How to Use Horse-chestnut

The magnificent horse-chestnut tree with its pyrami­dal flowers in white, pink or yellow, is a native of India and was brought to Europe in the mid-17th century. It is also found all over North America and is popular not only for its handsome floral spikes but also for its bright shiny fruit, called conkers, which children so love to play with. Their rich colour has given its name to a shade of dark auburn hair.

The name horse-chestnut comes from the tree’s ancient use in Turkey. Flour of the fruit was mixed with oats and fed to broken-winded horses and is apparently still so used today. Also, all over the smaller branches of the tree are horseshoe-shaped scars from fallen leaves.

The fruit and their capsules contain the toxin aescine which is poisonous when raw. The Native Americans cooked them and washed the flesh to ren­der the toxin harmless. During wartime ‘conkers’ were roasted in parts of Europe and ground to make a rather bitter coffee substitute. The flower buds flavoured drinks and replaced hops in beer. The fruit are rich in saponins, which make a lather in water. They were used in the past for washing clothes and to store with clothes to prevent mould and infesta­tion. The fruit were also carried in the pockets of country women to ward off rheumatism, piles, giddi­ness, chills and backache. They were also carried to bring money and success as they were said to be under the dominion of Jupiter.

Herbal remedy

The bark of the tree is rich in tannins and has been used for diarrhoea and to bring down fevers. It was often given as a substitute for Peruvian bark for malaria and intermittent fevers. The bark influences the portal circulation, and relieves congestion in the venous system which causes piles and varicose veins.

The buds of the flowers, the bark and the nuts all make excellent ointments, creams and lotions for strengthening veins. They are good for varicose veins, ulcers, and a first rate remedy for haemorrhoids. Horse-chestnut extracts also relieve neuralgia, sunburn, bruises and sprains.

Homeopathic remedy: a. hippocastanum

Aesculus hippocastanum is a great pile remedy. It has a particular affinity for the lower bowel area, reliev­ing painful engorged haemorrhoidal veins, backache, weak legs, constipation and a feeling of prolapse in the rectum. It is also excellent for varicose veins, venous stasis, and congestion in the digestive tract.

The flower essences

Chestnut bud is for those who tend to make the same mistakes over and again and never seem to learn from the experience. They tend to enter the same kind of relationships which fail, or experience the same physical symptoms over and again without analysing the reason — such as gastric pain after eat­ing cheese, or migraines when becoming stressed. Their inability to learn from their mistakes may be because of indifference, or lack of attention and observation. It is often due to their wish to escape from themselves, to block out the past and avoid the responsibility of learning the lessons of life. Chestnut bud is a good remedy for children who are absent-minded and inattentive. It helps people to be more observant and aware of the present, to see their mis­takes and remember them and to gain knowledge and wisdom. It helps to see oneself more clearly.

White chestnut is a wonderful remedy for those who suffer from recurrent thoughts that go round and round in the head. It may occur after an argument or when something has upset or worried you. The thoughts can be so all-pervading that they prevent you from attending to the present even to the extent of not listening when spoken to. If the interest in the present is strong the thoughts may quieten temporarily, only to return to wake one from sleep, or ruin one’s relaxation time. In severe cases the persistent unwanted thoughts can feel like mental torture, and lead to exhaustion and depression. White chestnut helps to calm the mind, to control thoughts and imaginings and put mental energy to constructive use. It enables you to allow thoughts to enter but not monopolize your mind.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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