Horse chestnut, we all know the big tree with distinctive conical inflorescences and fruits. Aesculus hippocastanum is the chestnut tree that has white blooms and Aesculus CAMEA those with red blooms. Horse chestnut is not toxic, but unpalatable. It is mostly known as a healing plant. For this purpose the leaves, bark, flowers, and fruits are used. It is best known use is for anti-varicose veins, swelling in the legs and cramps, hemorrhoids, the extended veins, to promote blood circulation.
Horse chestnut as soap, shampoo and detergent
Much less known (at least today) is its use as a mean for washing and cleaning, as a soap. From it you can prepare soapy water, i.e. liquid soap, which can be used both for personal hygiene and hair shampoo, as well as a detergent for washing and cleaning. In fact, the horse chestnut can be used for delicate fabrics such as silk and wool. Older people may still remember the use of horse chestnut.
Horse chestnut contains saponin aesculin. Saponins are substances that are found in many plants, such as primrose, ivy, horsetail, birch. Saponins protect the plants against molds, while pharmaceuticals preparations containing this substance are used to facilitate expectoration, break down mucus, and promote the excretion of body water and the like. Saponins are also used in the food and cosmetic industry as an emulsifier and stabilizer.
To prepare a detergent, just peel some conkers, discard the brown peels and add rinse. Grate the conker innards and add them to a bowl filled with warm water and let them soak for an hour or two. Strain and use the chestnut water as liquid clothes soap.