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Horse Chestnut
Aesculus hippocastanum
Uses: Medicinal
A traditional favourite landscaping tree, the horse chestnut originated in Europe in the Balkans. Each spring the fragrant spires of white flowers light up the trees and perfume the air with their honey-like fragrance. After the blossoms fall, the chestnut forms spiked greenish burs that split open to reveal the glossy brown nut within. Although sometimes confused with the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), the nuts of the horse chestnut are not edible. The nuts contain high levels of saponins which produce a delicate natural soap that does not damage fabric or leave deposits. A double handful of nuts is sufficient to produce enough soap for six liters of water. The nuts are peeled, then crushed or grated and added to soft rain or well water until a slight foam forms across the surface and the water turns milky. The mixture should be stirred well and then set to steep until the chestnut sediment settles and it can be poured off clear. Soap from made from horse chestnuts is one of the preferred ways museums clean rare and precious textiles. Dyers value the nuts as an agent for fulling cloth, and for the sky blue colour they impart to linens. An extract from the nuts has been found to be moderately effective in the treatment of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).
H3355 Bulk dried seeds cut $6.00/100g, $35.00/1000g
Currency: United States Dollar

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