Studies show reduction in lower leg edema from fresh plant extract
GHENT, NY – Horse chestnut seed extract, in a fresh plant tincture, tablets and topical gel, have been shown in a meta-analysis to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency, such as lower leg swelling.
The study, “Treatment of Patients With Venous Insufficiency With Fresh Plant Horse Chestnut Seed Extract: A Review of 5 Clinical Studies” by Andy Suter, MsC, Director, Medical Department, Bioforce AG; Silvia Bommer, MD, Director, Medical Services, Bioforce AG Roggwil, Switzerland; and Jordan Rechner, MD Director, Department of Surgery Hospital Alstätten, Altstätten, Switzerland, appears in the journal, Advances in Therapy, Jan/Feb, 2006.
Chronic venous insufficiency is a circulatory disorder that affects between 6 and 10 percent of adults in most industrialized nations; CVI prevalence is known to rise significantly with age. The Edinburgh Vein Study of 1,566 subjects found that 21.2 percent of men and 12.0 percent of women, all older than 50, had CVI. According to Suter, et al, clinical use of HCSE to alleviate the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency began several decades ago, and it has been widely researched in this area, supported by multiple published reports.
The meta-analysis reviewed HCSE fresh plant preparation (as Venaforce) as alcohol tincture (with 39 mg of active ingredient aescin), 25 drops three times daily, two to three tablets of 20 mg aescin three times daily, one tablet with 50 mg aescin twice daily, and topical gel delivering 2 percent aescin, twice daily.
In the first study, 80 percent of the 40 participants taking the alcohol tincture, demonstrated significant symptomatic improvement. In the second study, a six-week placebo-controlled trial using two 20 mg tablets three times daily, the HCSE group showed an average 0.5 cm decrease of ankle swelling (edema) after only two weeks, compared to no change in the placebo group.
A third study of 87 patients taking 50 mg tablets twice daily for eight weeks resulted in statistically significant decreases in ankle and lower leg circumference.
The fourth study analyzed gave 71 patients the topical gel to apply mornings and evenings for six weeks, and resulted in a mean decrease of ankle circumference of 0.7 cm.
The final study looked at the efficacy of the gel versus massage, or massage plus gel and 20 mg tablets for eight weeks on 53 patients with varicose veins. At the study’s conclusion, there was a mean decrease of left ankle circumference of 0.64 cm, and 0.65 cm on right ankle circumference. Of the 53 patients, 11 were pregnant, and used the gel only. The pregnant patients had excellent tolerance of the topical gel application, which resulted in moderate decrease of ankle swelling.
According to the researchers, HCSE’s efficacy is believed to be via an inhibitory effect on the catalytic breakdown of capillary wall proteoglycans.
Suter concludes, “Of the available HCSE preparations, Venaforce formulations are among the best researched in clinical trials that complied with stringent regulatory requirements. Considered together, these studies show that the fresh-plant HCSE products investigated, whether taken orally or applied topically, provide effective treatment for patients with stage I and II chronic venous insufficiency, as assessed by both objective and subjective methods. Safe, well tolerated, and acceptable to patients, the fresh plant HCSE preparation Aesculaforce represents a real alternative therapy for those with mild to moderate forms of venous insufficiency.”