if they have pathological changes.

Escine reduces blood viscosity (liquefies). And the chestnut extract itself increases the tone of venous vessels, venous flow.

Horse chestnut extracts are able to reduce lymphatic and inflammatory swellings.

Horse chestnut fruit extracts are used to treat vein diseases (mainly varicose veins) and are also used in therapies to treat hemorrhoids. Today, the main researches are focused on the oral use of extracts and their safety.

In folk medicine,   chestnut preparations have been used since ancient times and in different nations.

Chestnut flower infusion (alcohol) has an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect, the fruit has an anti-inflammatory effect, and the fruit peel has a blood-restoring, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect.

Fresh flower juice is used orally for varicose veins, atherosclerosis, thrombophlebitis and hemorrhoids. Flower juice, preserved in alcohol, flower or fruit extract is recommended to be used orally and externally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is used for lubrication in case of arthritis, rheumatic and gouty pain.

Fruit bark decoctions are used directly (baths and rinses) for uterine and hemorrhoidal bleeding. Fruit powder is used to treat colds (respiratory tract).

Decoctions of chestnut bark have astringent, pain-relieving, blood-regenerating, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects.

Chestnut is also used both orally and externally for long and persistent diarrhea, chronic colitis, increased acidity of gastric juice, malaria and chronic bronchitis.

Chestnuts can be used in both fresh and frozen form for the treatment of various wounds.

Not recommended for use

It is not recommended to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding (lactation), in case of low blood pressure, severe kidney and liver diseases, intestinal atony with constipation, menstrual cycle problems. It is also not recommended for children under 12 years of age.

An overdose of chestnut preparations can cause nausea, burning sensation and pain in the heart area!

Understandably, this will apply more to oral use.

Cosmetic significance

Common horse chestnut extracts are used as:

  • Anti-inflammatory agent. The common horse chestnut contains elements capable of stimulating the production of glucocorticoids in the adrenal glands - a hormone that inhibits the activity of enzymes that break down tissues.
  • A vasoconstrictor. Horse chestnut extract reduces the number of pores in the capillary walls and their size. Effectively helps to deal with the vascular strain on the skin.
  • Anti-edematous agent . Horse chestnut extract regulates the flow of fluid in the tissues, diverting it from the capillaries to the blood vessels, thereby reducing the accumulation.
  • Antibacterial agent. Horse chestnut extract suppresses the ability of skin fungi and bacteria to develop.
  • Anti-cellulite remedy. Horse chestnut extract increases microcirculation in the skin and tones it.
  • Strengthening agent. The extract stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, strengthens hair bulbs and prevents hair loss.
  • A protective agent.  The extract is capable of absorbing UV radiation.

The extract of common horse chestnut is found in various medical cosmetics, which are intended to treat thrombophlebitis, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, uterine bleeding.

It is not recommended to use ordinary horse chestnut:

  • During pregnancy;
  • In case of individual plant intolerance;
  • In case of kidney failure;
  • During exacerbations of liver diseases and if blood pressure is lowered;
  • If blood viscosity is reduced.