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Aesculus fruit are familiar to many as conkers. They contain a valuable constituent called aescin which is useful for helping maintain the health of veins. So the next time autumn comes round, remember that conkers deserve to be recognised for more than just being battered around by kids – they can also be used for those with tired, heavy legs.
Aesculus hippocastanum is a large tall deciduous tree, growing to heights of over 30 metres. It has strong branches and bears characteristic palm-like leaves – each Aesculus leaf has between 5 to 7 leaflets measuring up to 30cm in length.
Aesculus flowers are similarly characteristic looking with groups of up to 50 white flowers on a single stalk. From these, between 1 and 5 fruit develop – they are green and spiky, with a shell holding the Aesculus seed (2-3cm in diameter) which we call conkers, or horse-chestnuts.
Aesculus trees are native to Europe and are said to originate from a relatively small area in the Balkan mountains. It is now widely found in many parts of the world with a temperate climate.
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.