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Quest Vitamins LTD,
8 Venture Way,
Aston Science Park,
B7 4AP.

Tel: 0121 359 0056
Fax: 0121 359 0313
Registered in England No. 2530437

Horse chestnut


The horse chestnut tree is native to Asia and Northern Greece, but is now cultivated in many areas of Europe.

Traditionally horse chestnut has been used for the treatment of Varicose veins, Haemorrhoids, phlebitis (Inflammation of the wall of the vein), Diarrhoea, fever and enlargement of the prostate gland.


Horse chestnut has not been used in cooking, but possesses a number of medicinal properties. Horse chestnut has been useful particularly for the treatment of Varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), and related vascular disorders (1).


Horse chestnut seeds contain a complex mixture of triterpene saponins, including: triterpene oligoglycosides eascins, Ia, Ib, Iia, Iib, IIIa, the acylated polyhydroxyoleanene tritepene oligoglycosides eascins IIIb, IV, V and VI and isoeascins Ia, Ib, and V, and the sapogenols hippocaesculin and barringtogenol. Horse chestnut also contains flavonoids, condensed tannins, quinones, sterols, including stigmasterol, alpha spinasterol and betasitosterol and fatty acids, such as linolenic, palmitic, and stearic acids (1).


Chronic venous insufficiency:
Conservative therapy of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) consists largely of compression treatment. However, this often causes discomfort and has been associated with poor compliance, whilst horse chestnut is more tolerable and has shown high compliance. (2)

Many studies have shown a significant reduction of capillary filtration, therefore significant improvements in symptoms of CVI (sensation of tiredness, heaviness and tension, pruritis, pain and swelling in the legs) (1).

In a study involving more than 800 general practitioners, more than 5,000 patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) were treated with standardised horse chestnut extract and followed up at regular intervals. The evolution of the symptoms, tolerability and adverse drug reactions were recorded. All of the symptoms investigated - pain, tiredness, tension and swelling in the leg, as well as Itching and the tendency towards Oedema - all improved markedly or disappeared completely. The results of this study show that treatment with horse chestnut extract represents an economical, practice-relevant therapeutic "pillar", which in comparison with compression has the additional advantage of better compliance (3).


The excellent tolerability of horse chestnut indicates this treatment is of definite clinical benefit in patients with clinical conditions resulting in CVI, haemorrhoids or peripheral oedema formation (4).

Horse chestnut should not be used in patients on oral anticoagulant and/or antiplatelet therapy (5).

Horse chestnut has documented reports of potential interactions with warfarin.


1. "Herbal Medicine" Commission E Monographs. 2000
2. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(1):CD003230
3. Fortschr Med 1996 May 30;114(15):196-200
4. Pharmacol Res 2001 Sep;44(3):183-93
5. Ann Ital Med Int 2000 Apr-Jun;15(2):139-43


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