Answer to Varicose Veins?
The valves in the vein that keep the blood circulation
upward toward the heart are usually incompetent. Increased pressure from long
standing or exertion, or internal factors such as pregnancy, or lessened support
by the tissues surrounding the veins that occur with ageing and obesity cause
the weakened veins to dilate. Extracts of horse-chestnut seed standardised for
aescin (a key component) appear to be as effective as compression stockings
without the nuisance.
For example, in a well-designed study, the effectiveness
of horse chestnut seed extract versus leg compression stockings was examined
in 240 patients with varicose veins. Patients received either horse chestnut
seed extract (50mg of aescin a day), compressed stockings, or a placebo. Patients
were treated over a period of twelve weeks. Effectiveness was evaluated by a
machine that measures the volume of fluid in the leg. After the three week trial,
lower leg volume of the more severely affected leg decreased an average of 56.5ml
with compression therapy and 53.6 ml with horse chestnut seed extract while
it increased by 9.8 ml with placebo. Compression stockings and horse chestnut
seed extract produced nearly identical reductions in oedema.
So why take the horse chestnut rather than wear the
These are not regular stockings; they are made from special
material, very expensive, and are quite difficult to put on, not to mention
uncomfortable to wear. Horse chestnut seed extracts standardised for aescin
exert anti-oedema and anti-inflammatory properties, and decrease capillary permeability
by reducing the number and size of the small pores in the capillary walls. The
reduction in capillary permeability and oedema appears to result from inhibition
of the enzymes that break down the support structures of the vein.
Lancet. 1996 Feb 3;347(8997):292-4
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