Chestnut – up to 30 m high tree with a conical crown. The stem is covered with gray-brown bark. The leaves are opposite, complex, composed of 5 to 9 palmate located sessile petals, which are elongated, reverse ovoid, at the base cuneiform and at the top – short tapered with uneven filed edge. The flowers are collected in large, upright cluster inflorescences. In the inflorescences there is a large number of male flowers, only a few are female or hermaphrodite. Calyx is bell-shaped, five-lobed. The petals are white with yellow or red spot at the base, most often 4 or 5 in number. Flowers have asymmetrical construction. Stamens are 5 to 7, longer than the corolla. The fruit is a spherical, green box, covered with spines, containing 1-2 large, brown, shiny seeds, 2-3 cm in diameter. It blooms in April and May. Fruits ripen in September-October.
In our country it is found as a landrace type only in the Preslav mountain, at 380-500 m altitude. This place was declared a reserve under the name “Dervisha” and the tree – protected plant species. Over the past century the horse chestnut has been planted as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens everywhere in our country.
The bark of young stems and branches (Cortex Hippocastani) and seeds (Semen Hippocastani) are used. The bark is collected in early spring before the leafing of the trees during the sap movement in the plant. The seeds are harvested in September-October.
The bark contains the coumarin glycosides esculin with aglycone esculetin and fraxin with aglycone fraxetin, triterpenic saponin aescin, tannins, fatty oil, allantoin and others. Besides hydroxy-coumarins and methoxy-coumarin, the seeds contain esculin and fraxin; flavonoid biozid and triozid of quercetin and kaempferol; triterpene saponin aescin is contained from 8 to 10% (its aglycone is estsigeninat); phytosterols; up to 45% starch; 8% fatty oil; about 2% tannins; up to 10% proteins. The leaves contain the flavonoids rutin, spireoside, astragalin quercitrin iso-quercitrin, quercetin and others.
Impact and administration
Horse chestnut has venotonic, anti-inflammatory, capillary-strengthening and analgesic effect. Furthermore, it reduces the increased tendency to blood clotting and blood clots (thrombi), decreased blood viscosity.For the treatment of hemorrhoids, varicose veins (varices), thrombophlebitis and others. It has been proven that an extract of horse chestnut lowers the cholesterol content in the blood and has a beneficial effect in atherosclerosis. In folk medicine it is also recommended for the treatment of digestive disorders, dysentery, bronchitis, whooping cough, uterine bleeding, gout, rheumatism, sciatica, etc. The extract is included in the composition of creams against sunburn. Crushed and soaked in rakia, the fruits (2:10) are used for rubbing in rheumatism, sciatica. The extract is applied externally for baths in neuralgia, muscle pain and others. Good results have been reported for the use in prostate hypertrophy and varicocele. The beneficial effect of the thick drug extract has been clinically proven in cases of sinusitis.
Horse chestnut is a component of many pharmaceutical preparations with anti-varicose and anti-hemorrhoidal activity. From the seeds (finely chopped) you can prepare an infusion from 1 coffee spoon of the drug and 300 cm3 of boiling water. Leave it to soak for 2 hours, then strain the infusion and drink 1 wine glass 3 times a day. From the leaves and bark you can prepare a decoction – 1 tablespoon of leaves or 1 teaspoon of bark is boiled for 10 minutes in 300 cm3 of water. Drink 1 wine glass 3 times a day.