German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim received a US patent yesterday for its extract of red vine leaves which can be used as a treatment for chronic venous insufficiency.
The dietary supplement is said to prevent and/or alleviate the discomfort of mild-to-moderate chronic venous insufficiency of the legs, a condition which affects millions of people around the world.
The aqueous vine leaf extract, which has a high flavonol content, has been found, in clinical trials, to be as effective as the most common treatment approach (with compression stockings).
In-vitro studies show that the vine extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While improvement of the symptoms can be expected within 6 weeks of continuous use, the optimum effect is maintained or amplified on longer use.
A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was carried out on a large sample of patients with mild-to-moderate chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Daily doses of 360mg and 720 mg of the extract appeared safe and effective, reducing lower leg oedema and circumference whilst improving key CVI-related symptoms.
The extent of oedema reduction is at least equivalent to that reported for compression stockings and/or other oedema-reducing agents, according to the patent (no. 6,485,727). The higher dose was as well tolerated as the lower dose but resulted in a slightly greater and more sustained improvement.