Aescin, the major active principle from Aesculus hippocastanum (Hippocastanaceae) the horse chestnut tree, has shown satisfactory evidence for a clinically significant activity in chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), haemorrhoids and post-operative oedema. In one controlled trial aescin was shown to be as effective as compression therapy as an alternative to medical treatment for CVI. The therapeutic benefit is well supported by a number of experimental investigations in different animal models, indicative of clearcut anti-oedematous, anti-inflammatory and venotonic properties, mainly related to the molecular mechanism of the agent, allowing improved entry of ions into channels, thus raising venous tension in both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Other mechanisms, i.e. release of PGF(2) from veins, antagonism to 5-HT and histamine, reduced catabolism of tissue mucopolysaccharides, further underline the wide ranging mechanisms of the therapeutic activity of aescin. The excellent tolerability of aescin in the clinic indicates this treatment is of definite clinical benefit in patients with clinical conditions resulting in CVI, haemorrhoids or peripheral oedema formation. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.
Sirtori CR. Aescin: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic profile. Pharmacol Res. 2001 September Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milano, Via Balzaretti 9, 20133 Milano, Italy.