It’s that time of year again and chestnuts are falling along with the leaves.  I remember collecting these as a child and later with nephews and nieces.  Initially their glorious shine attracting attention and then the magic of opening up the shell to find the hidden treasure inside!

Chestnuts are used for games and bobbing at Halloween, but they also have another purpose.  The bark and seed of the horse chestnut are traditionally used for vascular problems – especially in the legs.

Strengthens Blood Vessels

Withania somniferum, (Ashwagandha), another herb, whose translation is “strong as a horse” gives general strength, but horse chestnut is specific for blood flow.  It contains, amongst others, tannins, coumarins and triterpene saponin glycosides, the most notable being aescin.  Aescin is anti-inflammatory and also strengthens the blood vessel walls.

Keeps blood flowing!

Coumarins are used by the pharmaceutical industry for their anti-coagulant properties and horse chestnut does the same thing improving blood flow and reducing clotting.  Because it improves blood flow, horse chestnut also helps reduce pressure on the heart and reduces blood pressure.  It can also assist in reducing oedema and cramps in the legs.

Horse chestnut shouldn’t be eaten raw though as all parts are toxic.  A herbalist or naturopath can prescribe a pre-treated form for you, but pregnant woman and children should not take it.

Say No to cellulite

Horse chestnut can be used externally.  It contains tannins and tannins bind.  This makes it very good for varicose veins, haemorrhoids or even swelling after trauma or surgery.  If you have varicose veins, have a look at the cream you’re using, chances are it contains horse chestnut (latin name aesculus hippocastanum).  If you play sports you can use horse chestnut on sprains and for those of us who like to wear a swimsuit or bikini, it can help with the dreaded cellulite as it tightens and tones.

So next time you are in the park, have a look at the mighty horse chestnut.  They are big trees and so their constituents needs to have the strength to maintain them.  We use its properties to also provide strength and support to legs and musculature.

If you’d like to see how horse chestnut could benefit you, contact us at Fresh Perceptions Health for a consultation.  We’ll work with you to find a healthy option based on diet, herbal solutions and common sense.

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