Horse Chestnut leaf (Hippocastani folium)

Published July 14, 1993.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Hippocastani folium, horse chestnut leaf.

Composition of Drug

Horse chestnut leaf consists of the fresh or dried leaf of Aesculus hippocastanum L. [Fam. Hippocastanaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

Pharmacological Properties, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology

2 ml and 8 ml/kg of an insufficiently defined extract of horse chestnut leaves, if injected intraperitoneally, caused edema inhibition in a model of dextran-induced edema in rat paws.

No data are available for pharmacokinetics.

The LD50 of an insufficiently defined horse chestnut extract is 137.6 ml/kg body weight for the Wistar rat and 220 ml/kg body weight for the DD mouse, intraperitoneal administration.

Clinical Data 1. Uses Preparations of horse chestnut leaf are used for eczema, discomfort due to varicose veins, i.e., pain and feeling of heaviness in the legs, swellings of the legs when static, supportive for medical treatment of varicose ulcers, phlebitis and thrombophlebitis, hemorrhoids, spastic pains before and during menstruation, soft tissue swellings due to bone fractures and sprains, and complaints after concussion.

In combinations, preparations of horse chestnut leaf are used for discomfort due to hemorrhoids, anal fissures and rhagades, follow-up treatment for hemorrhoid surgery, stasis in the colon, prevention of weaknesses of the veins, strengthening of the venous walls, maintenance of normal blood supply in tissue, strengthening of venous blood circulation, prevention of fatigue of legs and feet, for severe disorders of the varicose system, such as varices, phlebitis, phlebectasia, endangiitis obliterans, angioneurosis, postphlebitic syndrome, ulcus cruris, edema, for prevention of thrombo-embolism, arteriosclerosis, arthrosis deformans, arthritis, sciatica, rheumatism, lumbago, neuralgia, accidental injuries, hematoma, bruises, brachialgia, and as a diuretic and purifying remedy.

The effectiveness for the claimed uses has not been demonstrated.

2. Risks

One case is cited in the literature in which an intramuscular injection of an extract of horse chestnut leaf induced cholestatic liver damage. Due to insufficient information, this case cannot be clearly credited to the herb.


Since the effectiveness for the claimed uses is not documented, a therapeutic application cannot be recommended.

[Ed.note: A monograph for Horse Chestnut seed extract is listed in the Approved Herbs section.].