Horse Chestnut for chronic venous insufficiency: Fact sheet from NCCAM

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, one of the research centers of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health, provides an online fact sheet about the medicinal botanical Horse Chestnut.

Here’s an excerpt:

What It Is Used For

For centuries, horse chestnut seeds, leaves, bark, and flowers have been used for a variety of conditions and diseases.
Horse chestnut seed extract has been used to treat chronic venous insufficiency (a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart). This condition is associated with varicose veins, pain, ankle swelling, feelings of heaviness, itching, and nighttime leg cramping.
The seed extract has also been used for hemorrhoids.

How It Is Used

Horse chestnut seed extract standardized to contain 16 to 20 percent aescin (escin), the active ingredient, is the most commonly used form. Topical preparations have also been used.

What the Science Says

Small studies have found that horse chestnut seed extract is beneficial in treating chronic venous insufficiency and is as effective as wearing compression stockings.
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of horse chestnut seed, leaf, or bark for any other conditions.

Read the entire fact sheet at

See also the NYBC entry Horse Chestnut Pro (MMS) for further information and recommendations for use.


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