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INTRODUCTION

Activities:

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiedematous, vasoconstrictive, venotonic

Important Chemical Components:

Saponins (particularly aescin, found in horse chestnut seeds), hydroxycoumarins (i.e., aesculin, fraxin, and scopolin, found in the bark), flavonoids (i.e., quercetin and kampferol, and their glycoside derivatives astragalin, isoquercitrin, and rutin), tannins (i.e., leucocyanidin, proanthocyanidin A2), sterols, polysaccharides and oligosaccharides, and essential oils (e.g., oleic and linoleic acids, found in the leaves and flowers)1–4

Origin Classification:

This ingredient is natural. Organic forms exist.

Personal Care Category:

Chronic venous insufficiency, hemorrhoids, edema

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:

DRNT, DRNW, DRPT, DRPW, DSNT, DSNW, DSPT, DSPW, ORNT, ORNW, ORPT, ORPW, OSNT, OSNW, OSPT, and OSPW

SOURCE

There are 15 known species of horse chestnut, which is found as both a tree and a shrub in all the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Believed to have originated in the northern Greece/Balkan region of southeast Europe,3 the European horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum, which belongs to the Hippocastanaceae family, is the species of horse chestnut most often used in medical applications, traditionally for bronchitis, dysentery, hemorrhoids, and venous issues.5 It is not known whether other species of horse chestnut have been thoroughly evaluated for their potential medicinal value. The European horse chestnut is not related to the more familiar sweet chestnut (Castanea vesca).3 Its common name is believed to be based on the appearance of the seeds and the horseshoe-shaped mark that remains on the twig after autumnal leaf shedding.3

HISTORY

Traditional uses of A. hippocastanum are traced to the region of its provenance. For instance, A. hippocastanum is one of 227 plants identified in an ethnopharmacologic study found to be used traditionally for health purposes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.6 The species was introduced into Western Europe around 1576 (Table 74-1).7 As early as that century, nuts of the A. hippocastanum tree were used for medical applications ranging from persistent fever, with the first written record appearing in 1720,3,8 to use on hemorrhoids as early as 1886,8 and later varicose veins in the legs, phlebitis, and petechiae.9,10 Early traditional uses also included rheumatism, leg cramps, gastrointestinal and bladder conditions, and rectal issues.3,10,11 The bark was used in folk medicine to treat diarrhea and hemorrhoids.7 In North America, Native Americans are said to have harnessed the toxic qualities of the seeds to stun fish.7 The use of topically applied horse chestnut in cosmetic formulations emerged in 1980, with descriptions of applications to the face, scalp, oral cavity, body, hands, feet, and legs, as well as for foot and bodily hygiene and hemorrhoids.1 Horse chestnut is now widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.2 Antiaging or antiwrinkling uses have also been suggested, as Masaki et al. discovered in 1995 that A. hippocastanum extracts strongly scavenge active oxygen.12...

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