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Horse Chestnut

Many of the parts of the horse chestnut tree, including the seeds, leaves, and bark, have been used medicinally. However, it is now believed that only the seeds of the horse chestnut offer proven medicinal value.

The seeds of the horse chestnut contain a chemical saponin known as aescin, which in clinical studies has been reported to promote increased blood circulation. This has made horse chestnut a popular treatment, both topically and internally, for chronic venous insufficiency and for varicose veins.

Recent studies indicate that aescin may also possess anti-inflammatory effects useful in reducing oedema - swelling caused by excess fluid - as a result of injury. As a topical application, aescin is popular for treating sprains. Poultices of the seed have been used in connection with skin ulcers and skin cancer, although there are no studies to confirm the effectiveness of this application.

Possible Interactions

It is recommended that horse chestnut not be taken in conjunction with any other medication that thins the blood (coumadin, trental, aspirin, heparin) without medical supervision. There are no major side-effects associated with horse chestnut supplementation.

High doses of horse chestnut seed can be harmful. Symptoms of overdose include diarrhoea, loss of consciousness, enlarged pupils, reddening of the face, visual disturbances, severe thirst and vomiting. If you suspect an overdose, seek qualified medical attention immediately.

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