In addition to the well reported beneficial effects of horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) extracts on venous insufficiency and associated conditions, such preparations also have many potential positive pharmacological effects on the skin. Extracts from this species, and in particular, those based on horse chestnut seeds, contain saponins, known collectively as ’aescin’, which have a gentle ... [Show full abstract] soapy feel, and are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Saponins, such as escin, also reduce capillary fragility, and therefore help to prevent leakage of fluids into surrounding tissues, which can cause swelling. An extract of horse chestnut has recently been shown to have one of the highest ’active-oxygen’ scavenging abilities of 65 different plant extracts tested. Such extracts are more powerful anti-oxidants than vitamin E, and also exhibit potent cell-protective effects, which are linked to the well-known anti-ageing properties of anti-oxidants.
The extract is also rich in a number of flavonoids, such as derivatives of quercetin and kaempferol. Flavonoids also have protective effects on blood vessels, and are well-known, powerful anti-oxidants.