Horse chestnut

Horse chestnut

Horse chestnut

Specification & Spread

Horse chestnut seeds — semina aesculi hippocastani
Horse chestnut leaves — folia aesculi hippocastani
Horse chestnut — aesculus hippocastanum l.
Horse-chestnut family — hippocastanaceae
Other names: wild chestnut.

It is a deciduous tree up to 30 m tall with a well-developed root system and a wide dense head.
The stock is with greyish-brown bark. The leaves are opposite, on long petioles, palmately compound, consisting of 5-7 obovate, acuminate sessile leaves, rounded in outline, up to 25 cm in diameter. The flowers are in large, upright, pyramidal tirsa, slightly irregular, white or white-pink.
The perianth is of 5 green sepals and 4-5 free petals. There are 5-8 stamens 5-8, coenocar gynoecium is with upper ovary.
The fruit is a round tricuspid capsule up to 6 cm in diameter, covered with soft spines, usually with 1 (2) large (up to 4 cm in diameter) shiny, brown seed with a greyish spot at the base.

It flowers in May – June, the fruits ripen in September – October.

Dispersal. It is widely cultivated in gardens and parks as an ornamental plant in the southern and middle belt of the European part of the country, in the Caucasus, in the republics of Central Asia. The native country – the Balkan Peninsula (Southern Bulgaria, Northern Greece).


The chemical composition of horse chestnut

Horse chestnut seeds are contained:

  • up to 10% of triterpenic saponins (escin, etc.);
  • coumarins of the methoxy and oxycoumarin series (esculin, fraxin, etc.);
  • flavonoids (spireozide, glycosides of quercetin and kaempferol);
  • starch (50%);
  • fatty oil (6-8%);
  • protein substances (8-10%);
  • sterols;
  • tannins.

In the leaves there are found:

  • flavonoids: quercitrin, isoquercitrin, quercetin, rutin, spireoside, astragalin;
  • carotenoids – lutein, violaxanthin.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The fully ripe falling fruits are harvested. The seeds are freed from the pericarp and dried. The leaves are harvested by hand.

Drying. The seed drying is air-shadow or in dryers at a temperature of heating the seeds not exceeding 50 ºС. The leaves are dried in the shade in the air or in a dryer at a temperature of 50-60 ºС.


The raw material consists of seeds of irregular spherical shape, slightly flattened and often flat on one side, hilly, up to 2-3 (4) cm in diameter, covered with a smooth, shiny, hard dark brown skin with a large grey spot at the base. The smell is absent. The taste is sweetish, then bitter.


The raw material consists of whole or partially crushed 5-7 palmately compound leaves. The leaves are 20-25 cm long, up to 10 cm wide, obovate, tapered to the base and suddenly acuminate at the top, unevenly toothed-serrate, wrinkled, with prominent veins. The stalks are furrowed, brownish-green, up to 25 cm long. From above, the leaves are dark green, lighter below, with reddish pubescence in the corners of the veins and in the places of articulation with the stalk.
The smell is weak, pleasant. The taste is slightly astringent.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Venotonic and antithrombotic agent.

The pharmacological properties of horse chestnut

The pharmacological action of horse chestnut seed extract is associated with the presence of glycosides in it – saponin escin and coumarin esculin.
Horse chestnut extract and preparations based on it:

  • increase the tone of the venous vessels,
  • accelerate blood flow in the veins, which prevents the formation and increase of the phenomena of thrombosis.

In addition, these preparations:

  • reduce capillary permeability,
  • improve microcirculation,
  • have pronounced anti-inflammatory properties.

Esculin stimulates

  • antithrombotic activity of blood serum,
  • increases the production of antithrombin in the vascular reticuloendothelial system.

Escin lowers blood viscosity. Horse chestnut seed extract slows down blood clotting.

Application of horse chestnut

Horse chestnut seed preparations are used for:

  • varicose veins,
  • acute and chronic thrombophlebitis,
  • trophic ulcers of the legs,
  • at disturbances of arterial peripheral blood circulation (atherosclerosis of vessels of extremities,
  • arteritis,
  • thromboembolism of small vessels),
  • with inflammation of hemorrhoids without bleeding.

The preparation «Esflazid» containing escin and the amount of flavonoids from horse chestnut leaves:

  • increases the resistance of the vascular wall,
  • reduces inflammatory and allergic edema,
  • has a tonic effect on the wall of the venous vessels.

It is applied with acute and chronic inflammation of the venous vessels of the limbs and rectum (phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, hemorrhoids, etc.).

  • Thrombocytopenia,
  • hypotension,
  • internal bleeding,
  • individual intolerance,
  • pregnancy and lactation.