Part of the plant used: seeds
The common horse chestnut is a large tree that is native to Turkey and Western Asia. It produces a fruit called horse chestnut seeds which is covered with soft spikes and contains a large, poisonous seed.
It was not until the 1960s that standardized and non-toxic horse chestnut extracts were first produced. The concentration of aescin used in products varies between 16 and 20%, standardized extract.
Used doses: 250 to 375 mg of horse chestnut seed extract twice daily with meals provide 100 to 150 mg of aescin per day.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that horse chestnut is effective in any other indication.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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