Girkokashtan zvichayny – common horse chestnut

Name: Wild chestnut – common horse chestnut

Horse chestnut ( Aesculus hippocastanum); horse chestnut; Bitter chestnut family (Hippocastanaceae); ordinary horse chestnut

 

An amazingly beautiful tree is the horse chestnut, especially during the flowering season, when the large inflorescences-candles give it an elegant, festive look.

This is a deciduous tree reaching a height of 30 m, with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 m. The bark of the horse chestnut is light brown, lamellar. The leaves are large, long-petioled, finger-complicated, with 5-7 sessile, obovate leaves with a wedge-shaped base and a pointed tip, the leaves are serrate, bare on top, and covered with soft hairs on the veins below. The flowers are white, large, irregular (zygomorphic), with yellow and then pink or red spots at the base of the petals. At the beginning of flowering, they contain the maximum amount of nectar. It is at this time that they are visited by sweet-toothed bees and butterflies. Horse chestnut blooms in May. The fruit is a capsule covered with thorns, which usually splits into three leaflets, inside there is a large, up to 2-3 cm, seed in a hard leathery dark brown shell. A tree bears fruit from 15-20 years old, lives up to 350 years.

In natural conditions, it grows in the south of the Balkan Peninsula (Greece, Bulgaria) at an altitude of up to 1200 m above sea level. In culture, it is widespread not only in the subtropical, but also in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere, in areas with a humid and warm climate. In Russia, it can grow up to the latitude of St. Petersburg. Wonderful decorative park culture.

All parts of the bitter chestnut contain healing substances, so the plant is widely used in scientific and folk medicine.

For the preparation of medicinal products, the bark of young branches, leaves, flowers and fruits are harvested. The bark is collected in the spring, cut into pieces and dried in the open air immediately after harvesting. Flowers are harvested in May. they are plucked from the inflorescences and dried in the open air on the first day in the sun, and then under cover. Leaves are collected during flowering, without petioles, spread in a thin layer under shelter or in a well-ventilated room. This type of raw material is exported. The fruits are harvested in the period of their full maturity, when they begin to fall. Dry in a warm, ventilated room.

The seeds contain coumarin glycosides, triterpene saponin escin, fatty oil (up to 5-7%), protein substances (up to 10%), starch (up to 50%), tannins (about 1%). The bark contains glycosides, tannins, sugars, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and other compounds. The leaves contain glycosides, pectin substances and carotenoids. The flowers are rich in flavonoids, tannins, pectin substances and mucilage.

It has been experimentally established that the alcoholic extract of the fruit exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous properties, reduces blood viscosity, strengthens capillary walls, lowers blood pressure, normalizes the level of cholesterol and lecithin in the blood, and reduces the formation of fatty plaques in the aorta. It is also known that the extract narrows blood vessels and has an analgesic effect. Usually, ready-made pharmacy products escuzan and esflazid are used.

Galenic products of bitter chestnut are widely used in traditional medicine: juice from the flowers is drunk for varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, atherosclerosis and hemorrhoids. Juice from flowers, preserved with alcohol, tincture of flowers or fruits are useful for thrombophlebitis and hemorrhoids; fruit infusion — for diarrhea (diarrhoea), malaria and chronic bronchitis in smokers. A decoction of fruit peel is used for uterine bleeding. Fresh crushed leaves, infusion of bark, infusion of fruits and their peels are also used externally for hemorrhoids, climacteric uterine bleeding, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The fruits are used to obtain technical starch and printing glue. They are also excellent fodder for pigs and deer.

Juice from flowers. 25-30 drops 2 times a day. Juice from flowers, preserved with alcohol in a ratio of 1:2, take 30-40 ml three times a day.

Fresh leaves (external). The leaves are crushed, scalded with boiling water, wrapped in cheesecloth. Used for poultices.

Alcohol extract from fruits (external). Bitter chestnut fruits are poured with 40% alcohol (vodka) in a ratio of 2:1, infused for 15 days. Lubricate the affected areas with varicose dermatitis.

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