Aesculus is well established as an herb to benefit the entire circulatory system, but it is strongest in the venous system and especially the capillaries. It decreases capillary permeability so it decreases fluid accumulation anywhere. It is used to treat chronic venous insufficiency which manifests with swollen legs, varicose veins, pain, tiredness, and cramping in the legs.

It also is used traditionally to treat bruises. As it works the integrity of the blood vessels is established preventing excess loss of blood and other fluids into the tissues, causing the discoloration and swelling often seen with bruises.

Aesculus should never be used over broken skin although it is safe to be taken orally.   “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”  Aesculus nuts should never be eaten raw but always cooked or roasted.  It should be taken daily for 4-6 weeks before seeing positive results for venous insufficiency.  The chestnuts used for medicinal purposes have a bitter taste.  So you probably won’t want to serve them at your Christmas party.

Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut)

Aesculus also has a component that has expectorant effects on the lung. Not many people use it for this purpose because it is so well known or its uses with veins and capillaries that people don’t think of it any other way.

The part of the plant to be used is the fruit or the nut. Early symptoms of overdose include headache, fever and thirst. Dangerous toxic reactions have happened with IV dosing. Oral dosing is generally safe.


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