The active ingredients include flavonoid polyphenols quercetin and isoquercitrin, both of which are believed to help maintain healthy leg circulation. They may support weak veins and soothe tired, aching, swollen, restless legs and chronic venous insufficiency, a complication of varicose veins where the valves in the legs don’t work efficiently.
The red vine leaf used in the extract is picked when the leaves have the highest content of nutrients, including 10 per cent flavonoid polyphenols. After harvesting, the leaves are dried and nutrients extracted using purified water and precise temperature controls.
Dr Sarah Brewer says: ‘Red vine leaf extract is a popular supplement for poor circulation in the lower legs and has been shown to reduce leg swelling in clinical trials. Tired, heavy, aching legs are a common problem for people who spend a lot of their working days or sitting.’
What does vein-vine extract do?
Quercetin and isoquercitrin the active ingredients in red vine extract are flavonoids – a group of plant pigments that give fruit and vegetables their colour.
They are believed to help strengthen or repair weak vein walls in the legs with their antioxidant effects by aiding circulation and thereby prevent or ease the discomfort caused by tired aching or swollen legs.
Chronic venous insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a complication of varicose veins, swollen or enlarged veins in the legs, where the valves in the long leg weaken, become leaky and allow blood to flow back under the effects of gravity to pool in the legs. This puts increasing pressure on the walls of the veins, which start to bulge.
Symptoms can include swelling, pain during walking (which stops when you rest) and tight-feeling calves. Legs can also feel heavy and ache.
CVI can also lead to other conditions include varicose vein eczema – where the skin around the veins becomes dry and flakes – and also venous ulcers, where poor circulation and pressure in the veins causes swelling and tissues to break down to form an ulcer.
Several studies have found red-vine extract may reduce swelling in CVI. One study where patients with mild to moderate CVI were given a red vine extract supplement and compared to others given a placebo found those given the red vine extract had a significant reduction in leg volume (swelling) over 12 weeks of treatment.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common condition affecting around 1 in 10 people at some point in their life. It causes an overwhelming urge to move the legs which people find hard to ignore and sometimes a crawling sensation under the skin. It affects twice as many women as men and often there is no apparent cause.
It’s believed that red vine extract may help with RLS too, as the two conditions can be related, although no clinical studies have been carried out.
Getting red-vine from your diet
You can buy teas made with red vine extract. Alternatively quercetin, one of the ingredients of vein-vine extract, is also found in citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea and red wine, as well as dark cherries and blueberries. Isoquercitrin is found in red wine, tea and mangoes.
Because it is difficult to judge how many flavonols you are getting in food, taking a supplement might be an easier option.
Possible side effects of red vine leaf extract include headaches and mild stomach upsets. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take red vein life extract as its effects have not been studied. It should also be avoided if you have liver or kidney disease.
A 360mg tablet a day of vein-vine red vine extract is considered a standard treatment.