The problem is caused by weakness of the venous walls and poor function of the valves that regulate the blood flow in our bodies.
Varicose veins can develop if the small valves inside the veins are not working properly.
In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. In the blood vessels, there are tiny valves that open and close to let the blood through.
If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged.
Certain conditions can increase the chance of developing varicose veins, such as:
- Varicose veins affect more women than men.
- Hormonal changes.
- Heredity-having a close family member with varicose veins.
- Older age.
- Being overweight.
- Working in a workplace that requires prolonged standing.
Varicose veins are not only a cosmetic problem, but they can also lead to pain, fatigue, restlessness and burning sensation, tingling and heaviness of the legs.
How to reduce and eliminate the risk of varicose veins:
- Exercise: walking is a wonderful way to encourage blood circulation in your legs.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: weight loss can help to reduce pressure on the veins.
- Raise your legs: improve blood circulation to your feet, take a few breaks during the day and lift your legs above your heart level.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time: change your body posture frequently to encourage blood circulation.
You can try these natural treatments to reduce the severity of swollen veins and reduce some of the discomfort caused by it.
Here are some natural treatments you can do at home:
- Eat more fruits and veggies; it is important to increase fresh foods, rich sources of flavonoids, vitamin C and fibre.
- Rosehip tea, buckwheat and apples contain the active ingredient Rutin, strengthening the blood vessels.
- Drink enough water– important to maintain blood pressure and prevent constipation.
- Chilli pepper- the hot pepper is a rich source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. It can help by increasing the blood flow and reducing the pain from the swollen veins.
- Eat more Garlic- it may help to reduce inflammation and varicose veins in the legs. It also helps to remove harmful toxins from blood vessels and improve blood flow.
- Ginger tea with lemon/orange peel- Ginger has a long history of medicinal use dating back 2,500 years in China and India for conditions such as headaches, nausea, rheumatism, and colds. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and with warming effects, characterized by Chinese traditional medicine as spicy and hot. Ginger is claimed to warm the body and treat cold extremities. Citrus peel is an excellent source of bioflavonoids and vitamin C that strengthening the blood vessels walls. Enjoy by adding a cup of tea daily to your diet.
*Always consult a physician before starting to take supplements.
1. Butcher’s Broom: traditional herbal medicine that may help relieve symptoms of discomfort and heaviness of legs related to minor venous circulatory disturbances (3). It is especially effective in relieving pain and discomfort of the lower legs.
2. Horse chestnut: has been used for years in the treatment of varicose veins. Taking horse chestnut seed extract can reduce chronic venous insufficiency symptoms, such as varicose veins, pain, tiredness, tension, itching, oedema, and swelling in the legs. (4)
3. Grape seed extract: its proanthocyanidin constituents orally seems to reduce chronic venous insufficiency and improve venous tone. Grape leaf extract, known as red vine leaf extract, decreases tired or heavy legs, tension, and tingling and pain. (5)
Apple cider vinegar
Apple vinegar may improve blood circulation. When the blood begins to flow naturally, the varicose veins’ heaviness and swelling can be reduced. Online, I found many websites that suggest this homemade easy treatment.
But is it really worth to try? A randomized controlled trial from Turkey published in 2016 checked the effect of apple cider vinegar’s external application on varicosity symptoms in 120 patients.
The researchers found that apple vinegar’s external application on varicosity patients increased their treatment’s positive effects. (6)
The patients in the study were suggested to apply apple vinegar to the leg area with varicosity alongside the doctor’s treatment.
The patients were taught to elevate legs by 45 degrees, moisten a cotton piece with natural apple vinegar, apply this to the area with varicosity (by wrapping), and wait for 30 minutes twice a day in the morning and evening for a month.
Before apple vinegar application, patients were asked to apply apple vinegar to a small part of the leg beforehand to determine allergies.
In the case of dryness being present on the leg because of the application, the patients were told to apply moisturizer to the area and abandon the application in case of irritation on the skin.
Allergies or irritation was not seen on any of the patients during or after the study.
How to use?
Use a piece of cotton moistened with apple cider vinegar as a cold compress for half an hour while your legs lifted.
Do this every day, twice a day for a few weeks.
Test on a small part of the leg before starting the process to avoid skin reactions and dilute the apple cider vinegar with water.
Olive oil and Cypress essential oil
A gentle massage of olive oil mixed with cypress essential oil will increase blood flow to the area and may reduce pain and inflammation. Mix 2 teaspoons of olive oil with 5 drops of cypress essential oil, apply the oil mixture over the leg and massage gently, repeat twice a day for a few weeks.
Cypress essential oil has been traditionally used in the treatment of varicose veins.
For conclusion, supporting healthy circulation and strengthening the veins’ valves can help improve and support varicose veins and spider veins conditions.