Horse chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

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Horse-chestnut - Aesculus hippocastanum Author: H. Zell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Horse chestnut is an astringent, anti-inflammatory herb that helps to tone the vein walls which, when slack or distended, may become varicose, haemorrhoidal or otherwise problematic. The plant also reduces fluid retention by increasing the permeability of the capillaries and allowing the re-absorption of excess fluid back into the circulatory system. This plant is potentially toxic if ingested and should not be used internally without professional supervision. Alterative, analgesic, haemostatic and vulnerary. The bark is anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, febrifuge, narcotic, tonic and vasoconstrictive. It is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. The plant is taken in small doses internally for the treatment of a wide range of venous diseases, including hardening of the arteries, varicose veins, phlebitis, leg ulcers, haemorrhoids and frostbite. It is also made into a lotion or gel for external application. A tea made from the bark is used in the treatment of malaria and dysentery, externally in the treatment of lupus and skin ulcers. A tea made from the leaves is tonic and is used in the treatment of fevers and whooping cough. The pericarp is peripherally vasoconstrictive. The seeds are decongestant, expectorant and tonic. They have been used in the treatment of rheumatism, neuralgia and haemorrhoid. They are said to be narcotic and that 10 grains of the nut are equal to 3 grains of opium. An oil extracted from the seeds has been used externally as a treatment for rheumatism. A compound of the powdered roots is analgesic and has been used to treat chest pains. The buds are used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Failure to learn by experience', 'Lack of observation in the lessons of life' and hence 'The need of repetition'. The flowers are used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Persistent unwanted thoughts' and 'Mental arguments and conversations'. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Aesculus hippocastanum for chronic venous insufficiency in the legs. Source: