Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Horse Chestnut sticky buds (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Jan planted a tiny horse chestnut tree in our garden shortly after we moved in to Lorgba, around ten years ago.  I would get a row most years because I would terribly mutilate the poor wee thing with my horrid lawnmower, but somehow it has survived.  It is currently stretching up to a mighty two feet tall and has some very splendid sticky buds on it to protect itself from the nasty winter frosts.  The sticky sap is also supposed to protect the buds from insects and a couple of hapless examples can be seen stuck to their glutinous graves in this photo if you look carefully.

The Herbal Society reckon that sticky buds can be used to make a simple flower remedy which is helpful in dealing with “mental chatter, easing repetitive thoughts or worrisome behaviours”.

"To make the flower remedy, pick 6-8 sticky buds. Place them in a stainless steel or glass saucepan and cover with spring or distilled water. Place a tightly fitting lid on the saucepan, place on the heat and bring to the boil slowly. Simmer for about twenty minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool. When the infusion is completely cool, remove 50ml and place in a sterilized glass bottle (dark glass is best). Add 50ml brandy to the infusion to help preservation.

"This is your mother essence. It can be taken as it is using 4 drops under the tongue or in water or fruit juice 3-4 times a day or every half hour in a crisis. The mother essence can be diluted further with distilled water in a 1:10 dilution if you are comfortable with making homeopathic remedies.

"Take care when cleaning your saucepan as the buds leave a very sticky residue around the edges when cooked!"

The Herb Society UK

During the two world wars, the conkers from horse-chestnuts were used as a source of starch which could be fermented to produce acetone. This acetone was then used as a solvent which aided in the process of ballistite extrusion into cordite, which was then used in military armaments. (Picture from Wikipedia)


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