Veins are an essential part of our circulatory system as they carry blood back to the heart. However, sometimes the veins in our bodies can become weakened and damaged, causing them to appear swollen and enlarged. This condition is known as varicose veins, and they often appear as blue or dark purple, lumpy, swollen, or twisted.(1) Spider veins, a mild variation of varicose veins, are also common. (2) Varicose veins are caused by weakness in the venous walls and poor function of the valves that regulate blood flow in our bodies. In healthy veins, tiny valves open and close to allow blood to flow smoothly to the heart. But when these valves are not working properly, blood can flow backward and collect in the vein, leading to the development of varicose veins.
Understanding Varicose Veins: Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms
Varicose veins affect women more than men
Certain conditions can increase the chance of developing varicose veins, such as constipation, hormonal changes, heredity, older age, being overweight, and working in a job that requires prolonged standing
Pregnancy is also a common factor in developing varicose veins
Varicose veins can cause pain, fatigue, restlessness, burning sensation, tingling, and heaviness in the legs, making them more than just a cosmetic issue
Tips to Lower Your Risk of Varicose Veins:
Exercise regularly, such as walking, to promote blood circulation in your legs
Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the veins
Elevate your legs above heart level during breaks to improve blood flow
Avoid prolonged sitting or standing to encourage better circulation
Consider natural remedies to reduce swelling and discomfort associated with varicose veins.
Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins
Natural Dietary Remedies for Varicose Veins: Incorporate These Foods and Drinks for Stronger Blood Vessels and Pain Relief
Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables for flavonoids, vitamin C, and fiber.
Consume foods like rosehip tea, buckwheat, apples, and garlic that contain rutin, which strengthens blood vessels.
Stay hydrated by drinking enough water to maintain blood pressure and prevent constipation.
Add chili peppers to your diet as they are a rich source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids that increase blood flow and reduce pain from swollen veins.
Enjoy a cup of ginger tea with lemon or orange peel daily to benefit from ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties and citrus peel’s bioflavonoids that strengthen blood vessel walls.
Herbal Remedies for Varicose Veins: Natural Supplements to Alleviate Symptoms
Butcher’s Broom: Traditional herbal medicine for minor venous circulatory disturbances that can alleviate discomfort and heaviness of legs, especially in the lower legs. (3)
Horse Chestnut: A popular treatment for varicose veins that can reduce symptoms such as pain, tiredness, tension, itching, and swelling in the legs.(4)
Grape Seed Extract: Contains proanthocyanidin constituents that can improve venous tone and reduce symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, while grape leaf extract (red vine leaf extract) can alleviate tired or heavy legs, tension, tingling, and pain.(5)
Always Consult a Physician Before Starting to Take Supplements
Natural Topical Applications for Varicose Veins: Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil with Cypress Essential Oil
Apple cider vinegar
An external application of apple cider vinegar on varicose veins can help increase blood circulation, reduce heaviness and swelling. A randomized controlled trial from Turkey found that patients who applied apple cider vinegar along with their doctor’s treatment experienced positive effects on their varicosity symptoms.(6)
How to use: Moisten a piece of cotton with apple cider vinegar and apply it to the varicose vein area, wrapping it for 30 minutes twice a day for a month. Test on a small area before applying, and dilute with water to avoid skin reactions.
Olive oil with Cypress essential oil
A gentle massage of a mixture of olive oil and cypress essential oil can increase blood flow to the area and reduce pain and inflammation. Cypress essential oil has been traditionally used for varicose veins.
How to use: Mix 2 teaspoons of olive oil with 5 drops of cypress essential oil, apply the mixture over the leg, and massage gently twice a day for a few weeks.
In conclusion, taking steps to maintain healthy circulation and strengthen the veins’ valves can be beneficial in improving and supporting conditions of varicose veins and spider veins.