Horse chestnut is a type of plant that is used in the manufacture of herbal supplements for a variety of health conditions, and its use for varicose veins is considered as an alternative, or nontraditional form, of treatment. The supplement is a proven treatment for varicose veins, but patients should only use horse chestnut under the supervision of a doctor to prevent associated risks and side effects. Virtually all portions of the horse chestnut plant are used to make supplements, including the seeds, bark, and flowers, but the seeds are the primary component used to treat varicose veins as they are thought to help improve blood circulation throughout the body. Other benefits of taking horse chestnut for varicose veins include the decrease of other symptoms associated with the condition, as well as a potential decrease of pain and itchiness that the condition causes in some patients.
Generally taken as an oral supplement, as of 2011, the recommended dose of horse chestnut for varicose veins is 300 mg, taken twice a day. Some supplements also contain an active ingredient called aescin. Taking more than the recommended daily dose will not improve the efficacy of the herb, nor will it speed up the process of the possible decreased appearance of varicose veins. These supplements are intended for temporary use only.
This type of treatment is designed to help alleviate minor varicose veins. Although many of these veins do not pose serious health problems, they can be potentially life threatening in other cases. Patients should consider checking with a doctor beforehand to ensure that their veins do not require more serious forms of treatment, such as surgical removal.
Horse chestnut for varicose veins should only be taken as a supplement derived from seed extracts of the plant. Consuming raw parts of the plant carries the risk of poisoning. Patients should check with their doctor before using horse chestnut with other herbs or medications to reduce the chances of drug interactions. Combining horse chestnut with other types of herbs might significantly decrease blood sugar levels.
The herb was first studied by Germans in the 1960s, and is one of the most popular supplements in European markets. Research has stemmed to other areas of possible health treatments, but horse chestnut is only proven as effective for improved blood circulation as of 2011. Horse chestnut supplements are widely available in health food stores as well as online.