Horse Chestnut

 

AESCULUS HIPPOCASTANUM

COMMON NAME : Horse Chestnut

FAMILY :        Hippocastanaceae


HABIT / GROWING:

Large tree native to N Asia but much cultivated in UK. Not used much for timber as wood is “spongy”. Distinguishable in winter by “sticky buds”, spring by “candles” and autumn by “conkers” - the part used.


PARTS USED :  mainly seeds, occasionally bark


TRADITIONAL & MODERN USE:

Bark was once also used for fevers and ulcers.


The nuts were used for rheumatism, neuralgia, haemorrhoids (“piles”) and visceral pain from congestion. Characteristic indications for the herb include : throbbing, aching or fullness in region of liver and general malaise, also rectal pain, constriction & itching.


Modern use mainly for increasing tone and strength of blood vessels, especially veins e.g. for varicose veins or the prescursor heavy achy legs. Used both internally and externally.


CONSTITUENTS:

·        saponins: Aescin used for chronic venous insufficiency, to reduce likelihood of DVT (deep vein

         thrombosis) after surgery and externally for bruising and sports injuries.

·        coumarins – blood thinning aesculin

·        flavonoids