Varicose veins are enlarged veins caused by problems in blood circulation. Although it may occur in any vein, the veins of the legs and feet are most commonly affected. Most of the time, varicose veins doesn’t cause any pain. They just appear enlarged and twisted. However, in some people it may cause symptoms like heavy feeling in the legs, itching around the veins, aching pain, discomfort and swelling in the legs and skin ulcers. The various factors that contribute to varicose veins include heredity, age, obesity, jobs that demand a lot of standing, constipation, use of birth control pills, and hormonal changes in the body. There are several home remedies and self-care measures you can take in order to reduce the discomfort caused by varicose veins as well as inhibit or prevent the development of this condition. These remedies are explained below:
Self care measures
- Exercise is an important factor that not only helps you stay healthy but also helps get relief from conditions like varicose veins. Walking is an ideal form of exercise for people with this condition as it helps in improving blood circulation in the legs.
- Along with proper exercise, it is crucial to eat a healthy and well balanced diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight takes off the unnecessary pressure exerted in your veins.
- Also, following a low sodium helps in preventing water retention and swelling.
- Avoid long hours of sitting and standing. While standing keep shifting weight between your legs.
- Another measure you can take to encourage blood circulation in your legs is to keep your legs elevated for some time. For this, just lie down with your legs atop three or four pillows.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed as it may affect the blood circulation to your legs.
- Also, avoid wearing high heels and tight clothes around the waist or legs.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes
- Avoid scratching the itchy skin above varicose veins.
Home remedies for varicose veins
Here are some of the home remedies that help reduce the severity of varicose veins and provide relief from the pain, discomfort and other symptoms they may cause:
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best home remedies for varicose veins. Not only does it enhance blood flow and circulation, it also cleanses the body. Better blood circulation ensures that the discomfort associated with varicose veins decreases significantly. Apply undiluted apple cider vinegar over the varicose veins and massage gently. Do this twice daily for a few months and you can see the reduction in the size of varicose veins. Another method is to drink diluted apple cider vinegar two times a day for at least a month.
- Olive oil
Improving the blood circulation helps in reducing the symptoms of varicose veins. Massaging the area with olive oil helps in increasing blood flow, thereby reducing pain and swelling. It also helps in repairing degraded capillaries and blood vessels. To use olive oil for treating varicose veins, first mix together equal proportions of olive oil and vitamin E oil. Warm this mixture slightly and massage your veins with it for a few minutes. Do this two times a day for two months.
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- Castor oil
Just like olive oil, castor oil is anti-inflammatory in nature. It helps improve blood circulation and ease symptoms of varicose veins. Regular massage of legs with castor oil is good way to treat varicose veins at home. For good results apply the oil overnight. Castor oil is common herbal oil and base in Ayurvedic medicine to treat varicose vein
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- Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is a wonderful spice that has many medicinal properties. It is a great remedy for varicose veins because the high levels of vitamin C and bioflavonoids found in cayenne pepper increases blood circulation and offers relief from the pain swelling of veins. The consumption or topical application of cayenne pepper paste can definitely help in reducing the symptoms. Prepare a mixture of cayenne pepper (1 tsp) in a cup of hot water and drink it two or three times daily.
Garlic is another herb that is effective in treating varicose veins. In addition to increasing blood circulation and reducing inflammation, garlic also has the ability to break up the toxins in the blood vessels and aid in their elimination. The regular consumption of garlic or the application of garlic paste on the varicose veins is helpful in reducing the pain and discomfort. Slice up a few cloves of garlic and add it to juice of three oranges. To this mixture, add two spoons of olive oil. Let it sit for 12 hours and after that massage your inflamed veins with a few drops of this solution. Wrap the area with a cotton cloth and keep it overnight. Do this regularly for a few months and see the results.
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- Butcher’s broom
Belonging to the lily family, Butcher’s broom is a traditional remedy for relieving the pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins. This herb contains certain compounds known as ruscogenins that show anti-inflammatory and anti-elastase activity, thus helping to reduce inflammation and constrict the enlarged veins. Butcher’s broom strengthens the collagen in blood vessel walls and enhances circulation. According to a study, published in the German medical journal “Arzneimittel-Forschung,” butcher’s broom extract administered to patients with chronic venous insufficiency (a condition similar to varicose veins)helped in reducing the symptoms significantly. Butcher’s broom supplements are available, which contains several nutrients such as vitamins B, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, etc. These nutrients, in addition to reducing inflammation and swelling in the veins also help improve blood circulation.
- Horse chestnut
The extract obtained from the seeds of horse chestnut is considered extremely effective for treating varicose veins. Horse chestnuts have astringent properties and they are rich in a group of natural compounds collectively known as aescin, which inhibits certain enzymes that can cause damage to the capillary walls. Studies show that administering horse chestnut extract to patients with varicose veins causes a reduction in pain and swelling. A 2006 study involving the use of horse chestnut extract in people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency found an improvement in the symptoms associated with the condition. The extract caused a significant decrease in pain and swelling in the legs. Horse chestnut extract, therefore has the potential to be used as a temporary treatment for chronic venous insufficiency. It also reduces inflammation and edema, and improves the fluid balance of veins. Aescin found in horse chestnut improve elasticity of the veins and inhibits the rate of fluid leakage from affected capillaries.
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- Epsom salt
Epsom salt can help reduce the size of the varicose veins as well as improve blood circulation. Just soak your legs for a few minutes in water mixed with Epsom salt. Taking an Epsom salt bath two times a week is another way to make use of the benefits of this substance. Epsom salt is rich in magnesium and hence supplements your body with magnesium, an important mineral that helps in reducing inflammation.
Marigold is not just a beautiful flower, it is also a great source of vitamin C and flavonoids that stimulate the formation of collagen and helps in the repair and rejuvenation of cells. It also helps alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins by increasing blood circulation. You can either eat fresh marigold petals or apply a cloth dipped in water infused with marigold on the affected area. First boil a cup of marigold flowers in four cups of water for a few minutes. Soak a cotton cloth in this water and apply it on the affected area and leave it on for some time. Do this many times a day until there is improvement in the condition. Another method is to apply a paste of marigold paste on the affected area and leave it overnight. Marigold has been used in folk medicine to treat varicose veins due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to heal damaged tissue. Continuous use of marigold may even help in eliminating varicose veins completely.
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- Grape seed
Grapes have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide variety of health problems. According to research, grape seed extract exhibits strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation and promote healthy blood vessels and hence treat varicose veins. The seeds of red or purple grapes contain high levels of flavonoids, vitamin E, linoleic acid and the antioxidants oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPC), which strengthen the connective tissue of the blood vessels and reduces inflammation. They also protect the blood vessels from free radical damage and increases the elasticity of capillary walls. Grape seed supplements are available in the form of tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. So the next time you decide to throw away the seeds, think again! They could protect you from varicose veins.
- Pine bark
Just like the grape seeds, pine bark is also rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, which makes it very effective for treating varicose veins. In addition to improving blood circulation, the OPC in pine trees also help in repairing damaged tissues in your body. It also improves blood circulation and strengthens the walls of the blood vessels. Studies show that OPC can reduce swelling and pain caused by varicose veins. The intake of pine bark extract causes the strengthening of capillaries as well as increase in their elasticity. This results in improved blood circulation and reduced blood pressure. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of pine bark extracts helps in reducing inflammation.
Another commonly available herb which can be used in treating varicose veins is Parsley. It contains organic compound called Rutin which is powerful in increasing capillary strength. Its high Vitamin C also aids in creating of collagen which repairs damaged vessels. Incorporating this in our diet is good way to treat varicose veins.
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- Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s earth or multani mitti have several applications in treatment of skin. As the fuller’s earth paste applied to skin dries, it pulls the skin and provides feeling of compress. This helps in reducing inflammation. It is believed that worriers used fullers earth to treat swollen feet. They used to place feet in lukewarm water with fuller’s earth added to it, so as to soothe inflamed feet.
Yoga has been long used as cure of various diseases. It is very effective in treating diseases which are originated due to lifestyle disorder just like varicose veins. Various postures in Yoga can help reduce pain, increase blood circulation and improve the condition. Combined with relaxation techniques, it can be boon for people with the problem. Some of the yoga postures include – shoulder stand (Sarvangasana), head stand (Shirshasana), leg fold (Ardhapawan-Muktasana, Pavanmuktasana), boat pose (Naukasana), thigh stretch (Paschimottanasana) and others.
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Home remedies are usually recommended for people with varicose veins that aren’t causing serious pain and discomfort. These remedies help in relieving symptoms, inhibit the advancement of varicose veins, and prevent further complications. They also help you avoid surgery or other costly medical treatment. For a majority of the people suffering from varicose veins, home remedies and self care treatments are enough to get relief from the condition. However, for those who are concerned about their appearance, surgery or other procedures may be required.