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The horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a tree that not only impresses with its majestic appearance, but also with its diverse healing powers. It has a special place in the history of naturopathy. Its discovery and use as a remedy goes back centuries, and it is still an integral part of modern phytotherapy today.

The discovery of the horse chestnut

The discovery of the healing power of horse chestnut cannot be traced back to a specific date or event. Rather, it is the result of centuries of observation and use by various cultures. Originally native to the forests of south-eastern Europe and Asia, it arrived in Europe in the 16th century. Healers soon recognized the valuable properties of the chestnut and its bark. The indigenous peoples initially used them as horse feed, from which their name is derived. Later, they also discovered the medicinal properties of the plant.

Horse chestnut: dosage forms and dosage

There are many different ways to take horse chestnut. They range from extracts and teas to ointments, creams and capsules. The most commonly used form for internal use is the extract, which is standardized to the active ingredient aescin.

  • Extracts and capsules: Standardized extracts are preferable for oral use. The usual dosage is around 100-150 mg aescin per day, divided into two to three doses.
  • Ointments and creams: For external use, especially for venous disorders, ointments and creams containing horse chestnut extract are applied to the affected areas two to three times a day.
    Healing effect

It is mainly used to treat venous disorders such as varicose veins, swelling and pain in the legs as well as hemorrhoids. The saponins it contains, especially aescin, strengthen the vein walls and improve blood circulation. This can alleviate symptoms such as swelling and pain.

Other areas of application are

  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
  • Post-operative swelling
  • Bruises and sprains

Horse chestnut: dietary supplements and medicinal plants

Other dietary supplements and medicinal plants can support the therapeutic effect:

  • Vitamin C and flavonoids (e.g. from citrus fruits) strengthen the vascular walls.
  • Butcher’s broom and holly support vein health through their anti-inflammatory and venous toning properties.
  • Ginkgo biloba promotes blood circulation and, in combination with it, can increase the effectiveness of venous disorders.
    Foods with a supportive effect

Certain foods can complement the effect, especially those rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. These include berries, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds and green leafy vegetables.

Horse chestnut: Possible side effects

Although horse chestnut is generally well tolerated, some people may experience side effects. These include gastrointestinal complaints, headaches and dizziness. Skin irritation may occur with external use. People with liver or kidney problems as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a doctor before taking it.

Horse chestnut in naturopathy

Horse chestnut has long been valued in naturopathy. It is used in homeopathy, in herbal teas and as an ingredient in natural vein remedies. Its circulation-promoting and anti-inflammatory effect makes it a valuable natural remedy for a variety of complaints.


Horse chestnut is an impressive example of how nature can provide us with effective remedies. Its versatility and the wide range of conditions it can treat make it an indispensable part of herbal medicine. However, as with all natural remedies, proper use and dosage is important to achieve optimal results and avoid possible side effects.

Published on: 9. April 2024


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