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Horse chestnut seed extract
Started by John in Dallas
Posted: July 10, 2008 at 04:57
Has anyone tried using horse chestnut seed extract to help with their PTS? I did some research and it is supposed to help with chronic venous insufficiency. I am going to try it and see what happens.
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #1 by Sharon
Posted: July 10, 2008 at 07:09
Hey John--

How can it help w/ PTS? As our bodies dissolve the clot, the valves embedded in the clot are dissolved as well, or remain embedded. It would either ave to dissolve clot w/o destroying the valve or re-create the valve already dissolved I would think in order to be of any help. If it dissolves clot--bring it on, we will all want to try it!

If there is another way that it helps, I'm curious.
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #2 by Char
Posted: July 10, 2008 at 11:50
This is from Mayo Clinic:
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #3 by Joe R
Posted: July 10, 2008 at 14:59

The nuts, especially those that are young and fresh, are slightly poisonous, containing alkaloid saponins and glucosides. Although not dangerous to touch, they cause sickness when eaten. Some mammals, notably deer, are able to break down the toxins and eat them safely. They are reputed to be good for horses with wind, but this is unproven and feeding them to horses is not advisable. The saponin aescin, however, has been used for health purposes (such as varicose veins, edema, sprains) and is available in food supplements, as is a related glucoside aesculin.[6]

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #4 by Sharon
Posted: July 11, 2008 at 04:58
Okay--Unless I skipped over something, I still don't get HOW it works on PTS.?.?

Have ya'll read that?
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #5 by John in Dallas
Posted: July 11, 2008 at 06:46

I have several links I am going to put on the forum. Because of my my ignorance, I don't know how to set up a direct link in the forum that everyone can click on. Please be patient.
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #6 by Char
Posted: July 11, 2008 at 12:04
From Mayo Clinic
Uses based on scientific evidence Grade* A
Chronic venous insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that is more commonly diagnosed in Europe than in the United States and may include leg swelling, varicose veins, leg pain, itching, and skin ulcers. There is evidence from laboratory, animal, and human research that horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE) may be beneficial to patients with this condition. Studies report significant decreases in leg size, leg pain, itchiness, fatigue, and "tenseness." There is preliminary evidence that HCSE may be as effective as compression stockings.

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #7 by Sarah
Posted: July 11, 2008 at 15:16
I was looking in a medical database for articles describing how HCSE works. There are quite a few randomized studies, but they don't get in to the "how" so much as the outcomes of the study. As far as I can gather, "Reducing the increased capillary permeability and associated oedema may improve microcirculation in the terminal vessels and-possibly-prevent or delay ulceration." (COMPARISON OF LEG COMPRESSION STOCKING AND ORAL HORSE-CHESTNUT SEED EXTRACT THERAPY IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY; Diehm, C.; Trampisch, H.J.)

The active component in horse chesnut seed extract is escin, which is a "saponin extract". The extract acts as a vasoconstrictor. Apparently it can "strengthen" capillaries, or, more techically speaking, a "decrease in the capillary filtration rate" (HORSE-CHESTNUT SEED EXTRACT FOR CHRONIC VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY; Apgar, Barbara)

All of the studies involved short term tretment and it was acknowledged that while HCSE is possibly an attractive alternative to those who don't benefit from or can not tolererate compression therapy, long term benefits have yet to be determined. It did appear that those taking HCSE experienced decreased swelling, leg pain, itching, and leg circumference more so than those given placebo.

It will be interesting to see if more long-term randomized clinical trials will be studied as it seems it has some great potential.

Hope this is informative.

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #8 by Michelle
Posted: July 11, 2008 at 15:53
My thrombosis specialist has been bugging me for years to try this. At the time I was nursing, which is contra-indicated - so I didn't bother. When I went to look into it more (after weaning) - I wasn't happy with the research that's been done. They don't really know how it works - but might have a blood thinning property to it. I'm already taking Warfarin - and I don't want to mess up my INR any further - so I haven't bothered.
The other problem is that it cost about $35 / bottle - and isn't covered by any drug plans. If anyone has taken it, let me know how it went. I really would like to get off the morphine, and if this helps with the pain I have, it would be worth the $$$

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #9 by Char
Posted: July 11, 2008 at 16:22
Just checked with my drug interaction website and no interactions with warfarin. I am going to check the price at the Health Hut in Milwaukee. But with the lack of adequate research I doubt that I would take it. Need more proof, but if Michelle's thrombosis specialist says "try it", he must know something.
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #10 by John in Dallas
Posted: July 12, 2008 at 07:34
Ok, the link didn't work. Can anyone enlighten me?

I give up!!!!! Just copy and paste in the link I tried to provide...that should take you to the website....its title is

Horse chestnut seed extract for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #11 by John in Dallas
Posted: July 12, 2008 at 14:49
Ok, this has been an exercise in frustration. Any time I try to post a link, the post appears for a while, then when I go back later, the post is gone. The site I saw is....


This site gives information on how HCSE works, side reactions, and most of all, scientific references.

As I understand it, HCSE acts as a diuretic, as well as stopping the enzymes (elastase and hyaluronidase) from doing the damage associated with PTS.

I know that there is not a lot of hard data for this, nor will there be in the near future. It takes a lot of money to conduct a clinical trial, and there is little possibility for a sponsor (pharmaceutical company) to appear any time soon. However, we are caught between a rock and a hard place. The "rock" is the gold standard - coumadin or other anticoagulants that keep blood clots at bay and compression stockings to keep the swelling down and assist with the return blood flow. The "hard place" is that new cutting-edge technology is rare for this disease.

I understand about clinical trials. My father-in-law is a chief medical officer at a pharmaceutical company. He has doubts about the information on HCSE. However, he also gave me information on how to research a "nutraceutical". He stated that he didn't have all the answers and that barring any major side reactions or other drug interactions, it was up to me. He told me to let my doctors know, so they could keep an eye on it too.

From my perspective, I have nothing to lose. HCSE has minor side reactions. All of the current "treatments" don't touch the feelings of heaviness or aches in the leg. Maybe the combination of compression hose and HCSE will relieve the symptoms. I don’t think that my symptoms are all that bad compared to a lot of what I have read in the forum, however, I would like to feel as close to normal as I used to be.

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #12 by John in Dallas
Posted: July 12, 2008 at 14:54
Wow, you learn something every day. The trick to posting a link is to not use programming code - that gets the whole post booted off - and you HAVE to put http: in front of the link. www by itself doesn't work.
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #13 by Feelgood
Posted: July 14, 2008 at 20:26

I was diagnosed with a DVT and PE in June of 2004. I am currently on warfarin until December at which time my doctor said I could get off. I am concerned now that I have vein damage and will possibly reclot in the future and am looking for something to help prevent that. They believe the reason for my clot was that I was on birth control pills as all genetic tests have so far come back negative. I am now off the pill. I have been researching different things such as nattokinase, vitamin e, horse chestnut among other herbs. I was wondering if you could tell me the best herbs I could take and what amount of each to help my condition so that I do not reclot after I come off coumadin, but can maintain my lifestyle which includes activities where I could get hurt (skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking). I am in the USA, I am 36 year old female in great health other than this.


My Dear Laura,

I sincerely apologize for taking this long to respond to you. I have Many people contacting me for advice, on supplements and treatments... and these past 2 weeks it has been especially busy.

I understand your conditions, and know what to do to help you.

Birth control pills are dangerous. They deliver synthetic progesterone i believe, and this has been linked to Uterine cysts and breast cancers. I don't know how Doctors can prescribe so many toxic and often life threatening 'Medicines'. It is sad really.

You may find it most interesting, that Doctors and Prescription drugs are the leading cause of Death in N. America. Medical organizations estimate that about Two Hundred Thousand people Die in N.America because of a lack of knowledge on the part of doctors and because of toxic prescription 'drugs'.

When i was living in Uganda for some time as a child, the country was in a civil war... in that year, we did not have even half that number losing their lives... and this was a WAR - people were looking to take the lives of other people. So that says something.

Nattokinase... Yes, please continue this. This was discovered by a Japanese Doctor. It was tested against many other products that were said to have the same specific actions on the veins and it came out as the best from that group.

Horse Chestnut is a Common Prescription in Germany...
used for weak veins and slow circulation. It is a Useful Herbs... However, i do not recommend this herb because i have discovered something Far better.

It is an Anti-Oxidant that is from a group of chemicals known as Oligomeric-ProanthoCyanidins.
These healing chemicals are extracted mainly from Pine Bark and Grape seed and skin. I advise this over any other anti-oxidant. It will benefit your veins a lot, and help circulation. There are many other benefits to using this, as it benefits vision problems, edema, they protect the heart, protect capillaries, have strong anti-inflammation properties, diabetic retinopathy, carpal tunnel, protects the body against radiation, and works to rid stomach and lung cancers.

All this in a few simple natural chemicals. I recommend this over horse chestnut.

I also advise 2 more supplements for you, one is called "Transfer Factor advanced formula"
It is the most advanced Natural Immune system healer known to medicine. It awakens the inherent healing abilities of the immune system, and the immune system in return Prevents illness, viral attacks, oxidation, drug damage...
heals auto-immune conditions of all kinds... and will destroy any sort of viral or pathogenic threats to the body. The transfer factor also teaches the immune system when to Downgrade its response and to Rest, and when to Upgrade it when there is a potential threat to the body.

Again another simple molecule... but very powerful.

You can read about it here: http://TF.notlong.com

The Second is called "Tea4Life" It is a gentle Cleansing Tea... that promotes detoxification, and it stimulates intestinal peristalsis. This one is not mandatory for your condition, But will Help it overall. Each tea bag can be used twice.

You can purchase the 3 supplements from this website as well. -Read about them and look at their Ingredients.

I allow all my clients to order at my cost. So rather than paying the retails cost, you are welcome to pay what i do, there is no problem.

If you wish to order these - look at the 'Contact Us' link on the website.

Dosage: Start with 2 PBGS+ and Two Transfer factor advanced every morning, before breakfast. After 2-3 weeks increase to 4 PBGS+ if you feel you need to. You can take the other two before lunch if you wish.

With the Tea, you can start with One Tea Bag after dinner
every day.

This is the Protocol advised for your specific condition, and it has worked Very Well for my clients.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

If you have any more questions... please ask, i will make sure i reply to you First this time!
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #14 by Feelgood
Posted: July 14, 2008 at 20:41
I think Pycnogenol is superior to horse chest extra.

One month of treatment with Pycnogenol (360mg per day reduced lower limb circumference and improved subjective symptoms better than horse chestnut seed extract in a study of 40 patients with diagnosed chronic venous insufficiency.

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #15 by John In Dallas
Posted: July 15, 2008 at 04:49

I am looking for VERY specific SCIENTIFIC information on nutraceuticals. I would like you to post the specific references to these studies you mention.

One of the problems I have with nutraceuticals in general is the "miracle pill" approach. It seems like whenever one of these natural remedies comes out, the thing is able to combat cancer, body odor, warts, mental problems, dermatitis, athlete's foot, and your very own personal problem too. All of these claims sound miraculous, but are lacking in substantiated evidence - evidence provided by someone other than the people selling the item.

I do believe that natural remedies are out there and have been used for a long time - the Chinese have done this for ages - and that they are effective. However, I become skeptical of a "cure-all". Evidence speaks for itself.
Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #16 by Feelgood
Posted: July 15, 2008 at 05:58
Hi John, I have only been taking it (pycnogenol) for a couple of days so I cannot speak from personal experience, but based on what I read online it is effective against CVI.

Here are a few links i ve found:

Pycnogenol® Significantly Reduces Varicose Veins


Dr. F. Feine-Haake tested Pycnogenol therapy for varicose veins. The study involved 100 individuals with a mean age of 65 who were diagnosed as having varicose veins. They received 15 mg. of Pycnogenol daily. Eighty percent of the cases showed clear clinical improvement, and a 90 % success rate was reported for 40 individuals who had experienced nightly calf muscle cramps.

Pine Bark Naturally Decreases Severe Chronic Venous Insufficiency Study Shows


Dr. F. Feine-Haake studied the benefit of 30 mg.x 3/daily of Pycnogenol on 100 persons having varicose veins. 80% showed a clear improvement

I also found interesting this testimony:


After reading about the benefits of pycnogenol for venous insufficiency, especially the study that showed it was more effective than the prescription drug Daflon, i just had to try it, to find out if it really works.

I paid about £10 for 60, 30 mg tablets. The daily doses given to subjects involving pycnogenol ranged from about 100mgs to 200mgs. I decided to take 3 tablets a day, so 90mgs for me. I was very interested in the potential benefits this stuff could offer, as i have all the classic symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency like skin colouring (brown patches) itching, cramps, and of course the actual varicose veins and spider veins.

Added to this is a large bruise just at the back of my knee, about the size of a golf ball, which appeared after i had my second varicose vein operation, around 3 years ago, and has never gone away. Next to this bruise are some small spider veins. So all in all i reckon i am a classic example of CVI, and the perfect test case.

After 3 days i noticed that the large bruise on the back of my knee has started to fade a little, along with some of the spider veins around it. One week on from this it had faded even more. I has read a study about pycnogenol that had shown it could reduce cramp episodes in athletes and people with venous problems. I do a lot of running on the treadmill at the gym, and also play squash, badminton and tennis. I am prone to getting cramps in my legs. Have you ever woken up and given your legs a good stretch, only to be rewarded with a very painful bout of cramp?

Christ it hurts!! One trick i use is to grab my toes and pull them upwards, towards me. This does help, unless its your big toe that has cramped up, which has happened to me before now! If you can't reach your toes (and many of us can't) then just try to point them upwards, this will help. Anyway, i used to get these cramps about twice a week. I don't really know if they are brought on by my varicose veins or the fact that i run around a lot. What i do know is that after taking pycnogenol for 3 weeks the cramps have gone away.

The brown skin colouring on my shin has also started to clear up. The itching has almost completely gone, (the aloe vera i took before is without doubt, the best thing out there for this- but pycnogenol appears to work too). As for my varicose veins, there does appear to be a reduction in the veins at the top of my legs, they are not so prominent now. I am only testing pycnogenol for 30 days so it may take longer to see even more significant results, or perhaps a stronger dose is required.

My conclusion is that pycnogenol is very effective at combating the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. My testing of this product reduced my large bruise considerably after just 30 days. My cramps have gone, along with the itching, and there is a significant reduction in my brown skin colouring. The varicose veins on my upper leg have begun to fade a little. It would be interesting to hear from anyone else who has used pycnogenol.

Based on my own experience of pycnogenol i would strongly recommend it for helping with CVI. There have been no side effects at all. For this supplement to have done what it has done after just 30 days is impressive, which is why i have rated it as 9/10.

What i am also very interested in, is if these symptoms will come back after i stop taking pycnogenol. I will let you know!


Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #17 by Feelgood
Posted: July 15, 2008 at 06:04
And here is a you tube video on pycnogenol

Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #18 by Feelgood
Posted: July 15, 2008 at 06:22


Re: Horse chestnut seed extract
Reply #19 by JLH
Posted: August 16, 2009
Following my doctor's advice, i have been using compression stockings and horse
chestnut seed extract (300 mg./daily) for the past six weeks.

Prior to beginning this regimen, i had reached a point where i could barely walk... feet
and calves were reddish and swollen; sharp pains in the calves.

My doctor said that (a) I had proven over the past year to not tolerate many
medications very well whereas HCSE had very little in the way of side effects; and (b)
he said it was widely used in Europe for treating CVI and DVT but barely mentioned in
American medical practice. (I did find a positive reference to it at the May Clinic

Today I completed a 2.4 mile walk (fairly brisk pace) and while my feet and legs do
not feel "normal", they are quite capable of such a walk. At least for today.

I have noticed darkened stools since beginning HCSE (despite a daily helping of low-
fat plain yogurt which, in the past, had tended to lighten stool color). Whether this
indicates a change in colon bacteria I do not know.

As I have been taking HCSE for six weeks now, I understand that my doctor may
discontinue it for a while. i have no idea what to expect once it is removed. I would
say, however, it has helped so far...

It cost $12.68 (CDN) for 60 capsules. one month' supply.

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