Holistic Healing for Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are a condition affecting approximately 50% of American women. This condition is classified as abnormally large and lumpy looking veins, and though it doesn’t impose serious health concerns, aches and pains in the affected region can accompany it. Swelling, restlessness, leg sores, itching, leg cramps and a feeling of heaviness can also be characteristics of varicose veins. Because poor circulation contributes to the formation of varicose veins, they are more common in people who sit or stand for long periods of time. Lack of exercise is also a leading cause, as well as carrying excess weight, heavy lifting, and pregnancy, as these put increased pressure on the legs. Regular constipation, heart failure, liver disease and abdominal tumors can also play a role in varicose veins.
Most cases of varicose veins do not impose any serious concern, however, if not treated, complications can arise, such as bleeding under the skin, deep vein blood clots, ulcerated spots near the ankles, phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, and hemorrhage from a ruptured vein can occur.
The following guidance will help with the healing process:
Maintain a healthy weight and get regular moderate exercise. Walking, swimming, and bicycling are all great forms of exercise to incorporate for good circulation. Change your daily routine to allow more time for exercise and movement for your legs.
Self massage from head to toe daily pre or post showering will help promote blood flow & circulation. Dry brushing is also fantastic.
Wear loose clothing that does not restrict blood flow and cut off circulation. It is a good idea to wear supportive elastic stockings, as this helps to support the varicose veins and prevent swelling.
Elevate your legs above heart level for thirty minutes per day to alleviate symptoms. Avoid long periods of standing or sitting, crossing your legs, doing heavy lifting, or putting any unnecessary pressure on the legs. At work, make sure to take frequent breaks and get up/walk around or stretch to promote blood flow.
Consume plenty of fresh, good quality water to prevent constipation and keep the body hydrated. Drink ½ your body weight in ounces daily.
Eating high flavonoid foods that have a deep bluish or red color like berries, beets, chard, peppers, cherries etc. will help improve circulation and strengthen the veins.
Consume a diet with plenty of fish and fresh fruits & vegetables.
Make sure your diet contains tons of fiber to prevent constipation and keep the bowels clean.
Avoid processed and refined foods, sugar, ice cream, fried foods, excess cheese, peanuts, junk foods, tobacco, overconsumption alcohol, and excess salt.
HORSE CHESTNUT is an effective herbal remedy for varicose veins, as it can soothe any pain and, over time, reduce the appearance of the condition. It works by enhancing the structure of your veins and capillaries due to a chemical compound called aescin. This chemical not only helps to enhance the structure of your veins but can reduce any pain and swelling associated and will stop blood vessel damage in its tracks.
HOW TO USE: Horse chestnut can be used topically as a compress or in a bath. Mix ½ a tsp of horse chestnut powder with 2 cups of quality water, and soak a cotton gauze cloth. You can rub the cloth directly onto the varicose veins multiple times per day (suggested at least 3) to reap the full benefits. You can also add 1 tbsp of the powder to a warm bath containing white oak bark tea 3 times per day to help stimulate blood flow. White oak bark has the ability to strengthen your veins and reduce the overall appearance of varicose veins.
You can buy horse chestnut at your local health food store or through an online reputable retailer such as Mountain Rose Herbs. Horse chestnut can be infused in combination with other herbs (such as white oak bark or the other herbs mentioned below) to gain more benefit.
BUTCHER’S BROOM is another herb that can significantly reduce your varicose veins. Since varicose veins can be associated with hormonal imbalance, butcher’s broom can stimulate steroid production, which ultimately will help with vein elasticity and strength. It will also increase circulation and reduce any inflammation in the affected area.
HOW TO USE: Butcher’s broom can be consumed as an infusion, capsule, tincture, or herbal tea, though I suggest consuming an infusion throughout the day. To make an infusion, use 3-4 tbsp in a quart mason jar, cover with cold distilled water and a lid. Shake to mix and let sit overnight. Try drinking 3 or 4 cups throughout your day for a week. If no side effects occur, continue use while occasionally alternating different adaptogenic herbs. A batch can be stored for 24 hours. You can consume 200-300mg in capsule form per day if this is easier.
GOTU KOLA is a popular herbal remedy for the treatment of varicose veins because it is often an excellent resource to use for connective tissue damage. This herb contains triterpenoids: a chemical compound that can increase antioxidant activity in the affected region, repairing damaged areas and providing blood flow to the region.
HOW TO USE: Gotu kola can be consumed as an infusion, capsule, tincture or herbal tea, though I suggest consuming an infusion throughout the day. To make an infusion, use 3-4 tbsp in a quart mason jar, cover with cold distilled water and a lid. Shake to mix and let sit overnight. Try drinking 3 or 4 cups throughout your day for a week. If no side effects occur, continue use. A batch can be stored for 24 hours. You can consume 60-100mg in capsule form per day if this is easier, as well as use a gotu kola compress using its powder.
WITCH HAZEL is an astringent herbal remedy that can be applied topically to help reduce the appearance of varicose veins. It also contains anti-inflammatory substances called tannins, which help reduce pain, swelling, and other symptoms of varicose veins.
HOW TO USE: Witch hazel can be used topically as a compress. Soak a cotton gauze cloth with liquid witch hazel and rub the cloth directly onto the varicose veins multiple times per day (suggested at least 3) to reap the full benefits.
BILBERRY is a European herb that contains a wide variety of antioxidants, specifically the antioxidants called anthocyanins. These antioxidants help to strengthen the walls of your veins, blood vessels, and capillaries. Anthocyanins dilate blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and increasing collagen structure of vein walls, which ultimately can reduce your varicose veins.
HOW TO USE: Bilberry can be consumed as an infusion, capsule, tincture or herbal tea, though I suggest consuming an infusion throughout the day. To make an infusion, use 3-4 tbsp in a quart mason jar, cover with cold distilled water and a lid. Shake to mix and let sit overnight. Try drinking 3 or 4 cups throughout your day for a week. If no side effects occur, continue use. A batch can be stored for 24 hours. You can consume 20-25mg in a capsule.
VITAMIN C + BIOFLAVONOIDS will help aid in circulation of the blood by reducing blood clotting tendencies. Vitamin C will also promote healing in the affected area. A potent non-citrus bioflavonoid will also help to maintain the strength of your blood vessels, so making sure to supplement with this in addition to a good quality vitamin C is crucial.
GENERAL DOSAGE: 3,000-6,000mg/day in divided doses. 100mg/day of bioflavonoid complex. You can purchase a good quality vitamin C supplement at your local health food store.
COQ10 will improve tissue oxygenation, increase circulation and enhance immunity, all necessary mechanisms for strengthening and maintaining healthy vessels and veins.
GENERAL DOSAGE: 100mg/day. You can purchase a good quality COQ10 supplement at your local health food store.
VITAMIN E will improve circulation and aid in preventing heavy feeling or pain in the legs or affected area. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form.
GENERAL DOSAGE: 200IU/day. You can purchase a good quality vitamin E supplement at your local health food store.