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Horse Chestnut

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Aesculus hippocastanum, Spanish chestnut, buckeye, escine, aescin

Introduction

Horse chestnut is an herb from the leaves and seeds of the horse chestnut tree. It has been used to ease swelling in veins, joints, and muscles. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Horse chestnut can also be made into a tea or used as a cream.

Dosages

300 milligrams twice daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Chronic venous insufficiency —likely to improve symptoms and ease pain A1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

Raw horse chestnut is not safe to take and may be poisonous. Processed horse chestnut is likely safe to take and use on the skin for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:B2

  • People taking blood thinning medicine should talk to their doctor before taking horse chestnut. It may increase the risk of bleeding.B1
 

References

A. Chronic Venous Insufficiency

A1. Pittler MH, Ernst E. Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;11:CD003230.

B. Safety

B1. Heck AM, DeWitt BA, et al. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000 Jul 1;57(13):1221-7; quiz 1228-1230.

B2. Abebe W. Herbal medication: potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2002 Dec;27(6):391-401.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 5/27/2020