Feb 12, 2014
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AESCULUS HIPPOCASTANUM

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Linn.

Family ► Hippocastanaceae; Sapinda- ceae.

Habitat ► Endemic to the mountains of Balkan Peninsula and western Asia. Introduced into India; occasionally grown as an ornamental tree.

English ► Horse Chestnut tree.

Unani ► Baloot. (Quercus incana and Q. infectoria have also been equated with Baloot in National Formulary in Unani Medicine.)

Folk ► Pu.

Action ► Anti-inflammatory, vasodilator, astringent (used for rheumatism, venous congestion, haemorrhoids), febrifuge. Leaf— used in whooping cough.

Key application ► In chronic venous insufficiency, varicosis, nocturnal systremma (cramps in the calves) and swelling of the legs. (Non- invasive treatment measures should also be followed.) (German Commission E, ESCOP, The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

Horse Chestnut contains triterpe- noid saponins (especially aescin, a complex mixture composed of acylat- ed glycosides of protoaesigenin and barringtogenol-C, including hippo- caesculin), coumarins and flavonoids. Aescin has been shown to eliminate oedema and reduce exudation. It antagonizes the effect of bradykinin, although it is not a direct bradykinin antagonist. It causes an increase in plasma levels of ACTH, corticosterone and glucose in rats. Hippocaescu- lin and barringtogenol-C-21-angelate show antitumour activity in vitro.

The hydroxycoumarin aesculin leads to increased bleeding time. (Roasting seems to destroy the toxins.) A few fruits can cause severe toxic symptoms. (Francis Brinker.) In some countries, an intravenous mixture containing aescin is used after surgery. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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