Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut)
Aesculus Hippocastanum, or Horse Chestnut, is an ayurvedic herbal medication used for the management of diseases caused due to the abnormalities of the blood vessels. It is effective in treating the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency such as improper blood flow from the legs upward to the heart. It can also be used to treat varicose veins. The other medicinal uses of this herb include fever, diarrhea, cough, and menstrual cramps. It is also used to treat arthritis, sprains, strains, and fractures.
HOW IT WORKS
Aesculus Hippocastanum works by improving the health of the veins in the legs. It increases the tone of the muscles in these veins and allows for a proper flow of blood through them towards the heart against the gravitational pull. This helps in the prevention of diseases caused due to the laxity of veins or the valves present in them.
It also protects the blood vessels against the free radical damage. It can improve the venous return and reduce the ankle edema. It can also help to treat the venous and vascular diseases, including the hardening of the arteries, phlebitis, varicose veins, leg ulcers, frostbite, and hemorrhoids by improving the blood flow and the strength of the muscles in the veins.
THINGS TO KNOW
Aesculus Hippocastanum contains triterpene glycosides and aescin. It also contains Coumarin glycosides such as aesculin, scopolin, and fraxin, and the corresponding aglycones, scopoletin, aesculetin, and fraxetin. Aesculus Hippocastanum produces a powerful antioxidant effect that can be attributed to the flavonoids like quercetin present in it.
Aesculus Hippocastanum also contains other bioactive compounds such as Allantoin, tannins, and leucocyanidin. It also contains plant sterols like sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.
These compounds can help in the management of conditions caused due to the reduced blood flow to vital organs such as infarction, thrombosis, and embolisms.
INDICATIONS & USES
- Varicose veins
- Myocardial Infarction
The usual recommended dose of Aesculus Hippocastanum is 400 to 600 milligrams per day. It can be taken with a glass of warm water.
BENEFITS & EFFECTIVENESS
Aesculus Hippocastanum can be used to relieve the symptoms of the disorders caused due to venous insufficiency. It can help to treat venous embolism, varicose veins, myocardial infarction, stroke, and ulcers near the ankles. It can also reduce the complications caused due to varicose veins such as hyperpigmentation of the skin and itching of the legs.
Aesculus Hippocastanum can be used in the management of heart disorders such as myocardial infarction. It can help to prevent hypoxia or an insufficient supply of oxygen to the muscles of the heart as well as the endocardium. This action of Aesculus Hippocastanum ensures the heart receives an uninterrupted supply of oxygen and other nutrients and thus, enhances the health of this organ.
Myocardial infarction and angina occur due to the lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Aesculus Hippocastanum can reduce the risk of these diseases. This benefit of Aesculus Hippocastanum can be attributed to the presence of Aescin in it.
Aescin works by preventing the action of some substances that produce superoxide radicals and decrease the nitric oxide bioavailability. Aescin ensures relaxation of the blood vessels and a proper flow of blood to the heart thus preventing myocardial infarction and angina.
Aescin also stimulates the nitric oxide production in the endothelium and increases the permeability of the endothelial cells to calcium. It increases the nitric oxide synthase activity in the endothelium. This action of Aesculus Hippocastanum is beneficial for reducing the risk of endocarditis. (1)
Chronic venous insufficiency
Disorders caused due to the chronic venous insufficiency can be managed well with the help of Aesculus Hippocastanum. Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition caused due to the inability of the veins to pump blood to the heart. This results in discoloration, edema, and itching of the legs. Varicose vein is a common condition caused due to chronic venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins occur due to the laxity or the improper functioning of the walls of the veins. This makes it hard for the veins to push the blood upward from the legs toward the heart, causing it to pool or collect in the legs. This results in more pressure on the walls of the veins due to which they become lax, and swollen leading to varicose veins.
Aesculus Hippocastanum can help to treat this problem by producing a vasodilatory effect. It improves the blood circulation and strengthens the muscles in the vessel walls. It also provides relief from the symptoms of this disease such as itching of the skin on the back of the legs, pain in the legs, and cramps.
Additionally, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and prevents damage to the veins of the legs. This helps to prevent worsening of varicose veins. It can be used to prevent ulceration along the skin of the calf caused due to severe varicose veins. It can also prevent edema in the legs that occurs due to the pooling of excessive blood. (2)
The antioxidant effect of Aesculus Hippocastanum provides protection to the veins against free radical damage and prevents progressive worsening of varicose veins.
SAFETY & TOXICOLOGY
The use of Aesculus Hippocastanum may cause a few side effects such as stomach upsets, headache, dizziness, loose motions, and abdominal discomfort. Patients using medications for the treatment of blood clotting disorders should avoid using this herb as it may interfere with the action of these drugs and cause serious consequences.
The use of Aesculus Hippocastanum must also be avoided by the patients suffering from diabetes as it may lower the blood sugar level significantly resulting in hypoglycemia.