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Since May 10th 2008

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Allium cepa
Aloe vera
Allium sativum
Astragalus membranaceus
Angelica sinensis
Aesculus hippocastanum
Althaea officinalis
Andrographis paniculata
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Ammi majus
Ammi visnaga
Anethum graveolens
Arnica montana
Azadirachta indica



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Aesculus hippocastanum L. (Hippocastanaceae)

Aesculus castanea Gilib., A. procera Salisb., Castanea equina, Hippocastanum vulgare Gaertner

A tree, up to 30 m high and 2m in circumference, with large sticky buds and dense, broad, usually orbicular, or occasionally pyramidal, crown. Leaves up to 20cm long and 10 cm wide, with 15–20 cm long petioles; composed of 5–7 large sessile leaflets, median leaflet largest, outer leaflets much smaller. Blades obovate or oblong, tapering at the base, abruptly mucronate, irregularly serrate at the margin; dorsal side glabrous; ventral side with soft hairs. Flowers have 5 petals with an orbicular limb, imbricate at the margins, white, with yellow spot at base which later turns pink; arranged in erect dense panicles up to 20–30cm long; rachis and pedicel with reddish-brown hairs; calyx cylindrical to campanulate and pubescent; stamens hairy at the base; ovary covered with soft hairs and prickles. Capsules spiny, usually with 1 large seed

Plant material used
dried ripe seeds

Chemical assays
Contains not less than 3.0% triterpene saponins, calculated as aescin (escin), determined by spectrophotometry at 540nm. High-performance liquid chromatography and thin-layer chromatography–densitometry procedures for the quantitative analysis of triterpene saponins have also been developed.

Major chemical constituents
The major constituents are triterpene saponins (up to 10%), collectively referred to as aescin (also known as escin), and are considered the active therapeutic principles. Aescin exists in three forms, α-aescin, β-aescin and cryptoaescin, which are differentiated by their physical properties. β-aescin is a mixture of more than 30 different glycosides derived from the triterpene aglycones protoaescigenin (also known as protoescigenin) and barringtogenol C. Other constituents include flavonoids (e.g. quercetin, kaempferol and their glycosyl derivatives)

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
Internally, for treatment of symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, including pain, feeling of heaviness in the legs, nocturnal calf-muscle spasms, itching and oedema. Externally, for the symptomatic treatment of chronic venous insufficiency, sprains and bruises.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Treatment of coronary heart disease

Uses described in traditional medicine
Treatment of bacillary dysentery and fevers. Also as a haemostat for excessive menstrual or other gynaecological bleeding, and as a tonic

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Anti-inflammatory, Vasoactive

Human studies
Chronic venous insufficiency and related conditions, wound healing

Semen Hippocastani is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants of the Hippocastanaceae family.

No information available.

Drug interactions
Two suspected cases of toxic nephropathy probably due to very high doses of aescin were reported. Therefore, Semen Hippocastani should not be administered with other drugs known to be nephrotoxic, such as gentamicin.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
A 30% ethanol extract of Semen Hippocastani was not mutagenic in the Salmonella/microsome assay using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 (200ml/ml). Sodium aescinate had no effect on the fertility of male rats.

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
A 40% ethanol extract of Semen Hippocastani was not teratogenic or embryotoxic in rats or rabbits following intragastric administration of 1.6ml/kg body weight. Intragastric administration of a 40% ethanol extract of the seeds to rats (100–300 mg/kg body weight) or rabbits (100mg/kg body weight) was not teratogenic. However, when pregnant rabbits were given 300mg/kg body weight, a reduction in birth weight was observed.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
Semen Hippocastani has been used in clinical trials involving pregnant women with no ill effects. However, the drug should not be administered during pregnancy without medical supervision.

Paediatric use
There is no therapeutic rationale for the use of Semen Hippocastani in children. Other precautions No information available on general precautions or precautions concerning drug and laboratory test interactions; or nursing mothers. Therefore, Semen Hippocastani should not be administered during lactation without medical supervision.

Adverse reactions
Case reports have indicated gastrointestinal side-effects such as nausea and stomach discomfort (47, 55). Allergic reactions have also been reported.

Dosage forms
Crude drug and extracts. Store away from light and humidity.

(Unless otherwise indicated) Daily dosage: 250.0–312.5 mg twice daily of a standardized powdered extract of the crude drug (equivalent to 100 mg aescin) containing 16–20% triterpene glycosides, calculated as aescin; topical gels containing 2% aescin


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