Horse Chestnust Seed Extract for Venous Insufficency

The fruit of the Horse chestnut tree. They are...

Venous insufficiency is a very common problem. It occurs when one way valves in the veins are not working properly due to damage therefore blood pools in the legs and fluid leaks out into the tissue of the lower leg. Most commonly it is associated with varicose veins but this is the most benign symptom. In severe cases (which I have seen MANY) the legs are chronically severely swollen causing pain and open wounds that simply will not heal. The only accepted treatments are compression stockings or frequent visits to have the legs wrapped. Usually these interventions are not very effective.

One time when I was researching treatments on UpToDate (a payed website many physicians use to get good reliable medical information) I found mention of an herbal supplement for venous insufficiency. This surprised me as UpToDate is a very western, main stream type of website that does not mention herbs or vitamins as treatments in any other instance that I know of. In this case it was Horse Chestnut Seed extract. So I went to the research and sure enough, studies by Dr Bisler, Pittler, Siebert and Leach all seperately showed that horse chestnut seed extract was effective for venous insufficency. Each of these physicians demonstrated it independently from each other. And it also surprised me (although by now I guess it shouldn’t have) that the data went back as far as 1996. I had never heard of this treatment for this very debilitating and costly disease and neither had any of my colleagues I spoke to, yet the data was almost 20 years old. And like many other natural treatments, it had few if any side effects and is quite cheap.

It is no silver bullet but it does offer significant improvement. Again, this has to be studied and that could be done easily and cheaply. Merely randomize a large number of venous insufficiency patients (my hospital alone could furnish a few hundred) to placebo or horse chestnut seed extract and there you go. We will finally know if it works and if so start using it. I for one already find the evidence compelling enough and use it for all my venous insufficiency patients.


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