Sweet and horse chestnut fruit contain carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, lipids, vitamins, glycosides and coumarin. The lipids are rich in biologically active substances as fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols and tocopherols. The fruit has been used as food, and for medicinal purposes to treat inflammatory and vascular problems.
The fruits of sweet and horse chestnut contain 20 and 81 g kg(-1) glyceride oil respectively. The content of phospholipids in the oils was 49 and 3 g kg(-1). Sterols were found to be 8 and 12 g kg(-1). In the tocopherol fraction (1920 and 627 mg kg(-1)) γ-tocopherol predominated in the sweet chestnut oil (927 g kg(-1)); γ-tocopherol (591 g kg(-1)) and α-tocopherol (402 g kg(-1)) in horse chestnut oil. Palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids predominated in the triacylglycerols. Higher quantities of palmitic and oleic acids were established in the phospholipids and sterol esters.
The fruits of horse and sweet chestnut have a close lipid composition. The oils are rich in essential fatty acids, such as linoleic and linolenic, as well as biologically active substances: phospholipids, sterols and tocopherols. This fact determines the good food value of sweet chestnut fruit and the possibilities for use of horse chestnuts in pharmacy and for technical purposes.