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If you are one of the 40 million Americans that have varicose veins, the herb horse chestnut may make you say “Giddiup.” This is because the extract from this tree’s seeds has been shown to alleviate many of the symptoms associated with this condition.

To gain further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study horse chestnut (as well as other herbs, nutrients and foods) through the lens of herbal astrology. Through this periscope, we can further crack the nut as to why this botanical remedy may serve to protect health and well-being.

Horse Chestnut is Linked to Jupiter

Jupiter, the planet that rules Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces, governs horse chestnut. Jupiter signifies the growth and expansion necessary for seeking challenges that will provide understanding and learning. This understanding may be accomplished through travels on the Earth, in one’s thoughts (Sagittarius) or through voyages into more emotional and otherworldly spaces (Pisces).

In medical astrology, Jupiter rules the growth and expansion of the body, as well as the liver and the arterial portion of the circulatory system. Jupiter is thought to play an important role in enhancing the flow of the vital force throughout the body.

There are many correspondences between horse chestnut and Jupiter. Horse chestnut is primarily used for improving the integrity of the veins in the legs, the region of the body that is associated with Jupiter, since the legs begin at the hips (ruled by Sagittarius) and end at the feet (ruled by Pisces). Additionally, as the image associated with Sagittarius is a centaur, there is a relationship between horse chestnut and this symbol, which is half horse and half man.

Jupiter and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a common vein disorder, and are four times more likely to affect women than men. Normally, blood is sent to the legs through the Jupiter-ruled arteries, and then is pumped smoothly back through the veins to the heart. Varicose veins, a condition of chronic venous insufficiency, occurs when the valves in the leg veins that control blood flow begin to weaken. The veins then begin to stretch, causing the blood to pool in the legs. While some people with varicose veins often do not experience any symptoms aside from cosmetic disturbances, others may experience aching legs, itchy skin and swelling in their ankles and feet.

While heredity and hormones play an important role in the development of varicose veins, being overweight is also a contributing factor. Not surprisingly, Jupiter is associated with the accumulation of extra body weight due to its promotion of growth and expansion.

Horse Chestnut and Varicose Veins

Numerous double blind, placebo-controlled human studies have shown horse chestnut to be effective in the alleviation of symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Results have demonstrated that supplementation with horse chestnut has helped to relieve the associated swelling, itching and aching that oftentimes accompanies these conditions.

Horse chestnut exerts these effects through its anti-inflammatory and vascular tightening actions. Researchers believe that it exerts these beneficial actions through its ability to inhibit enzymes that destroy blood vessels’ structural framework. It also seems to improve the tone of the veins by enhancing the ability of the veins to contract and pump blood back to the heart.

How to Use Horse Chestnut

Horse chestnut is generally available in capsule or tincture form. The ingredient in horse chestnut that is believed to exert its beneficial effects is called aescin (or escin). Therefore, it is usually recommended to use a horse chestnut extract that has been standardized for aescin content. According to the Commission E Monographs, the standard level of aescin content should be 16-21 percent. A daily dose of 100 milligrams aescin is recognized by the Commission for use with chronic venous insufficiency. Horse chestnut is also available in a topical gel that can be applied directly to the affected areas.

While side effects caused by horse chestnut are rare, there have been infrequent reports of nausea and stomach complaints that have occurred after supplementation. Additionally, people who are allergic to chestnut tree pollen may also be allergic to horse chestnut. Since it is believed that the unprocessed seeds may be poisonous, many health experts advise that people do not create their own at-home horse chestnut preparations.

It is important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking of using horse chestnut or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition. Additionally, you should tell your healthcare provider about all of the dietary supplements that you are taking so that s/he can evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.

Editor’s note: The health information given in this article is not meant as a substitute for care from a qualified physician. This information is given for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. is not responsible for any mishaps that occur as a result of using this information.



Stephanie Gailing, MS, CN, is a Certified Nutritionist, astrologer and freelance natural health writer. She holds her Masters Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty. Stephanie has been involved in the natural products industry for more than ten years, with experiences ranging from operating her own natural products retail store to serving as a marketing consultant for dietary supplement companies.

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For more information about Stephanie Gailing, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Stephanie Gailing:

  • Herbal Astrology: Cayenne   4/3/2003
  • Herbal Astrology: Valerian   11/6/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Bilberry   10/16/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Vitex   9/4/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Chamomile   8/7/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Licorice   7/24/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Feverfew   6/5/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Hawthorn   5/22/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Milk Thistle   5/8/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: St. John's Wort   4/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Garlic   3/20/2000

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