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Horse Chestnut Edible Dangers

horse chestnut edible
Learn the potential dangers of horse chestnut edible plant parts.

You may have heard about the many health benefits of the horse chestnut. It may be potentially helpful for those who suffer from swollen, underperforming veins in the lower legs, and those prone to hemorrhoids. However, before you start using it, you should know about some of the serious horse chestnut edible dangers. Read this blog post before trying horse chestnut!

How to Identify a Horse Chestnut

It’s important to be able to identify a horse chestnut, because when eaten raw, they are actually poisonous to animals and people. The problem is, they look a lot like the sweet chestnuts that people commonly eat (think, chestnuts roasting over an open fire).

If you find the chestnut still in its husk, telling the two apart is pretty easy. The edible sweet chestnut has a husk that is green and covered in sharp tiny hairs that are painful to touch. The poisonous horse chestnut is also encased in a green husk, but it has a smoother surface area with thicker spines sticking out of it. Horse chestnuts are the ones typically found in backyards and forests, so it’s important to know the difference.

It’s a little trickier to tell the difference between the sweet chestnut and the horse chestnut when they are already removed from the husks. What you want to look for is the pointy stem that you will only find on the edible sweet chestnut. The horse chestnut is smooth all over and does not have any points or stems.

Esculin and Horse Chestnut Edible Dangers

What makes the horse chestnut toxic to people and animals is that it contains a poisonous compound called esculin, which may increase the risk of bleeding. If you suspect you or a child have ingested raw horse chestnut, you should seek medical attention right away. In humans, the symptoms of horse chestnut poisoning include:

  • Vomiting, stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paralysis
  • Possible death

The horse chestnut edible dangers for animals, especially dogs, cats, and horses are even more severe and could be fatal.

Safe Uses for Horse Chestnut

When processed properly, the esculin is extracted from horse chestnut. These extracts are considered safe for short-term use and may provide support for healthy veins and skin. There are many options for safe and effective horse chestnut supplements. Check them out here.  If you are worried about horse chestnut edible dangers, but still want to seek the health benefits of the supplement, try a horse chestnut cream such as this one from Planetary Herbals. It can be rubbed directly onto the skin. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor first before adding any supplements to your daily routine.

Have you tried horse chestnut supplements? Tell us your daily supplement routine in the comments below!