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Aesculus indica - (Wall. ex Camb.)Hook.
                 
Common Name Indian Horse Chestnut
Family Hippocastanaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards The seed is rich in saponins[20, 65]. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Wet temperate forests and shady ravines to 3,000 metres[51, 243].
Range E. Asia - North-western Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Aesculus indica Indian Horse Chestnut


(c) ken Fern, Plants For A Future 2010
Aesculus indica Indian Horse Chestnut
(c) ken Fern, Plants For A Future 2010
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Aesculus indica is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 12 m (39ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Pavia indica.

Habitats
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a gruel[2, 63, 145, 146, 158]. The seed is roasted then eaten in Nepal[272]. It is also dried then ground into a flour and used with wheat flour to develop the flavour when making bread[272]. The seed is quite large, about 35mm in diameter[194], and is easily harvested. Unfortunately it also contains toxic saponins and these need to be removed before it can be eaten. The seed is used as an emergency food in times of famine when all else fails[177]. It is dried and ground into a powder, this is then soaked in water for about 12 hours before use in order to remove the bitter saponins and can be used to make a 'halva'[194]. It is estimated that mature trees yield about 60kg of seeds per annum in the wild[194]. See also the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses


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Acrid;  Anthelmintic;  Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Narcotic;  Stomachic.

The seed is astringent, acrid and narcotic[272]. An oil from the seed is applied externally in the treatment of skin disease and rheumatism[240, 243, 272]. The juice of the bark is also used to treat rheumatism[272]. A paste made from the oil cake is applied to the forehead to relieve headaches[272]. The seed is given to horses suffering from colic[240, 243]. It is also used as an anthelmintic on horses to rid them of intestinal parasites[272].
Other Uses
Soap;  Wood.

Saponins in the seed are used as a soap substitute[169]. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts[K]. Wood - soft, close grained. Used for construction, cases, spoons, cups etc[145, 146, 158].
Cultivation details
Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy[1, 11, 200]. Succeeds on chalk[11]. Dislikes dry soils[11]. This species does very well in south-west England, growing best in areas where the minimum temperatures do not fall below about -5°c[200]. Young shoots in the spring can be cut back by late frosts in low-lying districts[11, 126]. Trees cast quite a dense shade[194]. Most members of this genus transplant easily, even when fairly large[11].
Propagation
Seed - best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[11, 80]. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather[130]. The seed has a very limited viability and must not be allowed to dry out. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing and even after this may still not be viable[80, 113]. It is best to sow the seed with its 'scar' downwards[130]. If sowing the seed in a cold frame, pot up the seedlings in early spring and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Aesculus californicaCalifornian Buckeye, California Horsechestnut31
Aesculus chinensisChinese Horse Chestnut31
Aesculus flavaSweet Buckeye, Yellow buckeye40
Aesculus glabraOhio Buckeye, Fetid Buckeye21
Aesculus hippocastanumHorse Chestnut, European Horsechestnut, Common Horsechestnut34
Aesculus parvifloraBottlebrush buckeye21
Aesculus paviaRed Buckeye21
Aesculus turbinataJapanese Horse Chestnut20
Aesculus x carneaRed Horse Chestnut, Ruby Red Horsechestnut21
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Expert comment
 
Author
(Wall. ex Camb.)Hook.
Botanical References
1151200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Deepak Jain Thu Oct 22 2009
What is the common name of this seed in India so that this can be purchased in India. Regards
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Subject : Aesculus indica  

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