By Isabella @TheWandCarver
The Sweet Chestnut [Castanea sativa] tree lives to be about 700 years old and interestingly, does not bear fruit until around its 25th year of life. It is native to Europe, western Asia and north Africa, and is thought to have been introduced to the British Isles by the Romans; today it can be found commonly throughout Britain in woods and copses, especially in parts of southern England, where it is still managed to form large areas of copping. If you remember my last writing about a nut-bearing tree, The Magickal Walnut Tree, it was believed that the Romans brought those to Britain as well. Would we have had no nuts if not for the Romans? Apparently not, as it is beginning to seem!
It’s a wonderful tree to grow if you have the room for the flowers provide an important source of nectar and pollen to bees and other insects, and red squirrels eat the nuts.
Horse Chestnuts [Aesculus hippocastanum] are easily mistaken for Sweet Chestnuts. Horse Chestnut trees originated in the Balkans and were introduced to the UK in the 1600’s as an ornamental tree.
Horse Chestnuts are one of the first trees to come into leaf each year. The leaves are made up of 5 to 7 leaflets. These trees look at their best in springtime, when they are covered with clusters of either pink or white flowers, known as ‘candles’. The flowers are normally pollinated by the early flying bumble bees.
Shortly after pollination the seeds of the tree appear encased in a prickly green shell about 1cm in diameter. Through the summer they grow to about 5cm in diameter and then in September the prickly casing splits open to release the shiny brown seed, known as a ‘conker’, which is something any child in Britain can spot miles away.
The sweet chestnut is the delicious, edible chestnut that most people are familiar with around the holidays. An edible chestnut is easiest to spot if it is still in its husk, which is spiny and needle-sharp. The toxic, inedible chestnut, the horse chestnut, has a husk that is much smoother, with only a few ‘warts’. Horse chestnuts are the ones commonly found in forests. If you are a wild-gatherer of foods and herbs in the forests or roadside lay-by’s, please take care in gathering the correct Chestnuts.
Chestnut trees and its respective parts are often used in purging, banishing rituals spellwork, however, I have not used them in any of these kinds of spells, so I have no knowledge to offer here.
For blessing a new home to attract abundance and prosperity place a bowlful of Sweet Chestnuts in each room of the new home. Keeping a bowl of Chestnuts close to you is also good for peace of mind. You can carry a couple or handful in your pockets for the same effect.
Chestnuts can be eaten to encourage fertility and desire and may be carried as a charm by women who wish to conceive. Keeping chestnuts around the house (and eating them) encourages abundance. **
Staves made from chestnut wood are said to encourage longevity, increase energy, enhance intuition, and help with grounding and centring of energy. Chestnut wood can also be used to make talismans for justice, success, to gain the sympathy of your audience and to encourage your mind to take in information.
Druids often made staffs from Chestnut wood, because the physical connection to the wood allowed the user to draw longevity and invigoration from the wood.
Sitting under a Chestnut tree will help ground and clarify the mind during periods of meditation.
Place a Chestnut piece of wood or carving under a troubled couple’s bed to ease disputes and relationship problems.
** Warning: As always, take care not to eat of use any kind of nut in your home if you or anyone has nut allergies.
Native Americans may have used a tisane of chestnut leaves to treat severe coughs and heart disease, a poultice of the leaves for sores and a decoction of the bark to treat worms.
Horse chestnut is a traditional remedy for leg vein health. It tones and protects blood vessels and may be helpful in ankle oedema related to poor venous return. It is used extensively throughout Europe as an anti-inflammatory agent for a variety of conditions, in addition to being used for vascular problems. The plant is taken in small doses internally for the treatment of a wide range of venous diseases, including hardening of the arteries, varicose veins, phlebitis, leg ulcers, haemorrhoids and frostbite.
Horse chestnut is an astringent, anti-inflammatory herb that helps to tone the vein walls which, when slack or distended, may become varicose, haemorrhoidal or otherwise problematic. The plant reduces fluid retention by increasing the permeability of the capillaries and allowing the re-absorption of excess fluid back into the circulatory system.
The seeds are the source of a saponin known as aesc in, which is the compound that has been shown to promote normal tone in the walls of the veins, thereby improving circulation through the veins and promoting the return of blood to the heart.
Planetary: Jupiter, Sun
Zodiac: Cancer, Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo
Element[s]: Air, Fire, Water
Powers: Healing, Love, Prosperity, Abundance, Attracting Animals, Relieving Worry, Transforming Karma
Deity: Artemis, Diana, Boann
Other Names: Sweet Chestnut, Candle Tree
As always, I thank you kindly for reading my blog and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes
The Magic of Trees: A Guide to Their Sacred Wisdom & Metaphysical Properties, by Tess Whitehurst