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Latin Name: Aesculus hippocastanum
Group: Second Nineteen
Emotional Group: Insufficient interest in present circumstances
Emotional response: Mental congestion
For those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not desire from entering their minds. Usually at such times when the interest of the moment is not strong enough to keep the mind full. Thoughts which worry and will remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return. They seem to circle round and round and cause mental torture. The presence of such unpleasant thoughts drives out peace and interferes with being able to think only of the work or pleasure of the day. [Bach: Twelve Healers and Other Remedies 1936]
…the perfect method of learning this is by calm thought and meditation, and by bringing ourselves to such an atmosphere of peace that our Souls are able to speak to us through our conscience and intuition and to guide us according to their wishes. [Bach: Collected Writings]
For a pattern of thoughts which constantly repeats and gives no rest to the mind, continual internal argument, worry and chatter, mental congestion. Thoughts circulate without resolution, going over and over the same conflict, preoccupation that obstructs clarity, a drama forever re-enacted in the mind and gives no rest. Symptoms may include tiredness, insomnia, confusion, depression, guilt feelings, repetition of a topic in conversation, lack of calmness, nervous worry, often causes headaches.
[Barnard: Guide to the Bach Flower Remedies]
White Chestnut is in both Rest and Exam combinations.
Chestnut is tolerant of most soils and conditions but requires full light and space to grow. It is generally seen as a planted tree in parkland and gardens.
The Horse Chestnut tree is a relative newcomer to the English countryside. (See Chestnut Bud)
Where Star of Bethlehem is needed to reassemble a pattern with clear lines of geometry and structure, White Chestnut dispels a repeating pattern of thoughts. These thoughts, said Bach, ‘seem to circle round and round and cause mental torture’. The link to Star of Bethlehem can easily be seen if we imagine an accident and attendant shock. Star would bring comfort and ease the trauma. But suppose, as often happens, we play and replay the sequence of events within our mind, a tape recorder on an endless loop. Then we experience the White Chestnut state: ‘thoughts which worry and will remain, or if for a time thrown out, will return’.
The flowers of White Chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum, lack any defined shape or design. Single flowers, 30 – 40 of them, are held in a loose pyramid on a central stem. A complex spiral of small side branches hold sets of two, three or four flowers. The effect is made more irregular by the fact that on these smaller stalks the blooms open randomly through the weeks of early summer. Bursts of varying intensity pulse through the massed light of the flowering candles. Each single flower has five amorphous white petals, delicate and beautiful, but uneven in form. The centre of each flower is splashed with yellow which quickly turns to red upon pollination. Fringed with hairs, the petals grow larger as the bud opens. The botanical form varies: some flowers are infertile – this helps to limit the number of seeds once the first flowers are fertilised, setting a restraint upon the future generation. In a perfect White Chestnut flower there are five sepals, five petals, seven stamens, one pistil and a three-chambered ovary containing two rudimentary seeds. Another contrast with the clear form of Star. The seven stamens are most prominent, curving out like tongues from a mouth. Altogether the impression is one of change, movement and asymmetry. The flowers are not disorderly but do not conform to a clear pattern or geometry.