Chinese chestnut (scientific name: Castanea mollissima, Chinese Pinyin: Ban Li, Simplified Chinese: 板栗), is a species of erect, deciduous tree with light yellow flower and green cupule (usually containing two or three glossy brown nuts). The plant is classified in genus Castanea in the beech family, Fagaceae. Habitats of Chinese chestnut include wasteland, river shoal and hillsides (usually from between 0 to 2,800 meters in elevation). Native to China, Taiwan, and Korea, the plant can grow up to 20 m tall. Characteristics of Chinese chestnut include ability to withstand cultivation at high altitudes, adaptation to various soil properties (such as sandy land), tolerance for drought and flooding. The root bark, leaves, flower, nuts of Chinese chestnut are used as hemostatic (stops bleeding drug) and spleen and qi tonic in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as kidney deficiency.
Other simplified Chinese names for Chinese chestnut include: 魁栗, 毛栗, 风栗.
2. Odour, Properties And Channels
The root bark, leaves of Chinese chestnut are considered to have sweet, mild tasting, neutral properties and to be associated with the spleen, kidney and stomach meridians.
The flower bud of Chinese chestnut is considered to have mildly sweet, astringent, neutral properties and to be associated with the spleen, kidney and stomach meridians.
The flower of Chinese chestnut is considered to have mildly bitter, astringent, neutral properties and to be associated with the spleen, kidney and stomach meridians.
The nut of Chinese chestnut is considered to have brackish, warm and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the spleen, kidney and stomach meridians.
3. Uses, Health Benefits of Chinese Chestnut & Medical Formulas
3.1 Blood Sugar Level And Diabetes
The root of Chinese chestnut contains syringic acid, a naturally occurring O-methylated trihydroxybenzoic acid, which inhibits the activity of a specific enzyme called alpha-glucosidase and stabilises the blood sugar level to prevent the plunges and peaks dangerous for diabetic patients.
3.2 Anti-Cancer, Reduce Stress
The root of Chinese chestnut also contains another important compound, vanillic acid. Vanillic acid is a type of phenolic acids which are antioxidants that may also help prevent and repair DNA and cell damage that can result in cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Studies suggest that foods and herbs containing phenolic acids could help reduce stress, prevent cancer, and improve thinning hair.
3.3 Stopping Bleeding
Calcined Chinese chestnut mixed with musk can be taken orally with warm water to stop nosebleeds.
3.4 Wound And Injuries
Smashed Chinese chestnut is applied externally to facilitate the healing of injuries from falls, fractures, contusions and strains.
3.5 Rectal Prolapse
A decoction of Datura stramonium, Chinese chestnut and sodium sulfate can be used externally to treat rectal prolapse.
3.6 Improve Kidney Function, Promote Vitality And Sexual Energy
Chinese chestnut cooked with male dog’s kidney is taken orally to nourish the kidney and relieve back pains due to the kidney deficiency.
The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.
The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.
Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.