08 July, 2011
What Are Horse Chestnut and Butcher's Broom?
One might wonder why two herbs with such unusual names complement each other so well. Horse chestnut and butcher's broom are two common ingredients in topical creams for the relief of varicose veins. Taken internally, horse chestnut and butcher's broom strengthen the integrity of veins and capillaries. Horse chestnut and butcher's broom help bring relief from existing varicose veins as well as help to prevent more in the future.
Horse Chestnut Uses
The bark, leaves, oil and seeds are used in the making of horse chestnut extract. The most well-known benefit of horse chestnut is its ability to improve varicose veins in the legs. According to Phyllis Balch of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," horse chestnut strengthens the capillary walls, making them less porous. She says that horse chestnut also helps to reduce excess fluids in tissue, thereby reducing leg swelling. Nighttime muscle spasms in legs may be eased through supplementation of horse chestnut. Applied topically, horse chestnut extract prevents bruising and reduces pain associated with varicose veins.
Horse Chestnut Facts
Horse chestnut extract is used widely in Europe for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is "strong supporting scientific evidence" that horse chestnut is a useful treatment for CVI. They explain that horse chestnut extract significantly reduces CVI symptoms in leg size, pain, itching and fatigue. It helps to relax the legs and the Mayo Clinic says that using horse chestnut may be as effective as wearing compression stockings.
Butcher's Broom Background
According to Flora Health, butcher's broom was first used for the treatment of varicose veins back in 60 A.D. by the ancient Greeks. Romans and Greeks used butcher's broom herb as a general tonic to relieve swelling and enhance leg circulation.
In France, butcher's broom may be given to a patient before undergoing surgery to prevent post-operative blood clots as well as to treat thrombosis and phlebitis.
Butcher's Broom Nutrients
Created from the roots and seeds of the butcher's broom plant, butcher's broom supplements contain naturally occurring B and C vitamins, as well as a variety of natural healthy minerals. According to Balch, butcher's broom contains calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, silicon and zinc. She says that butcher's broom becomes even more effective when taken with vitamin C.
Additional Butcher's Broom Indications
Balch says that butcher's broom strengthens the kidneys and bladder. Soothing to inflamed tissue, butcher's broom may be most useful for treating circulatory disorders as well as vein disorders. Balch indicates Butcher's broom as being useful for treating carpal tunnel syndrome, edema, Meniere's disease, Raynaud's disease, thrombophlebitis, vertigo and obesity.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing": Phyllis Balch: 2002
- The Mayo Clinic: "Horse Chestnut (Aesculus Hippocastanum L.)
- Flora Health: "Butcher's Broom"