Is Horse Chestnut Extract Helpful for Varicose Veins?

Doctor Answers 2

Horse Chestnut extract for varicose veins

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Horse chestnut extract, taken as 300 mg doses twice daily has been shown to be as effective as wearing compression venous stockings in eliminating symptoms associated with this condition

Conservative therapy of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) consists largely of compression treatment with stocking garments. However, this often causes discomfort and has been associated with poor compliance. Therefore, oral drug treatment is an attractive option and researchers in the Cochrane Group have looked at the utility of using horse chestnut extract as an alternative.

According to the Cochrane Group, "there appeared to be an improvement in chronic venous insufficiency, also known as venous reflux disease related signs and symptoms with the use of horse chestnut extract when compared with placebo".

The evidence presented implies that horse chestnut extract is an efficacious and safe short-term treatment for chronic venous reflux disease.

Horse Chestnut extract

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is supposed to help with symptoms of varicose vein disease.  there is no demonstrable improvement in venous dynamics however so it is unclear how it will help in the long term.

i am always concerned when patients are treating a pathological condition involving definite mechanical dysfunction with something not well proven.  allergies and sensitivites are always possible and may interact with the medicine  you are taking.

i would recommend compression stockings AND this extract to improve symptoms if you want a conservative approach.


Craig Crippen, MD
Kelowna Physician

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