Botanist's Glossary

Horse Chestnut Tree - Aesculus hippocastanum

  • Description
    • The horse chestnut tree (Hippocastanaceae family), native to the Balkans, is a majestic tree with large palmate leaves and white flowers with hints of yellow and red arranged in a pyramid-shaped inflorescence. It has been grown as an ornamental tree in Western Europe since the 16th century. The fruit is a large, thorny, three-valved capsule that contains 1 or 2 inedible seeds: the horse chestnuts.
  • Traditions
    • The horse chestnut is a medicinal tree. Its bark used to be prescribed as an antipyretic, while it also has antiseptic and astringent properties. Since the end of the 19th century, chestnuts have been regarded as one of the best venous tonics of our flora. In the 19th century, a paste was made for the hands with ground almonds and chestnuts. When triturated in water, they produce a lather and have a cleansing action.
  • Properties
    • Horse chestnut contains escin - a molecule that improves blood circulation. It is used in products with a draining action and helps to relieve water retention.