The horse chestnut, scientific name Aesculus hippocastanum , is the fruit of the horse chestnut. It is an oilseed because it contains oils that can be extracted for consumption.
Despite being a chestnut, it is not an edible fruit in natura , being poisonous when not properly prepared. Horse chestnut should only be used when its extract is properly extracted.
Known for its medicinal attributes, it is widely used to treat varicose veins, tired legs and hemorrhoids. It is also found as capsules and powders in pharmacies, tea houses and health food stores.
Its properties are also anti-inflammatory, vasoprotective and vasoconstrictive. However, even with several benefits, horse chestnut should be used with some care and under medical guidance.
The horse chestnut has white or yellow flowers and is a tree grown as an ornament, reaching up to 30 meters in height.
Horse chestnut serves as a home remedy for various diseases, as it helps in the treatment of capillary fragility and diseases of venous insufficiency, such as hemorrhoids, poor circulation, fatigue in the legs and swelling.
There are studies around its properties that claim that the plant is also useful for relieving symptoms of menstrual cramps, phlebitis, skin inflammation and arthritis .
It has anti-inflammatory, stimulating, astringent action, reduces capillary permeability, is vasoprotective and other beneficial functions for health.
When vein dysfunction occurs, especially in the leg area, this is referred to as venous insufficiency.
The risk of having a venous insufficiency increases over time, as it increases with age. In addition, it is also more common in women due to differences in connective tissue and the presence of the female hormone estrogen.
Pregnant women are also more likely to develop these shortcomings, as estrogen levels are high during this period.
If a failure occurs in the venous valves and prevents them from functioning properly, the blood in the veins does not flow, becoming “trapped” in the lower parts of the legs. This process makes the veins congested and widen and may be visible.
This can result in swelling in the legs and ankles, the appearance of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Horse chestnut is widely used to treat diseases such as hemorrhoids and varicose veins. In addition, it is also indicated in the following cases:
- To decrease swelling;
- To reduce feeling of heaviness;
- Decrease leg pain;
- Improve appetite;
- Improves digestion;
- Treat metrorrhagia (excessive menstruation);
- Reduce menstrual cramps;
- In the treatment of pain in the veins;
- Improve blood circulation.
Better understand how the chestnut of India works among its main benefits:
Helps in the treatment of varicose veins
Varicose veins are usually a discomfort in the life of those who suffer from them. In addition to causing pain and swelling, in some people, they can also be aesthetically annoying, as the veins dilate and become visible, usually a bluish-purple color.
It is much more common in women, pregnant women and people who spend a lot of time standing.
The chestnut of India has been considered a great ally to mitigate the effects of varicose veins.
Because it is a vasoconstrictor , a process opposite to vasodilation, and anti-edema, research is betting that the components contained in the chestnut seeds help to treat varicose veins and also other related diseases, such as poor circulation, swelling and fatigue in the legs.
However, even with the positive effects of consuming this food, consulting a doctor for a better diagnosis and treatment is essential.
Reduces capillary fragility
This is a disorder that occurs in the thinner veins, called capillaries precisely because they resemble strands of hair. When someone suffers from capillary fragility it means that they have suffered some kind of rupture in these vessels.
These ruptures can occur for several reasons, such as trauma to the skin or mucous membranes. It is quite common in children and women.
When they occur, they usually leave bruises up to 5 centimeters in diameter. These purples are called purple , when of these sizes. When they are minors, they are called petechiae .
The horse chestnut helps to reduce and improve this capillary fragility thanks to the presence of a mixture of saponins, which have surfactant actions.
One of the benefits of horse chestnut is its bad cholesterol (LDL) control effect. Because it is made up of 60% good fats for the body, it is able to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
Consequently, it helps to protect our body from possible heart disease, decreasing the risk of complications in the cardiovascular system.
Horse chestnut has an anti-inflammatory action, therefore it is also used as a treatment for inflammation and to strengthen the immunity of our organism.
Assists in the treatment of arthritis
This fruit helps in the treatment of arthritis precisely because it is an anti-inflammatory food. Thus, people who suffer from the disease can find in this nut a way to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, such as joint pain.
Assists in the treatment of skin inflammations
It is recommended for the treatment of some inflammations on the skin, such as dermatitis, eczema, red spots with small bubbles that spread throughout the body. In order to use horse chestnut in these cases, it is recommended to consume your tea.
Has hemostatic function
One of the main benefits of horse chestnut is its hemostatic function, that is, it can contain hemorrhages.
Hemorrhoid is a popular name given to the disease that causes increased pressure in the veins near the anus region, causing inflammation, swelling and pain.
It can also be known as a nodule in the rectum or rectal nodule and the name hemorrhoid refers to the set of these vessels.
Horse chestnut is a popular home remedy to treat these inflammations as it has properties that act directly on this disease.
How to use?
Horse chestnut can be used in two ways when we speak of it as a home remedy for hemorrhoids.
Each type of hemorrhoid requires specific treatment. Knowing that they can be external or internal, here’s how to take care of them:
For people who suffer from external hemorrhoids, the best treatment with horse chestnut is to prepare a bath with powder.
This bath is called a sitz bath and serves to help blood circulation, in addition to relieving pain caused by inflammation at the site.
To prepare this bath, it is necessary that the person separate 5 tablespoons of powdered horse chestnut and boil together with 2 liters of water.
After warm, put this mixture in a bowl and sit on it, without underwear. The person must remain in this sitz bath for 20 minutes and repeat for 5 days.
Horse chestnut tea
Horse chestnut tea is a home remedy that can be used by both those with external and internal hemorrhoids. It has the same effect as the bath, as it relieves the pain and symptoms of inflammation.
To prepare tea is simple. Just boil a small amount of horse chestnut (powder, leaves or seeds) with 2 glasses of water, wait for it to cool slightly and strain. The indicated is that the person drinks this tea 3 times a day, to have a more effective treatment against hemorrhoids.
Some people often confuse these two fruits, but they are not the same. We can say that the main difference between horse chestnut and horse nut is that one is allowed and the other is not.
Since February 2017, Anvisa has announced that Indian walnuts are banned in Brazil and cannot be manufactured, traded, imported and much less consumed.
Many people use the walnut, or Nogueira de Iguape, Walnut of India, Chestnut Purgativa, among other names, for weight loss diets.
However, the effects it causes are not a healthy weight loss. As one of the names suggests, it worked with a laxative . In this way, those who use the India nut for diets end up dehydrating themselves due to this “purgative” effect and do not absorb all the nutrients in the food.
Weight loss, thus, ends up happening, but the person gets sick. In addition, the Indian walnut has evidence of being toxic and has three cases of deaths in the country associated with its consumption. Not good.
However, horse chestnut is not a villain, nor is the nut. This is allowed and has many health benefits, such as aid in the treatment of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, tired legs, healthy weight loss, among others.
Horse chestnut contributes to weight loss as it combines several factors that facilitate weight loss.
It has properties that work as diuretics, improves the gut, provides satiety and improves metabolism. However, they are not the privileges of the horse chestnut, as the other types of chestnuts also provide the same gains.
These benefits are present in other nuts, what makes it different is its action in the bloodstream.
When our blood system is not functioning properly, the exchange of oxygen from one cell to another is impaired. Thus, toxins start to accumulate and the cells end up without air, and this results in the formation of cellulite.
Thus, the chestnut of India ends up collaborating for weight loss and better circulation. Consequently, it also reduces cellulite.
To lose weight with horse chestnut, there are some options for ways to consume it. It is recommended to eat it during breakfast, in very small portions.
A tip is to break the chestnut into eight pieces and eat just one, during the first week. In the following weeks, cut the chestnut into 4 parts and eat only one, again.
This small piece of horse chestnut should be consumed only once a day, both in the first week and in the following weeks. Prefer to eat for breakfast or in the morning, between 9am and 10am.
The amount should be small, as too much can cause side effects. In addition to consuming the fruit, it is possible to find its extract in capsules.
How much weight is it possible to lose with horse chestnut?
There is no ideal formula to know how much weight you will lose by consuming this nut. However, there are reports of people who have lost 4 kg in just one month.
Obviously, other factors must be considered, as the consumption of chestnuts alone is not able to promote miracles when referring to the weight loss process. The person must, in addition, lead a balanced life with exercise and diet.
There is a certain amount of poison in the horse chestnut called esculin . This poison is dangerous and can even cause death if consumed raw.
Therefore, even before being consumed, it is necessary to know if the fruit, leaves and peels were well prepared, so that there is no intoxication.
When consuming some of the parts of the horse chestnut when fresh, it is necessary to see a doctor immediately.
Some symptoms that this poison can cause are:
- Kidney problems;
- Stomach pain;
- Dilated pupils;
- Loss of coordination.
Horse chestnut should be avoided in some cases, due to the side effects caused by it, or parts of it.
In most cases where there is a contraindication to the use of horse chestnut, it is due to the risks of bleeding and disease complications. In addition, when combined with the use of other medications, it can mean more serious complications for the individual.
Therefore, horse chestnut should not be eaten under the following conditions or in certain groups:
- Pregnant women;
- Children (under 8 years old);
- People who suffer from an intestinal disorder;
- Along with anticoagulant medications;
- Before and after surgery;
- For people allergic to latex;
- People who have lesions in the digestive mucosa;
- People who suffer from liver and kidney disease.
Horse chestnuts can result in some side effects, when used in excess or when ingested by people who should avoid it. Despite being a beneficial food, it presents some risk factors in certain situations.
The main symptoms that can occur:
- Stomach pain;
- Feeling of bloated stomach;
- Redness of the skin;
- Loss of coordination;
- Dilated pupils;
Horse chestnut can be found in pharmacies, both physical and online . You can find this fruit in the form of creams, leaves, capsules, powders and soaps. It is also possible to find the chestnut in fairs and the leaves in tea houses.
In relation to horse chestnut as a tablet, the need for use should be consulted with the doctor and the package leaflet should be considered for possible side effects.
Still dealing with the medicinal powers of the horse chestnut, there is the possibility of using it to make a tincture, a kind of home remedy.
This tincture is intended to assist in the treatment of varicose veins, tired legs and poor circulation.
To make this tincture, you need 5 tablespoons of horse chestnut powder and 1 bottle of 70% ethyl alcohol.
It is necessary to add the spoons of horse chestnut powder to the alcohol bottle with the aid of a funnel. Powdered horse chestnut can be found in health food stores and tea houses.
After mixing the two items, shake well and let it sit in the sun for 2 weeks. After this period, strain the mixture onto paper or cloth and store in a glass bottle.
Before consumption, it should be diluted with water. The proportions are 5 tablespoons of tincture to 1 liter of water.
Because it contains alcohol in its composition, some precautions must be taken into account. It is also necessary to keep in mind that this prescription does not replace a consultation with the specialist doctor, who must be consulted before opting for the tincture.
Pregnant women and young children should not take it, because of the contraindications of the chestnut.
The chestnut of India is a popular fruit for its medicinal contributions, mainly to treat tired legs, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
It must be consumed properly, as it contains quantities of esculin, a poison that can cause death, in extreme cases.
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