Escin, esculin and your skin


microcirculation, vein support, water retention/oedema, cellulite

The horse chestnut tree (aesculus hippocastanum) extracts escin (aescin / beta escin / beta aescin) and esculin (esculoside / esculetin) have been extensively studied for several decades and has been found to protect and tone veins, fight inflammation in blood vessels and boost microcirculation. As a result, escin and esculoside boost circulation and fight water retention (they have been found to be as effective as medical compression stockings for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and clinical water retention (oedema). 


Escin / esculin cream

For all these reasons, escin and esculin are also of great importance as active ingredients in under-eye, leg wellness and cellulite creams. Horse chestnut creams containing concentrated extracts of escin / esculin are popular for puffy, heavy legs with poor circulation [the Celluence® creams are the only leg wellness and cellulite creams in the world with high concentrations of 95%+ pure escin and 95%+ pure esculin, plus 38x other natural anti-cellulite actives].


18 ways escin and esculin... boost vein health and circulation and fight water retention and cellulite



All the research regarding Escin/esculin & the skin in one place


19/ Anti-inflammatory effect of external use of escin on cutaneous inflammation: possible involvement of glucocorticoids receptor

Escin, as an internally applied anti-inflammatory agent, has been widely used in the treatment of inflammation and edema resulting from trauma or operation in the clinic. However, the effect of its external use on cutaneous inflammation and edema remains unexplored. In the present study, the anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous effects of external use of escin were studied in carrageenan-induced paw edema and histamine-induced capillary permeability in rats, paraxylene-induced ear swelling in mice, and cotton pellet-induced granuloma in rats. Effects of external use of escin gel on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) were determined by ELISA. The anti-inflammatory mechanism was explored by detecting the expression of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) with Western blotting and Real-time PCR analyses, with further exploration of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (P38MAPK) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) expressions. We demonstrated that external use of escin showed significant anti-inflammatory effects on acute and chronic inflammation in different animal models and its anti-inflammatory effects might be related to down-regulation of PGE2, TNF-α, and IL-1β. The results also showed that escin exerted its anti-inflammatory effects by promoting the expression of GR, with the possible mechanism being inhibition of the expressions of GR-related signaling molecules such as NF-κB and AP-1.



18/ Aescin-based topical formulation to prevent foot wounds and ulcerations in diabetic microangiopathy.

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Impairment of the peripheral microcirculation in diabetic patients often leads to severe complications in the lower extremities, such as foot infections and ulcerations. In this study, a novel aescin-based formulation has been evaluated as a potential approach to prevent skin breaks and ulcerations by improving the peripheral microcirculation and skin hydration. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this registry study, 63 patients with moderate diabetic microangiopathy were recruited. Informed participants freely decided to follow either a standard management (SM) to prevent diabetic foot diseases (n = 31) or SM associated with topical application of the aescin-based cream (n = 32). Peripheral microcirculatory parameters such as resting skin flux, venoarteriolar response and transcutaneous gas tension were evaluated at inclusion and after 8 weeks. In addition, several skin parameters of the foot area, such as integrity (as number of skin breaks/patients), hydration and content of dead cells were assessed at the defined observational study periods. RESULTS: Improvements in cutaneous peripheral microcirculation parameters were observed at 8 weeks in both groups; however, a remarkable and significant beneficial effect resulted to be exerted by the aescin-based cream treatment. In fact, the microcirculatory parameters evaluated significantly improved in the standard management + aescin-based cream group, compared with baseline and with the standard management group. Similar findings were reported for skin parameters of the foot area. CONCLUSIONS: The topical formulation containing aescin could represent a valid approach to manage skin wounds and prevent skin ulcerations in patients affected by moderate diabetic microangiopathy.



17/Esculetin / esculin inhibits fat accumulation in fat cells by 80%...

...and boosts glutathione levels by 30% and also boosts HO-1, by decreasing ROS production in 3T3-L1 cells during adipogenesis

[Source: Esculetin Inhibits Adipogenesis and Increases Antioxidant Activity during Adipocyte Differentiation in 3T3-L1 Cells]



16/ escin prevents leaky capillaries and consequent water retention... reducing the effects of the pro-inflammatory protein TNF-alpha on endothelial blood vessel cells

[Source: Molecular Mechanism for Cellular Response to β-Escin and Its Therapeutic Implications].



15/ escin is as effective as compression garments for water retention and heavy legs

Compression garments are routinely used to treat the symptoms of water retention / oedema arising from chronic venous insufficiency. However, compression garments are uncomfortable, especially in the summer when actually water retention is at it's worst; they lead to reduced arterial flow and skin laxity; and they do not help nourish the blood vessels. This study has shown that 100mg/day of escin is as good as compression bandages for water retention, after 12 weeks of use. Escin, however, does not burden the patient with the discomfort of compression tights, offering a superior quality of life, and in addition it strengthens and nourishes the capillaries.

[Source: Comparison of leg compression stocking and oral horse-chestnut seed extract therapy in patients with chronic venous insufficiency]



14/ Escin, rutin and Daflon equally effective for oedema / water retention

Escin, rutin/hydroxyethylrutoside and Daflon(hesperidin + diosmin) have been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). According to a review of three of the most popular venotonic natural actives, they all work by reducing the drop of ATP in vein endothelial cells during hypoxia (low oxygen levels). This prevents inflammation, damage to the veins and capillary permeability (leaky capillaries). All three phlebotonics boost venous tone, while escin additionally inhibits the breakdown of hyaluronic acid by the enzyme hyaluronidase.

[Source: Three treatments for chronic venous insufficiency: escin, hydroxyethylrutoside, and Daflon]



13/ Aescin improves venous tone by boosting the formation of prostaglandin PGF2-alpha in vein cells

According to this paper the therapeutic effect of escin in acute and chronic water retention could be partly explained by it's ability to enhance PGF2α generation in the veins.

[Source: The mode of action of aescin on isolated veins: Relationship with PGF2α]



12/ Escin reduces lower leg swelling, heaviness, fatigue, pain and itching caused by water retention

A review of all placebo-controlled studies on the the clinical effectiveness of beta-escin from horse chestnut has shown that it is "superior to placebo and as effective as reference medications in alleviating the objective signs and subjective symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency".

[Source: Horse-Chestnut Seed Extract for Chronic Venous Insufficiency: A Criteria-Based Systematic Review]



11/ Escin improves chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), haemorrhoids and post-operative oedema... raising venous tension, releasing the prostaglandin PGF2 from veins, antagonising serotonin and histamine in veins and reducing catabolism of hyaluronic acid. According to the authors of the study, escin displays "clear-cut anti-oedematous, anti-inflammatory and venotonic properties".

[Source: Aescin: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic profile]



10/ Escin improves chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)... protecting vein and artery endothelium, by enhancing endothelium-dependent relaxation and nitric oxide release and by aiding venous constriction

[Source: Endothelium protectant and contractile effects of the anti-varicose principle escin in rat aorta]



9/ Escin fights water retention by stimulating the release of the prostaglandin PGF2-alpha

[Source: The mode of action of aescin and the release of prostaglandins



8/ Escin improves chronic venous insufficiency by strengthening venous tension... increasing venous pressure and promoting venous return and lymphatic return.

    [Source: Effect of beta-aescin extract from Chinese buckeye seed on chronic venous insufficiency]



    7/ Esculetin (esculoside) inhibits fat cell growth...

    ...(preadipocyte differentiation) by blocking the protein PPAR-gamma

    [Source: Inhibitory effects of coumarins from the stem barks of Fraxinus rhynchophylla on adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells.]



    6/ The combination of Esculoside, centella asiatica, caffeine and L-carnitine maximise lipolysis by inhibiting alpha-2 adrenoreceptors

     In vitro tests demonstrated (a) a dramatic increase in the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) content in human adipocytes, with a subsequent rise in the nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) content of human adipocyte incubation medium, and (b) in vivo studies showed an actual potent slimming effect on human volunteers. Moreover, the combination antagonises the alpha(2)-adrenergic receptor that is known to reduce intracellular AMPc content and, subsequently, to down-regulate lipolysis.

    [Source: An in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo demonstration of the lipolytic effect of slimming liposomes: an unexpected alpha(2)-adrenergic antagonism]



    5/ Horse chestnut/escin can improve chronic venous insufficiency, lymphoedema and circulation impairment

    Impaired skin microcirculation is a major contributing factor towards inflammation in patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Increase of capillary filtration rate predisposes to the formation of edema. Local lymphedema is a complication of CVI, often underdiagnosed. This paper, a review of randomised prospective controlled trials, shows that horse chestnut extract, flavonoids, total triterpenic fraction of centella asiatica and procyanidins reduce capillary filtration rate and improve levels of partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide in skin and that combining with compression therapy may have some additive effects.

    [Source: A review of the microcirculation in skin in patients with chronic venous insufficiency: the problem and the evidence available for therapeutic options]



    4/ Phlebitis ulcers heal with the aid of herbal cream consisting of escin/horse chestnut and other botanicals

    This herbal compound, in combination with compression garments, significantly improved inflammation, healing time and pain in phlebitis, in relation to compression garments alone. Ivy extract in the cream contributed to pain reduction; horse chestnut, butcher's broom and grape seed extract reduced inflammation; and allantoin, gotu kola and hyaluronic acid aided sore healing. In patients who applied both the cream and the compression garment pain stopped in 72 hours, inflammation disappeared in one week, tissue swelling stopped in one week and healing was complete in 4 weeks.

    [Source: Multicentric study on a topical compound with lymph-draining action in the treatment of the phlebostatic ulcer of the inferior limbs]



    3/ Review paper suggests escin for the treatment of varicose veins

    The loss of vascular integrity is associated with the pathogenesis of varicose veins. Several botanical extracts (horse chestnut/aesculus, butcher's broom/ruscus, gotu kola, flavonoids and pine bark) have been shown to improve microcirculation, capillary flow and vascular tone, and to strengthen the connective tissue of the perivascular amorphous substrate. Oral supplementation with may prevent time-consuming, painful, and expensive complications of varicose veins and hemorrhoids

    [Source: Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options]



    2/ Horse chestnut / escin protects blood vessels by preventing hyaluronic acid breakdown

    In this study scientists examined how effective these three herbs and their active chemicals  were in fighting the breakdown of elastin and hyaluronic acid, both very important components of the basic substance that surrounds and protects blood vessels. The study has shown that ruscogenin from butcher's broom was very effective in preventing the breakdown of elastin but ineffective in protecting hyaluronic acid; escin from horse chestnut was effective only in protecting hyaluronic acid; oleanolic acid and hederagenin from ivy are effective in preventing the breakdown of elastin as well as hyaluronic acid. Of course, hyaluronidase and elastase inhibition are only two of the many different ways in which those three well researched and widely used plants help protect blood vessels and boost circulation / lymphatic drainage.

    [Source: Anti-elastase and anti-hyaluronidase activities of saponins and sapogenins from Hedera helix, Aesculus hippocastanum, and Ruscus aculeatus: factors contributing to their efficacy in the treatment of venous insufficiency]


    1/ How escin improves vein tone, blood circulation, water retention and oedema and fights chronic venous insufficiency and cellulite

    According to a review of all the major research papers on escin, this natural chemical possesses "clear-cut anti-oedematous, anti-inflammatory and venotonic properties" via a "wide ranging mechanism of therapeutic activity". Specifically, escin allows improved response to calcium ions which raises venous tension and contractions (i.e. better vein tone); it releases the prostaglandine PGF2-alpha from veins; it antagonises histamine; it prevents leukocyte activation / inflammation and prevents hypoxia-related reactions, such as reduction in cell energy levels / ATP. Escin also inhibits the enzymes elastase and hyaluronidase and thereby protects elastin and hyaluronic acid from damage. As a result, blood vessels are "sealed", preventing the leakage of water into the tissues and the consequent water retention / oedema.

    [Source: Aescin: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic profile]