Horse Chestnut Extract is the concentrated solution of the Aesculus hippocastanum, a hermaphroditic flowering plant/tree which can grow up to nearly 40 metres and indigenous to a small area in the Pindus mountain range which is located in northern Greece and southern Albania. In the British Isles the tree is called Conker tree as the seeds are used for the popular children’s game conkers, a game which is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other’s conker until one breaks. The most famous Horse Chestnut was the Anne Frank tree in Amsterdam which was blown over during a storm in 2010.
There is much more to write about the tree and its fruits but we should stick to the cosmetic or cosmeceutical uses of the Horse Chestnut. The main component of the Horse Chestnut seed is Aescin, a soap-like substance build from sugars, which is used in e.g. Foot Balm and Vein Spray. There’s a link between the Horse Chestnut and CVI (Chronic Venous Insufficiency) a medical condition in which the veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart and may include leg swelling, varicose veins, leg pain, itching, and skin ulcers. There is evidence from laboratory, animal, and human research that Horse Chestnut extract may be beneficial to patients with this condition. Studies also report about the effectiveness as compression stockings.
Horse Chestnut Extract (Aescin) is also used in cosmetics like Eye Serum. Despite what most people think, the dark circles under the eyes are by definition not caused by being tired or stressed. Instead, dermatologists and plastic surgeons agree that persistent dark circles are caused by capillaries that leak blood close to the skin’s surface. The Aescin strengthens and repairs the capillary network and can help reducing local water retention which can cause puffy eyelids.