Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Aesculus indica Hook

English Name : Indian Horsechestnut, horse chestnut

Family : Hippocastanaceae

Origin : North West Himalaya

Large tree reaching up to 100 feet in height with smooth, grayish-green bark soft spongy wood and brown seeds (containing a pale area) which are enclosed in soft spiny green capsules. Leaves, opposite, digitate, exstipulate, having 5 to 10 leaflets; the leaflets, variable in size, oblong to lanceolate, sharply serrated, glabrous, narrowed at the base. Flowers, zygomorphic, bisexual, complete, pedicellate, perigynous, 3 5 mm long, 2 to 2.5 cm in diameter when fully open; inflorescence, a compound raceme, 42 cm long, 12.5 cm broad at the base, bearing, on an average, 385 flowers; calyx, gamosepalous, dawn pink 523/27, deciduous, tubular, tomentose, having 5 lobes : coroela, polypetalous, with four petals, clawed, zygomorphic, having a combination of yellow, pink, red and white, each petal 2.5 cm long and 5 to 8 mm wide : androecium, polyandrous, with 7 stamens 3.5 cm long, perigynous, tomentose, narrow and oblong. Ovary, with a single style. Fruit, a capsule, 2 cm long, 4.1 cm in diameter, weighing 27.26 g, its volume being 26.25 ml; epicarp, brown with rusty spots. Seeds, 1 to 2 per capsule, shining black from outside, and lime white from inside, 3.5 cm in diameter.

Forests and shady moist ravines of the northwestern Himalayas. extending to Nepal; Europe; also. closely related varieties found in eastern Asia and North America.

Parts Used : Seed, fruit, bark, root, leaf and plant

Herb Effects
Diuretic (50% EtOH fruit extract) and antiedematous (plant extract); antiinflammatory (bark extract); anticancer, vasodilating and improves the elasticity of blood vessel walls.

Active Ingredients
Aescin (plant, seed and leaf); quercetin, beta-sitosterol and palmitone (leaf); terpenoid sapogenols, stigmasterol, alpha-spinasterol and flavonoid glycosides.

Medicinal Use
In edema (plant extract); leucorrhea (root); whooping cough (leaf) and vascular disorders (such as hemorrhoids , varicose veins and phlebitis); astringent, acrid and narcotic (seeds); for skin disease and rheumatism (oil from seed); the seed is given to horses suffering from colic; an anthelmintic on horses.

People with liver disease should also avoid the use of horse chestnut.


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