Have you ever heard of a horse chestnut? (It’s not to be confused with the sweet chestnut that you roast over an open fire during the holidays.) The horse chestnut is a tree, but oddly enough its large brown seeds (which are encased in green spiky balls) actually look similar to sweet chestnuts, except they are poisonous – so don’t roast horse chestnuts, eat them, or sing holiday songs around them (they hate that). So what good are they? Well, researchers – and the herbalists that have been using them for hundreds of years – say horse chestnut oil, in particular, has medicinal properties that could have a dramatic impact on your health. Read on to learn more about horse chestnut oil.
How to Use Horse Chestnut Oil
The horse chestnut tree is native to southeastern Europe, but is grown all over the world. Its seed (the part that looks like a chestnut) is actually poisonous to eat, but when extracted and processed, it is believed to have potential health benefits. It contains a compound called escin, which is the main ingredient in horse chestnut oil that may support circulatory health. It can be be taken as a dietary supplement, rubbed on the skin as a cream, or taken as a tincture. Just be sure you’re using a certified brand that ensures proper processing to protect yourself from accidental poisoning.
Potential Benefits of Horse Chestnut Oil
- May Help Promote Vein Function – The widest known potential benefit of horse chestnut oil is its support of blood circulation in the veins in the lower legs back to the heart. Some studies suggest that using horse chestnut oil may help with the swelling in these veins by thinning the blood to improve circulation and temporarily relieving discomfort – similar to using compression stockings. Try it yourself with Horse Chestnut Cream by Planetary Herbals. Just rub it on twice a day for at least six weeks and let us know in the comments below how you feel!
- May Support Rectal Health – Because of its natural anti-inflammatory effect, horse chestnut oil has shown to be beneficial for supporting swollen, itchy, and irritated skin inside and around the rectal area. Just like veins in the lower legs, these irritations are caused by pooling blood in underperforming veins that aren’t circulating blood properly. Researchers say horse chestnut oil works by supporting the strength of veins, potentially slowing the breakdown of capillaries and soothing inflammation.
- May Support Male Fertility – There is some evidence to suggest male infertility related to enlarged veins in the scrotum may be helped with horse chestnut products as well. One study cited a 30% increase in sperm count and a noticeably smaller scrotum vein size when taken daily. For this use, a horse chestnut extract supplement, rather than the oil, is recommended. Try Horse Chestnut extract capsules by Vitanica.
- Supports Firm, Healthy Skin – Whether you’re using it to support healing a wound, soothing swollen, irritated skin, or to helping to support firm skin under the eyes, horse chestnut oil may be worth trying. Studies show that the escin found in the horse chestnut seeds helps protect the hyaluronic acid in your skin, which is what keeps it tight and youthful looking. For these reasons, you will often find it included in beauty products such as Eye Complex Firming Cream by Reviva Labs.
Have you had success with horse chestnut oil? Tell us your story in the comments below!