HORSE CHESTNUT (Aesculus hippocastanum L)

Description
This tree of 20-30 cm has opposite leaves, with thick trunk of greyish bark, smooth in young specimens and cracked and scaly in the adult ones, with the oval and thick top. Long and petiolate leaves, palmate compound with 5 to 9 folioles of different size, dark green colored in the sheaf and paler in the underside, sharp and unequally toothed. Petioles and peduncles with ferruginous tomentum. Numerous flowers in eye-catching elongated inflorescences, conical and irregular, in erect terminal bunches, hermaphroditic (those placed in the base of the inflorescence) or only male (the others) with 4-5 different petals, with a pink or yellowish patch in the base. Stamen made up of 5-9 stamens and three gynoecium carpels, bristling with conical and a little bit sharp thorns. The capsule opens from three apical valves and contains 1-3 globose seeds, with shiny chestnut colored head and whitish and oval thread. It belongs to the family of Hippocastanaceae.

It is a tree coming from Asia Minor or Central Asia, it grows in mountainous and damp zones in the North of Greece, Albania and Bulgaria, it is cultivated also as ornamental plant. It blooms in springtime (from April) and maturing seeds are harvested in October (in autumn) during the fall of fruits and the branch bark is used in March (in springtime).

Chestnuts which we normally eat come from the common chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) and are totally different from those of the Aesculus hippocastanum, being these fruits not suitable for the human intake.

Part used
Preferably its seeds. Also, the bark and occasionally the leaves can be used.


Indications
Seeds

> Varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiency in the extremities: heaviness, swelling, pain, tingling sensation, night cramps in the calves.
> Hemorrhoids.
> Edema reabsorption, especially those post-surgery.
> Prevention of thrombophlebitis and varicose ulcers.
> Skin capillary fragility: couperose, petechiae, ecchymosis, hematomas, erythrosis etc.
> Others: Seeds have been used in folk medicine to treat diarrhea, fever and arthritis.
> Skin conditions: dermatitis
> Sunscreens

Leaves and bark
> In case of fragility and congestive conditions of the venous and lymphatic: varicose veins, hemorrhoids, varicose ulcers, prevention of phlebitis and thrombosis, edemas, epistasis, ecchymosis, metrorrhagias, etc.
> Traditionally they have been used for the treatment of diarrhea, fever. Arthritis, edema, benign prostatic hyperplasia, premenstrual syndrome and unproductive cough.


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