A. hippocastanum originated from the Balkan and Caucasian regions, before spreading to the European countries (c. 1600). Today it is widespread, at up to 1200 m in altitude.
This plant has been used in common human and veterinary medicines — the decoctions from leaves and seeds as cardiotonics and anti-inflammatories, those from bark and twigs as febrifuges, and both to treat dermatitis. The cotyledons release saponins in hot water, acting as tensioactive agents with some antimicrobial and bacteriostatic properties. The seed meal is inedible for humans because of its strong bitterness and the relevant toxicity of escin fractions. However, when roasted, the seeds can be used as a coffee substitute.
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