Chestnuts (Scientific Name: Castanea) have creamy white sweet flesh which appears in a number of cuisines. Chestnuts are different from other nuts in that they are low in fat and have high starch content. They have a crumbly texture and a sweet, mild flavour. Chestnut are usually eaten boiled or roasted and are often added to stuffing or soups, or served as a side dish. It can also be ground into flour and used for baking. Chestnut is most abundant during winter season but canned and bottled peeled chestnuts are available year-round.
Chestnuts are produced by seven species of tree within the Castanea genus.Chestnut trees also provide valuable timber.
THE INDIAN CHESTNUT TREE, AESCULUS INDICA
The Indian Chestnut tree is closely related to the horse chestnut tree (Aesculushippocastanea) although the “chestnuts” are smaller and not good to play ‘conkers’ with. They don’t have spines on the outer casing either, so are easy to distinguish. They were introduced into Britain in 1851 and can be seen in many open places such as public parks and gardens. They originally come from the North West Himalayan regions of Pakistan and India, but are grown around the world now. The trees are smaller than the horse chestnuts as they usually reach heights of only 60 feet. They flower later than other trees and are a good source of food for bees in late spring.
Important sources of vitamins and minerals, edible chestnuts are a real help to people with physical and intellectual asthenia, convalescence, elderly and children.
For therapeutic purposes, the harvested parts of the edible chestnut are the bark, flowers, leaves and seeds.
The fruits have a similar composition to the wheat and are a source of carbohydrates, phosphorus, lecithin and vitamin C. They also contain protides, fat, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium and their caloric value is 200 calories per 100 g.
Chestnut is a good body builder food and recommended in cases of emaciation (wasting away of body tissues).
Chestnut aids in the care of the teeth and treatment of pyorrhoea.
The leaves are used as remedy in fever.
Chestnut is use in convulsive cough such as whooping cough and in other condition of the respiratory organ.
Chestnut can help repair microscopic holes and leaks in blood vessels and capillaries; it can also help make the vein wall elastic therefore preventing swelling and damage.