Powerful and aromatic sweet chestnut is a real natural source of energy and health; therefore it is highly recommended for these first days of autumn. Also, its close relative, the wild chestnut, even though it is not recommended for consumption, it has extremely high medicinal value.
In fact, there are only two types of chestnuts – sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) and wild chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). Sweet chestnut is edible and in fact pretty tasty, while the wild chestnut is rather used for medicinal purposes.
The fruits of the sweet chestnut tree purifies the blood and strengthens the immune system, they are hard to digest, but give lots of energy since they contain carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, fats and cellulose. Ancient civilizations used them for strength, while in the Middle Age the fruits of the sweet chestnut were considered as an important nutrient. Also, it is known that the Roman emperor Cesar ordered the army to burn forests in the areas he was conquering, only to destroy the main source of food for the local people.
The chestnut is extremely nutritious, since it contains valuable minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and almost all of the vitamin B. The fruits are used in the diet in various ways – cooked, roasted, as puree, as chestnut flour, as an ingredient in many sweet and savory meals, but also for preparation of so called chestnut honey.
The leaves of the chestnut tree are used for making tea. They contain 9% tannin, various essential resins and vitamin K which is extremely important to stop bleeding’s, since it contracts the blood vessels.
Chestnut honey, on the other hand, is very nutritive and has great medicinal value. It cures arthritis and digestion problems, protects the liver and contributes for better blood circulation.
Regarding the wild chestnut, its fruits are not edible, but they are used in the folk medicine, as well as all other parts of the tree which are used in making many remedies. So they are mostly used for treatment of veins problems, and rheumatism. Wild chestnut contains estsin (saponin), which contributes to strengthening the walls of capillaries and veins, acts diuretically and anti-inflammatory, reduces swelling of the lymph glands and helps in skin diseases.
The famous so-called tincture for varicose veins, which is used for circulation problems, pain in the bones, joints and back is made from wild chestnut. The flowers are also used for making tincture for treatment of rheumatic diseases, gout, arthritis and neuralgia, and the buds are used for preparation of the well known Bach flower drops that are believed to aid in learning and better concentration.