horse chestnut seed extract for varicose veins

Horse Chestnut Seed Extract For Varicose Veins: Does It Work?

Varicose veins can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, even causing pain and discomfort in some cases. A natural remedy for varicose veins that has gained traction in recent years is Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCSE). But does HCSE actually work? In this blog post, we'll take a look at the science behind using HCSE as a treatment option for varicose veins and walk you through the potential benefits, drawbacks, and risks of taking it. Read on to learn more about it!


What Are Varicose Veins and Their Symptoms?

Veins are a vital part of the circulatory system, responsible for transporting deoxygenated blood from different body parts back to the heart. They are specially designed with one-way valves to prevent the backflow of blood, ensuring its upward movement towards the heart against gravity. 

This mechanism is particularly active in the legs, where the distance to the heart is greatest. When in optimal condition, veins contribute to maintaining a healthy and efficient circulatory system. They aid in the swift removal of waste products from the cells, support the regulation of body temperature, and contribute to maintaining fluid and pH balance in the body.

Varicose Veins Are Enlarged, Twisted Veins Visible Just Beneath The Skin's Surface

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the surface of the skin. They most commonly occur in the legs but can develop anywhere in the body. Varicose veins occur when the valves within the veins stop functioning properly, causing blood to pool and veins to enlarge. 

Symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Aching pain and discomfort.
  • A heavy or burning sensation in the legs.
  • Swelling in your lower legs.
  • Itching around one or more of your veins.
  • Changes in color or hardening of the vein.

In severe cases, varicose veins can lead to skin ulcers and blood clots.

Varicose veins commonly occur in women due to various factors such as hormonal imbalances, genetics, obesity, pregnancy, diet, constipation, lifestyle habits, and nutrition...

Horse Chestnut Seed Extract For Varicose Veins - Does It Really Work?

Research suggests that Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCSE) may alleviate varicose vein symptoms. This extract is believed to contain a compound called aescin, which can enhance vein elasticity and reduce inflammation. To further clarify this assertion, let's delve into the explanation below!

Does Host Chestnut Seed Extract Help With Varicose Veins?

Scientific About Horse Chestnut Extract For Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

There is a substantial body of research on the efficacy of horse chestnut extract for varicose veins, and many findings suggest its potential effectiveness.

A study [1] investigating the effectiveness and safety of horse chestnut for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) found improvements not only in subjective symptoms such as leg cramps, pain, and itching but also in reducing leg volume and individual calf circumference. This demonstrates the potential and effectiveness of horse chestnut extract for CVI and varicose veins.

Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study [2] involving 22 CVI patients also concluded the effectiveness of horse chestnut extract in inhibiting edema formation by reducing capillary filtration, thereby improving CVI and varicose veins symptoms.

In addition, An article on "Varicose Veins: Diagnosis and Treatment" [3] proposed horse chestnut extract as an herbal supplement to alleviate varicose veins symptoms, though it emphasized the need for further research on its effectiveness and safety.

The research suggests that HCSE is well-tolerated and can be considered a viable option for treating patients with mild to moderate venous insufficiency.

A comprehensive synthesis study conducted in 2009 [5] concluded that the primary effects of horse chestnut seed extract include anti-edema, anti-inflammatory, and venotonic properties. The anti-inflammatory effects involve scavenging free radicals and reducing vascular permeability. These effects highlight the potential of horse chestnut extract for varicose veins.

Additionally, another meta-analysis study by Bedard et al. [6] conducted their research on horse chestnut for varicose veins and concluded the utility of horse chestnut extract for varicose veins based on their analysis of 13 different randomized trials meeting their criteria.

In conclusion, wide-ranging research suggests that Horse Chestnut Seed Extract can be a potentially effective treatment for varicose veins, providing symptom relief and improving vein function. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and venotonic properties stand out as key components of its therapeutic effects. However, like any treatment, it must be used judiciously and under supervision. 

In the following section, we will explore its mechanism and how horse chestnut extract helps with varicose veins in detail!

How Does Horse Chestnut Extract Help with Varicose Veins?

The mechanism of action for horse chestnut seed extract is believed to involve several components, including its anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and venotonic properties. 

As mentioned earlier, the main active ingredient in HCSE is aescin, which contains molecules that are capable of scavenging free radicals and reducing vascular permeability. Scavenging free radicals prevents oxidative damage of veins, thereby reducing inflammation and discomfort associated with varicose veins [6]. 

At the same time, it reduces vascular permeability, which helps to restore normal endothelium function and reduce edema formation [6], [2]. This improves blood flow in the legs, resulting in a reduction in pain and cramps due to varicose veins. 

In addition, aescin has also been found to strengthen capillaries and veins, thereby improving their elasticity and flexibility. This helps the veins to easily contract and expand with activity levels, resulting in improved venous blood flow and reduced pressure on the legs. 

Summary: Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCSE), rich in the compound aescin, shows promising potential in alleviating varicose vein symptoms. It exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and venotonic properties, including scavenging free radicals and reducing vascular permeability. These properties contribute to improved blood flow, reduced inflammation and discomfort, and enhanced vein elasticity. Further research is required to establish safety and optimal usage guidelines.

Now that you have the answer to the question, "Can Horse Chestnut Extract Aid in Treating Varicose Veins?" Let's discuss the best way to take it and the potential side effects you should be aware of. In the following section, we will provide you with a comprehensive response.

Side Effect When Consuming Horse Chestnut Seed Extract For Varicose Veins

While Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCSE) has been found beneficial for varicose veins, its side effects and drug interactions are not as thoroughly researched. 

Studies [1], [4], and [5] have indicated that HCSE is generally well-tolerated, with minor side effects reported in some cases. These side effects included gastrointestinal upset, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and allergic reactions. 

Common Side Effects When Taking Horse Chestnut Extract Are Gastrointestinal Upset, Nausea, Headaches, Dizziness

However, such side effects were infrequent and mild, suggesting that HCSE is relatively safe to use. 

However, it is important to note that these studies did not extensively investigate potential contraindications of HCSE. A meta-analysis study [6], which reviewed data from 14 different trials, concurred with the above findings and also reported limited significant adverse effects from HCSE usage. 

Despite these positive findings, the research on side effects and drug interactions related to HCSE is still limited. The current state of knowledge underscores the necessity for more research to confirm the safety profile of HCSE. 

Until then, it is prudent for individuals to use the correct dosage and administration method for HCSE and to consult a healthcare professional prior to its use. 

So, how much and how should you take horse chestnut seed extract without side effects? The following section will provide further information on the appropriate dosage of HCSE for managing varicose veins and any precautions users should be aware of.

How Should You Take Horse Chestnut Extract for Varicose Veins?

Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCSE) can be utilized orally and topically to treat varicose veins. 

According to a study [5], a recommended dosage of 50mg of aescin, the active ingredient in HCSE, should be taken twice daily. 

However, it is essential to note that certain HCSE products may contain additional ingredients, necessitating a thorough examination of the ingredient label. Always adhere to the product's instructions as provided by a physician or healthcare professional.

Varicose Veins Are More Commonly Observed In Women

While varicose veins are more commonly observed in women and they frequently use HCSE, it is worth noting that approximately 10-15% of men also experience these symptoms, suggesting the equal effectiveness of HCSE for both genders.

However, the use of HCSE in individuals with specific symptoms, children, or pregnant women has not been extensively researched. Therefore, exercising caution and consulting a healthcare professional is crucial before using HCSE. 

Moreover, research suggests that horse chestnut extract is suitable for treating mild to moderate cases of varicose veins. For more severe conditions or alternative options, consider the following treatments:

  • Endovenous or Interventional Therapies
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Laser or Light Therapy
  • Surgery

The treatment method choice should be based on the severity of the condition, individual patient factors, and the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Other Methods For Varicose Veins

In conclusion, the appropriate usage of HCSE necessitates careful consideration of the product's composition, the user's health status, and professional medical advice.

How Long Does It Work For Varicose Veins After Taking Horse Chestnut Extract?

The majority of clinical trials involving horse chestnut extract have reported improvements within a range of 2 to 16 weeks.

One study conducted over a 4-week period with 38 patients noted effectiveness in 60% of the patients, with evaluations ranging from good to very good.

A meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of horse chestnut extract identified four studies that used different formulations and dosages and found that effectiveness typically appeared within 2 to 8 weeks of use [8].

From these findings, it can be concluded that the effectiveness of horse chestnut extract varies from person to person, depending on their medical condition, individual body absorption, dosage, and other factors. Improvements are usually noticeable within 2 to 8 weeks of use.


Horse chestnut seed extract has been found beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins due to its anti-inflammatory and vein wall-strengthening properties. Its consumption is generally well-tolerated, with limited side effects reported in some cases. However, further research is necessary to establish safety guidelines and optimal usage for HCSE. 



[1] Dudek-Makuch, M., & Elżbieta Studzińska-Sroka. (2015). Horse chestnut – efficacy and safety in chronic venous insufficiency: an overview. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia, 25(5), 533–541.
[2] Europe PMC. (2016). Europe PMC.
[3] Raetz, J., Wilson, M., & Collins, K. (2019). Varicose Veins: Diagnosis and Treatment. American Family Physician, 99(11), 682–688.
[4] Bartholomew, J. R., King, T., Sahgal, A., & Vidimos, A. T. (2005). Varicose veins: newer, better treatments available. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 72(4), 312–314.
[5] Persson, I., & Persson, K. (2018). Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.). DIVA, 159–171.
[6] Horse chestnut: helpful for varicose veins? - ProQuest. (2023).
[7] Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2012). Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. The Cochrane Library.
[8] Suter, A., Bommer, S., & Rechner, J. (2006). Treatment of patients with venous insufficiency with fresh plant horse chestnut seed extract: A review of 5 clinical studies. Advances in Therapy, 23(1), 179–190.
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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