I’m looking out at Exeter Cathedral Green on a fine autumn day.
From here, you can’t see the sad wreckage of the Royal Clarence hotel, just the majestic horse chestnut tree that stands to one side of the cathedral itself, slowly shedding its leaves and conkers on the grass.
It’s an interesting herb, horse chestnut.
Nowadays we use it for just one thing, and always in conjunction with other herbs. The conkers contain tannins, which help to tonify the walls of blood vessels, and this is particularly useful in treating varicose veins. It works well when combined with herbs like hawthorn, limeflowers or yarrow to improve the circulation, and some digestive herbs like chamomile or lemon balm.
Taken in short bursts of no more than six weeks or so, horse chestnut will help to prevent varicose veins from getting worse, and improve the state of your circulation generally. Putting your feet up regularly will help, too, and treating your legs to a cold splash after a hot shower or bath will make a huge difference.