Known primarily in European phytotherapy as treatment of varicose veins and other lower extremity circulation disorders, Horse chestnut extract is not necessarily new in the field of health supplement manufacture. For thousands of years, Horse chestnut parts such as the leaves, bark and flowers have been used in the production of alternative medicine treatments. From ordinary stomach upset to complicated chronic venous insufficiency problems, experts say that the plant is really effective. A problem lies, however, on the lack of exact pharmacologic explanation on the mechanisms of action of the active components of the drug. In order to establish the health benefits of using Horse chestnut extract and include it in the list of US Food and Drug Association-approved medications, modern scientists are now conducting in-depth laboratory studies on the pharmacodynamic patterns of the extract.
What is Horse chestnut extract?
Horse chestnut extract is a common component of Chinese and European folk medicine for vascular issues. In the past, Horse chestnut teas are also produced to enhance circulation and prevent clogging in blood vessels among elderly patients who are at high risk for atherosclerosis. Experts say that the most essential compound found in Horse chestnut extract is aescin, a potential antioxidant. The compound is also believed to contribute to the immunity response control of the body as well as in the reduction of inflammation brought about by trauma. The extract also contains saponins which primarily enhance blood vessel vascularity to make it less fragile.
Health benefits of Horse chestnut extract supplementation
Various health supplement formulations containing Horse chestnut extract are typically advertised for several health benefits. Some of the known potential effects of using Horse chestnut extract supplements are the following:
- It enhances valve functions
Valves are components of veins which primarily work to prevent backflow when blood is being carried from the extremities towards the heart for re-oxygenation. Among elderly individuals and those who are suffering from certain conditions, venous insufficiency may result when the valves fail to fully close or open during circulation. Studies show that a regular dose of Horse chestnut extract may help enhance valve functions especially among adults who are approaching the elderly stage. It may not be as effective, however, among patients who are already suffering from severe venous insufficiency.
- It may treat hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are also vascular problems brought about by problems in venous return from rectal veins. Patients with hemorrhoids in the early stages may find relief with Horse chestnut extract supplementation but advanced stages of hemorrhoids, especially those which are already in need of surgery, may not benefit from Horse chestnut extract.
- It prevents edema
Edema or the condition associated with the escape of fluid from the vascular tissues into the interstitial spaces of the cells can also be prevented with Horse chestnut extract. Recent researches show that the active components of the extract may help control fluid leaks and treat off edema.