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The Horse Chestnut

This is called so because in ancient times it was believed that this was a kind of chest nut. This plant is native to Europe and its origins can be traced to Greece and Albania. In old times, it was used to treat chest pains in horses.

Scientific Name: Aesculus hippocastanum

Synonyms:

  • Aesculus asplenifolia.
  • Aesculus castanea.
  • Aesculus memmingeri.
  • Aesculus procera.

Common Names: Conker tree

Family: It belongs to the Hippocastanaceae family.

Medicinal Uses

  • Its long term uses brings positive changes in body which include increased weight, decreased LDL cholesterol, increased muscle mass and improved cardiac and liver functions. These changes are observed over period of many years. The user looks younger for his years.
  • It has mild to moderate analgesic action which is particularly good for muscles aches and back pains.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the size of swelling and helps in early regression of the inflammatory process. It also reduces the incidence of painful episodes in event of acute inflammation. All of these are achieved with local application of the substance to the affected area. *It has also been found to be very effective in the treatment of acute suppurative arthritis.
  • The combination of analgesia and anti-inflammatory properties makes it a very good remedy for treatment of joint problems (like rheumatoid arthritis, osteo arthritis). Massage with paste of leaves of this tree three times a day (15-20 minutes each day) continuously, improves the joint mobility and decreases the progress of disease.
  • It has a moderate diuretic action. This is osmotic dieresis. It is very helpful in treating of head traumas, post operated cases in neurosurgery wards, heart failure and other conditions that leads to fluid overload. As compared to pharmacologic drugs of the diuretic category, its actions are of same potential but its side effects are negligible as compared to conventional drugs.
  • It is an excellent expectorant. It is used in cough syrups for treatment of productive cough. It is also used in combination with steam (for inhalational therapy) to treat chronic bronchitis and other pulmonary conditions in which excessive sputum production is a problem for the patient. It removes the sputum from the body.
  • It is antipyretic. It induces shivering and cause vasodilatation which dissipates heat.
  • It has some addiction potential because it also stimulates opoid receptors when it is given orally. *Via this route, it produces sedation, analgesia and euphoria but there is risk of rapid development of tolerance and dependence. So care should be taken with oral administration of this drug.
  • It has a wound healing effect. This effect is primarily achieved through its excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
  • If applied locally on skin, it causes vasoconstriction of superficial vasculature bed. But when given systemically, it causes vasodilatation. These 2 effects are opposite to each other and merit its more use in different conditions simultaneously.
  • It can be used to control excessive blood loss from a wound. It causes local vasoconstriction (only on local application) and minimizes blood loss. It also reduces inflammatory process at that site.

Category: Medicine


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