Grape seed extract is commonly prescribed in France for varicose veins and other vascular problems. It contains powerful antioxidant compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), which have been found in lab and animal studies to make blood vessels more elastic and also less likely to leak fluids that cause the leg swelling often associated with varicose veins. However, the natural product I generally recommend for varicose veins is horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE), a remedy popular in Germany that is believed to work similarly to grape seed extract (to reduce pain and swelling in the legs) but has been more extensively studied. The major active ingredient in HCSE is believed to be the compound escin, which helps support normal vessel wall functioning. The dosage for varicose veins is 250 to 300 mg twice a day of standardized horse-chestnut seed extract (the equivalent of 100 mg of escin).
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