What is Aesculus Glabra?

Marjorie McAtee

Aesculus glabra, also known as the horse chestnut or buckeye, is a North American species similar to the European species Aesculus hippocastanum. Both species have medicinal properties. The bark, leaves, and seeds have been traditionally used as an herbal remedy for inflammatory conditions, skin problems, and vascular illnesses, including varicose veins. Aesculus glabra can, however, be poisonous when consumed in high doses. This herbal remedy is therefore best used under professional supervision.

Barks, leaves, and seeds of Aesculus glabra can be used to treat varicose veins.
Barks, leaves, and seeds of Aesculus glabra can be used to treat varicose veins.

The seeds, leaves, and bark of the Aesculus glabra tree have been traditionally used to treat venous disorders, neuralgia, and rheumatism. The components of the tree contain a compound known as aescin, which, when administered in appropriate doses, can support vein health, reduce inflammation and even, in some cases, fight infection. Extract of horse chestnut can be administered topically or internally to treat conditions ranging from eczema and diarrhea to varicose veins, ulcers, and whooping cough.

Horse chestnut seeds, bark, and leaves also contain powerful antioxidants. Flavonoids and tannins in Aesculus glabra can help prevent oxidative damage done by free radicals, to support long term health. Some believe that the antioxidants found in horse chestnut extract help support leg health and can prevent deep vein thrombosis in those at risk for it, including those who undergo frequent long airplane trips.

Aesculus glabra grows wild in the eastern United States. It is so prevalent in the eastern state of Ohio that some refer to it as the "Ohio buckeye." It can be cultivated in almost any temperate climate. The bark, seeds, and leaves are typically harvested for use in the autumn.

The seeds of the buckeye tree can be toxic when eaten by humans and some livestock, such as cattle. Horse chestnut extract can, however, be safely ingested or used externally as long as acceptable dosages are adhered to. Typical ingested dosages begin at 90 to 150 mg per day.

The ingested dose is usually reduced to 35 to 70 mg per day when symptoms begin to improve. Topical treatments, which are used to treat skin conditions, wounds, and ulcers, should include no more than 0.2 to 1.0 grams of aescin per day. Because Aesculus glabra can be toxic to humans, users are generally advised to seek the advice of a medical professional or qualified herbalist, and to use this herbal remedy only under professional supervision.

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