Description: Natural Order, Sapindaceae. Genus AESCULUS:-Calyx five-toothed. Corolla irregular, four to five-petaled. Stamens seven, (six to eight,) distinct, unequal, hypognous. Style filiform, with the ovary three-celled, and two seeds in each cell. Fruit coriaceous. Leaves digitate, five to seven-foliate. Inflorescence paniculate, terminal. A. HIPPOCASTANUM: This is a large and very beautiful tree, native to Asia, but much cultivated in Europe and America on account of its elegant form and foliage. It grows rapidly, and attains a height of forty or more feet. Leaves of seven obovate leaflets, on long petioles, dark-green; leaflets spathulate, acuminate, serrate, two to five inches long. Petals five, pinkish-white, blooming in June, and appearing in numerous pyramidal racemes. Fruit prickly. Seeds mahogany-colored, shining, roundish, an inch in diameter, with a large pale hilum. The seeds are eaten by deer.
Properties and Uses: The bark is a narcotic astringent, and is not a curative agent; yet some have commended it as a tonic in intermittents. The rind of the nuts is a stronger narcotic–possessing about one-third the strength of opium. The powdered kernels provoke sneezing.
AESCULUS GLABRA, and AESCULUS FLAVA, which are known as the Ohio Buckeye, are said to possess properties similar to the above; though I have conversed with several physicians who assert that their bark is not narcotic, but that it is a tonic and astringent quite equal to the bark of Cornus Florida. One physician, whose name I failed to note down, told me that he had used the kernel of the nut many times for wind colic, and found it very valuable. He gave ten or more grains every hour; and never noticed any narcotic effect, but merely a gentle relaxation of the intestinal structures.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com