Chestnut – the Rice that Grows on Trees
Rasa (taste in the mouth): sweet and astringent
Virya (potency): cold in the first degree
Vipak (final transformation, post digestive effect): sweet
Prabhava (specific potency): positive – for the heart, pericardium, arteries, veins, capillaries and meningeal membrane
Guna (property): sattva +++
Influence on doshas: V ↑ P ↓ K ↑
Recommended time of consumption: from 10 am to 2 pm
Cultural and historical information:
Botanists call the fruit of a Chestnut an acorn, it has a thin woody shell that does not fuse with the kernel. Chestnuts are native to Asia Minor and Southern Europe. Basically all that we see here is Horse Chestnut, which is not edible and slightly toxic and is good for medicine only. The other name of this tree is Conker Tree.
Sweet Chestnut or Spanish Chestnut can be safely eaten if you have no contraindications (see below).
While cultivated or wild Sweet Chestnuts are edible, Horse Chestnuts are toxic, and can cause digestive disorders such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, or throat irritation.
To distinguish Horse Chestnuts from Sweet Chestnuts:
Observe the shape of the nuts and of the “cupule” that encases them:
The Sweet Chestnut’s cupule is brown and has numerous long bristly spines. It contains two to three nuts at a time, which are fairly small, flattened and triangular;
Horse Chestnut cupules are thick and green, with small, short, wider spaced spikes, and generally contain only one larger rounded nut.
Look at where the trees are located and examine their leaves:
Horse Chestnut trees are found in cities, parks, alleys and schoolyards… while Sweet Chestnut trees grow in woods, forests or orchards;
Each Horse Chestnut leaf consists of several oval “leaflets”, which give the whole leaf a palm-shaped appearance, whereas Sweet Chestnut leaves are simple and elongated without leaflets.
Raw Sweet Chestnuts can be eaten fresh straight from the tree. They are also fried, baked in the oven, and the dried ones are boiled or ground into flour. Chestnuts are very nourishing and nutritious, they contain a lot of carbohydrates and vitamins. Where they are eaten, they are used in the same way as potatoes. The Chinese consume 40% of the world’s chestnuts.
Physiological and therapeutic effect:
The bark, leaves and fruits contain triterpenoids, saponins, phenols, catechins, tannins, aldehydes, coumarins, vitamins C, K, B1 and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The saponins and phenols of chestnuts have the ability to inhibit cholesterol synthesis at the liver level. Catechins and vitamin K strengthen the endothelium of the arteries, small capillaries and veins. And coumarins prevent blood clots by reducing platelet aggregation. All these effects are widely used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, especially atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations such as angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction and strokes. Biologically active substances of chestnuts enhance venous tone, therefore they are prescribed for varicose veins, thrombophlebitis and chronic vertebro-basilar insufficiency.
Roasted Sweet Chestnuts
Pierce each chestnut well with a fork (up to a third of the depth) so that they don’t explode when frying. Load into a skillet, put on top a layer of napkins slightly moistened with water (they are needed so that the chestnuts do not become too hard), cover the skillet with a lid and keep on low heat for about 20 minutes. A couple of chestnuts will probably explode under the lid. Stir the chestnuts occasionally as you fry and check to see if the napkins are dry. If dry, moisten them. The chestnuts are ready when the shell cracks when squeezed and easily peels off.
Stewed Sweet Chestnuts with celery.
Simmer 800 grams of chestnuts and 100 grams of sliced celery root with salt to taste until tender. Add ground nutmeg at the end. When serving, sprinkle with herbs to taste.
Useful qualities of chestnuts:
The plant contains glycosides, saponins, vitamins and minerals. The product lowers capillary permeability, stimulates the antithrombotic activity of the blood flow, improves the production of antithrombin in the vessels, and improves venous circulation. The plant reduces the viscosity of the blood flow, improves the tone of the venous vessels.
The fruits of the plant are in demand because they are rich in trace elements, vitamin complexes, pectins, tannins, and acids.
Fruits have a lot of useful qualities:
They normalize the activity of the heart muscle.
They prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the bloodstream, which is the root cause of blood clots, strengthen the walls of blood vessels, and help stop bleeding in the body.
The fruits of the plant strengthen the barrier functions of the body, so a person who regularly uses chestnuts suffers much less often from viral and infectious ailments, and other diseases are more easily tolerated.
Chestnut-based extracts stimulate rapid healing of wounds, burns and cuts. The products also have bactericidal, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fruits remove toxins from the body, and prevent their further accumulation.
The plant helps with varicose veins, atherosclerosis, hemorrhoids, thrombophlebitis.
The chestnut products are actively used to treat arthritis, gouty pains, rheumatism, uterine and hemorrhoidal bleeding.
The plant allows you to quickly and effectively heal colds.
Chestnuts are effective in treating malaria, diarrhea, chronic colitis, high acidity in the stomach, respiratory ailments, and bronchitis.
Chestnuts are not suitable for patients suffering from renal failure, obesity and low blood clotting. The plant is contraindicated for pregnant women, nursing mothers and allergy sufferers.
Do not overuse the edible nut product, as it can be the root cause of constipation, malfunctioning of the digestive system and increased flatulence.
It is best to consult with your doctor before starting treatment, who will tell you if you can eat chestnuts for your condition or not.
TODAY’S TIP: In France, for the winter holidays, it is customary to eat a special delicacy – candied Sweet Chestnuts called marron glace.
Corsicans consecrate Sweet Chestnuts in churches at Easter.
Sweet Chestnuts were once called “the rice that grows on trees.” This is due to the fact that the action of the plant is similar to that of brown rice.