Horse Chestnut Extract

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European superstition has it that if you carry the seeds of horse chestnut trees in your pocket, it will prevent rheumatism1. Whether or not this is true, remains a mystery, but superstitions always arise from sort of truth. In this case, horse chestnut extract has been shown to offer a myriad of benefits to users who choose to partake. Let's take a closer look at horse chestnut extract.

What Is Horse Chestnut Extract?

Horse chestnut extract also commonly goes by the name pycnogenol. It originates, as its name implies from horse chestnut trees which are native to the Balkan Peninsula2. These trees are now grown around the world because of their health benefits. The seed of the tree is the most valuable3, but the bark and leaves serve medicinal purposes as well.

Our ancestors knew a thing or two about living off of the land. After its initial discovery, horse chestnut extract was originally used for leg cramps, fever, gastrointestinal issues, bladder problems and joint pain. However, nowadays it is known as a powerful vasodilator.

Benefits of Horse Chestnut Extract

The active component of horse chestnut extract is called aescin4. It is this constituent that is responsible for the variety of health benefits offered by horse chestnut extract. Aescin is known for reducing swelling, inflammation and increasing the elastic strength of veins. Horse chestnut extract is broadly known for its ability to increase blood circulation.

Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency5 is a condition in which the valves of the veins in the legs are not working as well as they should. This means that blood pools in the veins and makes it difficult for the blood return to the heart. Studies6 show that horse chestnut extract decreased LDL cholesterol levels and had a positive effect on those who were diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency. A separate study7 evaluated the use of horse chestnut extract and compression stockings for edema in those with chronic venous insufficiency. Results showed that both of these methods are effective as an alternative treatment to traditional methods for individuals who have been diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency.

Reduce Inflammation Due to Head Injury

Traumatic brain injury is a serious condition that affects over 1.5 million people. It usually occurs from a massive blow to the head. This could be from a vehicle accident, physical violence or a variety of other unfortunate situations. Horse chestnut extract has been shown to increase antioxidants, decrease oxidative stress and reduce neuro-inflammation after the occurrence of a traumatic brain injury8. This alleviates symptoms and can help patients in the recovery process.

Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure. Symptoms include tremors, changes in speech and writing just to name a few. The main thing to understand about Parkinson's disease is that individuals diagnosed lose the ability to fully control movements. Studies9 show that horse chestnut extract may prove beneficial in neuroprotection for those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction affects many men across the country10. Fortunately, horse chestnut extract is known to be a vasodilator. Horse chestnut extract is known11 to be beneficial for these men by enhancing nitric oxide and blood flow throughout the body.

Anti-Diabetic Properties

Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is too high and either you do not produce enough insulin or insulin is not used effectively by the body. This is a serious health condition which can lead to serious health complications including cardiovascular disease, obesity and infertility just to name a few. Horse chestnut extract has been shown to have powerful anti-diabetic properties.

Alleviate Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease

For those who have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease, horse chestnut extract can help alleviate symptoms, especially inflammation for these individuals, especially during periods of remission.

How to Use Horse Chestnut Extract

Studies12 show that horse chestnut extract is effective as an oral dietary supplement and in oral medications. According to the National Institutes of Health, this powerful supplement is also used as a topical treatment to treat skin sores.

Recommended Daily Allowance

Horse chestnut extract is considered safe to use for short periods of time. National Institutes of Health have reported minor side effects including headaches, muscle spasms, itching, nausea and upset stomach. It is suggested that individuals with severe kidney issues or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume horse chestnut extract. Horse chestnut extract is not regulated by the FDA and there is not an established recommended daily dose.

It is important to follow all manufacturer directions and consult with your healthcare provider when taking a new supplement. Your healthcare provider can recommend an accurate dose based on your age, health and any medications you may currently be taking. Possible medication interactions include aspirin, Plavix, Ticlid, warfarin and heparin.

Foods That Contain Horse Chestnut Extract

Horse chestnut extract is not typically found naturally in food sources. In fact, raw horse chestnuts are poisonous if not processed properly. Instead of as a food ingredient, this vasodilator is most commonly used as a dietary supplement or in certain medications.

Is Horse Chestnut Extract Healthy?

Horse chestnut extract is primarily used as a vasodilator to increase blood flow. It is most commonly used to treat chronic venous insufficiency, but benefits individuals with a variety of other benefits including erectile dysfunction, traumatic brain injury, diabetes, Parkinson's and autoimmune disease. Care must be taken to not consume horse chestnut extract in its raw form. In its properly processed form, it safe for human consumption, however. Nature has much to offer when it comes to natural remedies. Horse chestnut extract is just one of nature's many natural therapies.

Horse Chestnut Extract Supplementation With Redwood

There are always certain instances where diet is not going to give you everything you need. There's no need to worry if your diet does not provide the necessary amount of horse chestnut. Oral supplements are available for those who want to make sure they are consuming enough in their daily diet.

Redwood is a powerful, all-natural supplement that contains clinically-proven dosages of horse chestnut extract, garlic powder, pine bark extract and other herbs and nutrients. Redwood is specially designed nitric oxide booster that optimizes blood flow quickly and efficiently. Learn more about Redwood and UMZU's line of natural supplements by visiting our online showroom.

With crazy, busy schedules it is easy to be tempted by fast food, processed food, and an abundance of poor eating choices. With obesity and bad eating habits on the rise, it's more important now than ever to pay attention to what you put in your body. Your health is one of the most important investments you can make. After all, you will need it for years to come! Take care to make sure you are receiving adequate amounts of both macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as engaging in healthy exercise. Begin your journey to a healthier you today!

Citations and Sources

1.
Health Library. Winchester Hospital. https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=21758. Accessed April 29, 2019.
2.
Horse Chestnut. National Institutes of Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/horsechestnut. Published November 4, 2016. Accessed April 29, 2019.
3.
Kaiser Permanente. Horse Chestnut. https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hn-2110008. Published May 12, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2019.
4.
Michigan Medicine. Horse Chestnut. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2110008. Accessed April 29, 2019.
5.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16872-chronic-venous-insufficiency-cvi. Published February 14, 2019. Accessed April 29, 2019.
6.
Koch R. Comparative study of Venostasin and Pycnogenol in chronic venous insufficiency. Phytother Res. 2002;16 Suppl 1:S1-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11933130.
7.
Diehm C, Trampisch H, Lange S, Schmidt C. Comparison of leg compression stocking and oral horse-chestnut seed extract therapy in patients with chronic venous insufficiency. Lancet. 1996;347(8997):292-294. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8569363.
8.
Scheff S, Roberts K. Cognitive assessment of pycnogenol therapy following traumatic brain injury. Neurosci Lett. 2016;634:126-131. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27737807.
9.
Khan M, Kempuraj D, Thangavel R, Zaheer A. Protection of MPTP-induced neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration by Pycnogenol. Neurochem Int. 2013;62(4):379-388. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23391521.
10.
Pycnogenol. Examine.com. https://examine.com/supplements/pycnogenol/. Accessed April 29, 2019.
11.
Ernst E. Herbal medications for common ailments in the elderly. Drugs Aging. 1999;15(6):423-428. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10641953.
12.
Pittler M, Ernst E. Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(1):CD003230. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16437450.

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