Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Horse Chestnut Extract

Horse chestnut is a deciduous tree also known by the name, conker tree. Closely related to the buckeye tree, its usage in herbal medicine has been known for centuries. Today, it is cultivated on a wide scale in temperate climatic conditions. Nearly all parts of this tree (leaf, bark, flower and seeds) contain therapeutically active chemicals, and are used for medicinal purposes. When we say horse chestnut extract or horse chestnut seed extract, it is a processed product derived from the seeds.

Horse Chestnut
What is Horse Chestnut Extract?
For isolation of horse chestnut extract, the seeds are processed under sterile and controlled conditions. It contains active ingredients in pure and concentrated form. Of the several active chemicals, the most valuable component is aescin (also spelled as escin). Chemically, it is a blend of triterpenoid saponins, which are neuroprotective, anticancer and anti-inflammatory in action. Other useful constituents are favonoids, tannins, coumarins, phytosterol, amino acids and citric acid.

The therapeutic property of aescin is thinning of blood, and reducing the risk for leakage of blood from the capillaries. Overall, it strengthens the blood vessels and enhances blood flow. In the standardized form of horse chestnut seed extract, the percentage content of aescin is maintained at 16 - 20 percent. In alternative medicine, horse chestnut seed extract is mentioned to be a safe product for consumption, provided that it is unadulterated, dosage is correct and intake period is short-term.

Horse Chestnut
Horse Chestnut Extract Benefits
The application of horse chestnut extract for varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency and other blood circulatory conditions is documented in herbal medicine. In chronic varicose insufficiency, blood from the legs is not circulated back to the heart as it should. Other than treating circulatory diseases, this seed extract is claimed to be effective for other medical problems. For your reference, the purported horse chestnut seed extract benefits are highlighted below.

- Horse chestnut extract is effective for treating painful hemorrhoids.

- Use of this extract is also documented for treating edema. It increases fluid loss through urination, thereby minimizing water retention problems.

- In treating chronic venous insufficiency and other circulatory problems, the effectiveness of horse chestnut seed extract is compatible to using compression stockings (a medical hosiery).

- Its anti-inflammatory property makes it an excellent remedy for treating sprains and injury related tissue swelling.

- Poultices prepared with horse chestnut extract is applied for combating eczema symptoms, skin ulcer and alike skin conditions.

- Other claimed benefits of this extract include treatments for diarrhea, skin sores, fever, whooping cough, back pain and arthritis pain. However, there are very less scientific reports that support these claims.

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