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Drugs and Health Products

Monograph: Horse Chestnut

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Date: 2008-03-27


Aesculus hippocastanum (USDA 2008)

Proper Name(s)

Aesculus hippocastanum L. (Sapindaceae) ( USDA 2008 )

Common Name(s)

Horse chestnut ( McGuffin et al. 2000 )

Source Material

Seed ( Bradley 2006 , Blumenthal et al. 2000 )

Route Of Administration

Oral ( Bradley 2006 , ESCOP 2003 )

Dosage Form(s)

Those suited to the allowable route(s) of administration. This monograph is not intended to include food-like dosage forms such as bars, chewing gums or beverages.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Statement(s) to the effect of:



Preparation: All Standardised Extracts

Dose(s): 50-150 Milligrams Aescin per day
Preparation: Dry, Powder, Decoction & Infusion + All Non-Standardised Extracts

Dose(s): 0.3 - 5 Grams per day, dried seed

See Appendix 1 for examples of appropriate dosage preparations and frequencies of use, according to cited references. The purpose of Appendix 1 is to provide guidance to industry.

Duration of use

No statement is required

Risk Information

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Caution(s) and Warning(s):
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist.
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms worsen.
  • Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding  (Brinker 2010, Mills and Bone 2005)

No statement is required

Known Adverse Reaction(s):
Some people may experience headache, dizziness, gastric irritation, or itchiness  (Bradley 2006, Mills and Bone 2005, ESCOP 2003)

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.


  • The finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements described in the NHPD Quality of Natural Health Products Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements outlined in the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database (NHPID).
  • The medicinal ingredient must conform to one of the following criteria: (i). the horse chestnut seed has been adequately processed, such that the outer capsule (pericarp) has been completely removed and discarded, to ensure that the finished product does not contain esculin or (ii). the horse chestnut seed complies with the specifications outlined in the Horse Chestnut, Powdered Horse Chestnut, or Powdered Horse Chestnut Extract Monographs published in the US Pharmacopoeia.

References cited

  • Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
  • Bradley PR, editor. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 2. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association; 2006.
  • Brinker F. 2010. Online Updates and Additions to Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications. [Updated 2010 July 13; Accessed 2013 January 30]. Available from:
  • ESCOP 2003: ESCOP Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products, 2nd edition. Exeter (UK): European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy and Thieme; 2003.
  • Felter HW, Lloyd JU. 1983. King's American Dispensatory, Volume 2, 18th edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications [Reprint of 1898 original].
  • Grieve M. 1971. A Modern Herbal, Volume 1. New York (NY): Dover Publications [Reprint of 1931 Harcourt, Brace & Company publication].
  • Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.
  • McGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung AY, Tucker AO, editors. 2000. Herbs of Commerce, 2nd edition. Austin(TX): American Herbal Products Association.
  • Mills S, Bone K. 2005. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis (MO): Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
  • USDA 2008: ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville (MD). [Accessed 2008-01-21]. Available at

References reviewed

  • Brinker F. 2001. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications.
  • Felter HW. The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; 1983 [Reprint of 1922 original].

Appendix 1: Examples of appropriate dosage preparations and frequencies of use

Dried seed:

1-2 g, per day (Mills and Bone 2005)


1-2 g dried seed, per day (Mills and Bone 2005)


  • 1.0-2.5 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:1, 1-2.5 ml) (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 0.3-1.3 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:1, 0.3-1.3 ml (5-20 drops)) (Grieve 1971 [1931])


  • 1-2.5 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:2, 2-5 ml) (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 1-3 g dried equivalent, per day
    (1:5, 5-15 ml) (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 0.2-0.8 g dried equivalent, 3 times per day
    (1:5, 40% alcohol, 1-4 ml) (Hoffmann 2003)

Solid extract:

1.25-2.5 g dried equivalent, 2 times per day
(5-8:1, 0.25-0.31 g) (Blumenthal et al. 2000)

Other extracts:

  • 100-150 mg aescin, per day (Bradley 2006)
  • 100 mg aescin, per day (Mills and Bone 2005)
  • 50-150 mg triterpene glycosides (calculated as aescin), per day, usually in divided doses (ESCOP 2003)
  • 50 mg aescin, 2-3 times per day (Hoffmann 2003)
  • 50 mg aescin, 2 times per day (Blumenthal et al. 2000)