Around half of all people will develop varicose veins of some type eventually, but they’re especially common in women. The older you are, the higher your risk of getting varicose veins. They’re also very common during pregnancy. Although they’re often just a cosmetic issue, they sometimes cause pain or discomfort. You can correct varicose veins with surgery or other minimally invasive treatments, but for most people, the issue doesn’t pose any major risk, and medical intervention isn’t an ideal option.
There are quite a few reported natural remedies you can try to reduce your existing varicose veins and prevent more from forming. These treatments improve your circulation, reduce vein swelling, and relieve pain. As medical professionals we cannot attest these, however patients have mentioned the benefits to these natural remedies for varicose veins.
Eight Natural Treatments for Varicose Veins
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a plant whose gel is great for treating a variety of skin conditions. It also is an easy way to reduce the appearance of varicose veins. You can apply the gel directly from the stalk of the plant or purchase the gel from most health shops.
However, the most effective way to use aloe vera to treat the veins is with a mixture of aloe, apple cider vinegar, and carrots. Chop a couple carrots up into large pieces and blend them until they’re smooth. Then, add an equal amount of aloe vera and mix the two together. Gradually add apple cider until the mixture is a thick paste. The mixture should be thin enough that you can easily apply it on your skin, but it shouldn’t be too thin or watery.
Apply the mixture to the area affected by varicose veins. Move from your ankles upward toward your thighs with a circular motion. After applying the aloe vera mixture, leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. This treatment is most effective in the afternoon or evening because it can relieve discomfort that may have built up throughout the day. You can apply this daily.
2. Essential Oils
Many essential oils are extremely concentrated and cannot be applied directly to the skin without being diluted first. You can dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil.
Mix 200 mL of the carrier oil with a few drops of the essential oil, and rub the mixture between your hands to warm it up. Massage the oils into the affected area. Try to move from the bottom up to promote circulation. Start at your feet or ankles and work up to your thighs.
Peppermint oil is one of the best oils for varicose veins because it reduces lymphatic congestion, which can lower swelling and increase blood flow. It’s also a great pain reliever. If your varicose veins feel painful, itchy, tingly, or uncomfortable, peppermint oil might be your best option.
Cypress oil has similar effects as peppermint oil. It reduces inflammation and discomfort, and it can strengthen the blood vessels to prevent new varicose veins from forming.
Lemon oil acts as a blood thinner, which can reduce blood pooling and circulation. It also has a great calming effect. Varicose veins often cause feelings of heaviness in the legs, and lemon oil can reduce this. It’s especially helpful to apply at night or right when you get home from work to relax.
Grapes contain flavonoids, which have lots of powerful effects. They relax the blood vessels, improve circulation, prevent blood clots, and reduce hypertension, which are all helpful for vein and circulatory health.
Grape seed extract contains OPCs, or oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, which reduce vein leakage and swelling. This can prevent bulging or enlarged varicose veins from worsening, and it can reduce pain and discomfort.
One study in France observed the effects of grape seed extract on vein health. Participants had venous insufficiency, which is very similar to varicose veins. They took 100 mg of grape seed extract three times per day and had reduced leg heaviness, discomfort, and swelling.
However, most doctors don’t recommend taking grape seed extract when pregnant. If you have developed varicose veins during pregnancy, ask your doctor before you take grape seed extract. Instead, you can eat whole grapes for most of the same benefits.
Garlic improves circulation and protects the aorta, the artery that pumps blood from the heart. You can increase your garlic intake by taking supplements or adding lots of garlic to your meals.
You can try creating a garlic mixture and applying it directly to your skin over your varicose veins. Crush one clove of garlic and mix it with pure alcohol until it makes a thick paste. Apply this over your varicose veins and cover the area with gauze.
You can also make a garlic oil with a few chopped cloves of garlic, 100 mL of orange juice, and 30 mL of olive oil. Combine all the ingredients in a jar and let them sit for several hours. Then, massage the oil into the affected areas for about 15 minutes.
5. Horse Chestnut
Horse chestnut can strengthen veins and arteries, prevent edemas, boost circulation, and prevent further damage to existing varicose veins. You can make a horse chestnut tea by boiling 50 grams of horse chestnut bark in a liter of water for 10 minutes. Then, strain and drink the tea. After repeating this daily for a couple weeks, your varicose veins should look smaller and feel less uncomfortable.
You can try several different natural supplements to treat varicose veins. Aescin is a supplement made from horse chestnut that strengthens the vein walls, improves circulation, and prevents varicose veins from worsening.
V-nal is another helpful supplement that was designed to reduce varicose veins. It contains aescin, rutin, and extracts of Butcher’s broom, an herb that helps with circulation. You can either take this daily in capsule form or apply it as a topical cream. Some people use both forms for maximum effectiveness.
Vitamin C promotes circulation and strengthens vein walls. You can take it as a supplement or incorporate lots of oranges, lemons, berries, and tomatoes into your diet. Vitamin E also helps with varicose veins by stopping blood pooling. It can also relieve pain that sometimes results from varicose veins. You can take vitamin E supplements of consume plenty of foods like broccoli, spinach, almonds, and olives.
7. Diet Changes
Some small diet changes can make a big difference for your varicose veins. Try to reduce your salt intake to lessen water retention and swelling in the veins. Drinking plenty of water will also reduce swelling and relieve discomfort or inflammation. Incorporating more fiber into your diet can help your veins function properly, too.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight by making good diet choices. Extra weight creates extra pressure on your veins, which makes the valves more likely to weaken. Treating varicose veins is more difficult when you’re overweight, too.
Exercise may not get rid of existing varicose veins, but it can prevent them from getting worse. The best exercises for varicose veins are walking, jogging, and cycling because they improve circulation. Participating in one of these activities for 30 minutes per day is one of the best ways to prevent new varicose veins from forming.
You can also try specific leg exercises that stop blood pooling. One popular exercise is leg lifts, which involve lying on the floor and lifting one leg at a time. Then, hold your leg in the air for a few moments and slowly lower it down. Repeat this on your opposite leg.
For calf raises, another effective exercise, start in a standing position. Lift yourself up on your tiptoes slowly, and lower yourself back down after a moment. Side lunges are another helpful option. Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Then, step to the side with your right leg, and bend your leg until your knee forms a 90 degree angle. Slowly straighten your right leg to come back to a standing position, and repeat this on your left leg.
If you work a sedentary office job, try to stand up and walk around at least once every hour to improve your circulation. If possible, prop your feet up on a chair or stool, which will make it easier for your veins to push your blood upward. Avoid crossing your legs, which worsens circulation.
There are medical and surgical options available to correct varicose veins, but natural treatments are cheap, easy, and safe. Many of these treatments involve items you probably already have or can easily get from a supermarket or health food shop, and they can reduce the appearance of your varicose veins and relieve pain and discomfort.
Medical Treatment for Varicose Veins
Your initial consultation will involve a clinical examination in addition to an ultrasound scan to identify the type of varicose veins present and guide the decision regarding the optimum treatment strategy.
Vein Solutions provides a comprehensive range of varicose vein treatment services encompassing both minimally-invasive techniques and conventional vascular surgical procedures to eradicate varicose veins.
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