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Health Benefits of Aesculus Hippocastanum-Horse Chestnut

Updated on April 12, 2011

The horse chestnut and Aesculus hippocastanum is a tree widely used as an ornamental plant in the roads or as isolation. It is a herbal plant and it creates a very large and dense shadow.





The Horse Chestnut can reach 25-30 meters in height, has an elegant and imposing bearing tree. The tree is expanded, reaching 80-10 meters in diameter also remaining very compact. The look is rounded or pyramid, because of their lower branches horizontally.




The branches are lenticels, have large buds opposite, reddish, and a large terminal, coated with a sticky substance. The bark is smooth and brown and flaky with age.




Dell'ippocastano The leaves are deciduous, palmate-seven, with insertion opposite, with a stem of 10-15 cm, on twigs or greenish brown, slightly pubescent. Each leaf, which can reach over 20 cm in length, consists of 5-7 laminae obovate with acuminate apex and narrow base. The margin is doubly serrate, the venation is well marked. The stalk has no stipules, but a wide base and a crack that runs through it. The leaves are bright green on the upper side and light green with a slight tomentosità on the ribs, and below.




The plant has hermaphrodite flowers with bilateral symmetry, consisting of a small cup to 5 lobes and a corolla with 5 petals white, often stained yellow or pink in the center. The flowers are grouped in panicle inflorescence large (up to 20 cm in size and 50 flowers). Flowering takes place during the months of April-May.




The fruits are large and round greenish capsule, equipped with short spines, which start in three valves and containing a large seed or seeds of most shiny brown chestnuts that are called crazy. They taste bitter and develop a very unpleasant smell during cooking.



Long-lived and rustic, tolerates low temperatures and has no particular requirements in terms of soil, even if it grows best in fertile soil. It is not very resistant to soil salinity and air pollutants, which reacts with reddening of leaf margins and premature leaf desiccation.




Originally from Eastern Europe (Balkans, Caucasus) was introduced in Vienna in 1591 by Charles de l'Écluse and Paris, Bachelier, 1615


Differences with other plants


It is distinguished from other ornamental plants palmate leaves on the ground that each leaf is composed not of a single lamina more or less deeply divided, but by 5-7 smaller leaves, fully formed.


Chestnut stands out from the true shape of the leaves: chestnut has the simple, enter alternate on the branch, the compound has the horse chestnut.


Dell'ippocastano seeds, similar to chestnuts, are distinguished by their different shape, more spherical. They are different, the fruits, chestnut curls of thin spines are covered with very thick, the conker are sparse and stubby spines.


Other species and varieties of the genus Aesculus


Aesculus pavia, red-flowered species native to.


Aesculus x carnea, ornamental hybrid between A. hippocastanum and A. pavia pink flowers - red, resistant to pollution. He brought more intimate dell'ippocastano common and gems are not sticky.


Aesculus hippocastanum var. "Baumann, sterile variety, produces double white flowers, stained yellow and red.


Aesculus indicates, produces white flowers with yellow, red and pink in June-July


Medicinal Properties

The horse chestnut, which are used extracts obtained from the seeds, exerts a reduction in capillary permeability, has an anti-inflammatory effect, improves lymph drainage and increases venous pressure. For this reason, it is used in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency, leading to an improvement in signs and symptoms present in the lower limbs edema, pain, itching, varicose veins, ulcers, sense of tension and / or fatigue. It also offers anti-inflammatory, anti-edema and exudative; inhibits the destruction of vitamin C and is recommended in case of varicose veins.

The mixture of saponins (also known as escin) seems to be the principle responsible for the pharmacological action and today's horse chestnut extracts are standardized so that the daily intake of 100-150 mg of escin is. Reduces capillary permeability increasing strength and elasticity.

Some side effects from the use of horse chestnut (which still seem to occur rarely) are gastrointestinal disturbances and pruritus.

Escin binds to plasma proteins which are suspected to alter the transport of certain drugs. It also suggests that high doses of escin can damage the glomeruli and renal tubules is therefore not recommended for use in renal failure.

The presence of coumarins antithrombotic means that the combination of horse chestnut with anticoagulant drugs is not recommended because of its potential danger, although at the moment there have been no cases in this regard.

The gemmoderivato not present the drawbacks mentioned above.

Other News

Etymology: the species name derives from the greek ἵππος hippos, horse, and Castanon, chestnut, for the use of the fruits of this tree as a food stimulant for horses.

Propagation and cultivation: multiply by seed, which should be planted as soon as mature as quickly lose germination.

Adversity: since 1985 it has spread to Europe a butterfly, Cameraria ohridella, which threatens the species causing the weakening and desiccation as a result of the tunnels dug by the larvae inside the leaf blades.

Uses: in the past, the fruits were used as feed for animals (hence the name, literally, horse chestnut). The seeds were used to produce flour and, after being roasted, a coffee substitute. The fruits have a mildly narcotic effect and untreated seeds are toxic. The wood is of poor quality. The bark was used as a febrifuge. The horse chestnut is one of the Bach flowers, white chestnut.

In Britain, the seeds, called conker, are used for a popular children's game:)


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    • profile image

      Jaswant Sharma 

      6 years ago

      I have used aesculus hipp with very positive results to cure my chronic backache problems way back in 1980s . The redline symptom was that the pain was better after cold water bath while relief was minimal after hot water bath. Further , the problem got aggravated due to intake of coffe , hot tea and increase in acidity. I came to a conclsion that there existed an ulcerous hemmoroid around the spinal cord which got aggravated due to intake of these irritants and caused acute unbearable pain . Aesculus in 200 potency helped me cure this condition , providing long term relief and also acted as preventive medicine by weekly repetition of single dose . Normally one drop dose early morning suffices .I have narrated my experience for benefit of of your readers.

    • susannah42 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      There is always a health benefit to what grows from the earth.

    • LoraKayAlexander profile image


      7 years ago

      I really like learning about things like this. My Dad was a Great Farmer and he would be proud of you for this knowledge. Sounds like Good Medicine to me. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      You are a wealth of information. While, I believe every plant, nut, fruit and seed has medicinal properties, I never held out much hope for horse chestnuts. Thanks for the information.



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