In the third and final part of my series on chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), I examine the evidence for five herbal remedies. In the last part, I introduced horse chestnut, which is your best bet. These five offer the next level of potential and are worth consideration.
Here they are:
1. Butcher’s Broom
One study found that 10 milligrams (mg) a day for 12 weeks led to significantly improved symptoms in 150 women. The usual dose is 150 mg, three times a day. It may be more effective when taken with vitamin C. If you have high blood pressure or prostate problems, talk to your doctor first. Butcher’s broom may interfere with high blood pressure medications, such as doxazosin and prazosin, and medications for enlarged prostate.
2. Gotu Kola
One study used doses of 60 or 120 mg a day for two months on 94 patients. Significant symptom (heaviness in the legs, swelling) improvements were observed in the gotu kola-treated group. The usual dose is 20 to 60 mg of standardized extract (called “TTFCA”) twice a day, or 600 to 800 whole herb three times a day. Side effects reported include headache, sunlight sensitivity, stomach upset, and nausea. Avoid using gotu kola if you have diabetes or high cholesterol. If you have to drive or operate heavy machinery, use caution while using gotu kola, as it can cause drowsiness. There are no known drug or food interactions to gotu kola.
3. Grape Leaf
The best study used doses of 360 or 720 mg a day for 12 weeks. The lower dose reduced leg swelling to the same degree as compression stockings or drugs used to treat edema (i.e. swelling). The higher dose let to greater and more sustained improvement.
One 24-week study used 30 or 100 mg a day on 183 patients. Mesoglycan resulted in significantly faster ulcer healing. Note that this remedy can occasionally cause stomach discomfort and nausea. If you are taking a blood thinner or an antiplatelet drug, talk to your doctor.
One eight-week study tested 100 mg of “Pycnogenol” twice or three times a day on 40 patients. Pycnogenol significantly reduced the heaviness in legs and edema.
A typical dose is anywhere from 45 mg to 360 mg a day in three divided doses (for one to two months). It may cause minor stomach discomfort, such as nausea or upset stomach. For this reason, take Pycnogenol with food or right after meals. It can cause an increased risk of bleeding, so people with bleeding disorders or who take blood thinners should exercise caution. Because it enhances
the immune system, pycnogenol shouldn’t be taken by transplant recipients or individuals with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
So there you have it! Don’t take CVI lying down.
Here are the previous parts of this series: