Bitter chestnut (horse chestnut)



Aesculus hippocastanum L.

The horse chestnut family is Hippocastanaceae

What does it look like?A tree with a beautiful thick crown up to 30 m tall. Old branches are brown-gray, young thick shoots are light brown, bare. Buds up to 2.5 cm long, ovoid, dark brown, sticky, covered with leathery scales. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, up to 25 cm in diameter, finger-compound, consist of 5-7 sessile leaflets, wedge-shaped, inverted-ovate, wrinkled, lighter from below, fluffy with red hairs along the veins. The flowers are collected in clusters 20-30 cm high, the calyxes are bell-shaped, fluffy, with 5 unequal lobes. Corolla five-petalled, white with a yellowish, then reddish spot in the throat. The fruit is a green three-lobed box 6 cm long with non-thorny spikes and with one seed 2-3 cm in diameter, covered with a shiny skin, with a gray spot at the base. Blooms in May, fruits ripen in September – October.

Where does it grow? All over the territory of Ukraine (originates from Iran) – planted in parks, along alleys.

What and when are collected? Bark of young branches – in spring, flowers – in May, skin of seeds – in autumn.

When is it used? With uterine and hemorrhoidal bleeding, hemorrhagic diatheses, with varicose veins, thrombophlebitis (stimulates the antithrombotic activity of blood serum and increases blood filling of the venous system), with atherosclerosis, for the prevention of apoplexy (the bark contains saponins, oxycoumarin glycosides, esculetin and fraxin, which slow down blood clotting, substances equivalent to quinine, tannins, choline, bitterness, triterpene saponin — escin), in diseases of the gall bladder, intestines, joint rheumatism, arthritis of various etiologies, malaria, night numbness of hands and feet.

Fresh juice squeezed from flowers is used for hemorrhoids, varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, atherosclerosis, in combination with vitamin B 1 inside – 25-30 drops per 1 spoonful of water twice a day; preserved with alcohol in a 1:2 ratio, drink a glass (30-40 g) three times a day for hemorrhoids, varicose veins. As a result of long-term use of juice from bitter chestnut flowers , pains and hums of dilated veins disappear, if the disease is not advanced. Water infusion of the bark is used for long-term diarrhea, malaria, chronic bronchitis in smokers.

For hemorrhoidal bleeding, take 1 tablespoon of a mixture of bitter chestnut flowers, arnica flowers, and rowan flowers (Sorbus aucuparia L.) in a ratio of 2:1:2 per 1 glass of boiling water, steam for 20 minutes and drink 1 glass twice a day. Small cold enemas are also made from a decoction of bitter chestnut bark in 1 glass of water. M. A. Nosal recommends taking fifteen-minute cold sitz baths with hemorrhoidal bleeding, where a decoction of the bark of bitter chestnut branches (50 g per 1 liter of water) is added. With uterine bleeding (during menopause, but not in connection with malignant tumors), wash the vagina twice a day with a decoction of the skin of ripe bitter chestnut seeds(15 g per 0.25 l of water – boil over low heat for 10 minutes). Rub painful places with rheumatism and arthritis with alcohol tincture of the skins of ripe bitter chestnut seeds (40 g of skins per 1 liter of alcohol).