The common name “Horse-Chestnut” is reported as having originated from the erroneous belief that the tree was a kind of chestnut (though in fact only distantly related), together with the observation that eating the fruit cured horses of chest complaints despite this plant being poisonous to horses.
The aescin in Horse Chestnut is a powerful saponin that has been shown to support healthy circulation, especially in the legs. Aescin promotes healthy tone to the veins of the lower extremities.*
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is commonly used in a European herbalism. It is a large deciduous tree that is native to Northern Greece and Asia, but now also grows in Europe and North America. Many people know and refer to it as a Conker tree.
The tree produces fruits that are made up of a spiny capsule containing one to three large seeds, known as horse chestnuts. Traditionally, many of the aerial parts of the Horse Chestnut tree, including the seeds, leaves, and bark, were used in medicinal preparations. Modern extracts of Horse Chestnut are usually made from the seeds, which are high in the active constituent, aescin (also known as escin).
Did You Know?
A famous specimen of the horse-chestnut was the Ann Frank Theater in the centre of Amsterdam which she mentioned in her diary and which survived until August 2010 when a heavy wind blew it over. Eleven young specimens, sprouted from seeds from this tree, were transported to the United States. One of them was planted outdoors in March 2013 in front of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis where they were originally quarantined.