Most people think of varicose veins as an unsightly condition that’s simply a cosmetic bother. While varicose veins are usually of cosmetic concern to patients who have them, they can also be painful, itchy, and uncomfortable. Treatment usually involves laser and other expensive medical procedures, but there are also a handful of natural remedies one can use to treat varicose veins.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins that usually bulge underneath the skin, making them very apparent, and to some, unsightly. They most commonly appear on the legs and feet, as standing and walking upright increases the pressure on the lower body.
It’s estimated that about 20 percent of adults are affected by varicose veins. For some, varicose veins can also signal more threatening circulatory problems in the body.
There are a few medical procedures that are used by physicians to treat varicose veins. These include:
- Sclerotherapy: a painless saline injection treatment that shrinks the vein. This can be carried out a handful of ways, including through laser and ultrasound treatments.
- Phlebectomy: a surgical procedure in which the damaged vein is removed.
- Thermal ablation: similar to sclerotherapy, this procedure shrinks the vein, but it does this by using heat from laser or radio frequency energy.
- Non-thermal ablation: the damaged vein is destroyed permanently through the use of potent drugs.
Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins
Medical treatments can be costly, and for some, far too extreme or invasive. Thankfully, there are natural remedies for varicose veins that have been successfully tried and utilized, including:
This is one of the easiest and probably one of the first remedies you should try if you are seeking to eliminate the appearance or symptoms of varicose veins. Participating in low-impact exercise helps your body circulate your blood better, and since poor circulation is one of the reasons varicose veins typically develop, this can be an immediate fix to the problem.
Exercises like yoga, swimming, walking, and cycling are all great exercises that will get you stretching and get your blood flow moving better.
Change Up Your Diet
Making changes to your diet, like adopting an anti-inflammatory regimen, can help remedy varicose veins. Depending on what is specifically contributing to your varicose veins, getting more fiber, potassium, or flavonoids can help.
Whole grains and vegetables like broccoli have great fiber content, which is useful for creating better bowel movements and reducing the overall pressure put on damaged vein valves. If you’re deficient in potassium, then you can experience water retention which increases the amount of blood in your body and pressure on the veins. So, consuming high potassium foods like yogurt, leafy vegetables, and salmon, are all worth giving a try to alleviate your symptoms.
If you want to improve circulatory issues, flavonoids like those found in onions, spinach and citrus fruits can help improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure, and relax blood vessels.
While these are less-proven, some people have found success by trying herbal remedies to treat their varicose veins.
A 2016 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that that rutosides, Centella asiatica, and grape seed extract may have beneficial effects on symptoms of varicose veins, including swelling, cramping, or restless legs.
However, research on herbal remedies and their effectiveness is scarce and still ongoing.
Like herbal remedies, scientific research on the specific effect of essential oils on varicose veins is still needed, however, certain essential oils have been used for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
Essential oils like lavender oil, rosemary oil, and cypress oil, to name a few, have been said to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and increase blood circulation. Assuming these oils would have the same effects when used in areas with varicose veins, essential oils could potentially be a helpful natural remedy.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another less-researched yet widely reported natural remedy for varicose veins is apple cider vinegar (ACV). Many have claimed that ACV has been particularly great for reducing swelling and pain when applied directly to the area affected by varicose veins.
This can be explained by the fact that apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties and helps improve blood flow and circulation.
Which Remedy Is Right For You?
Varicose veins signal a circulatory problem, but the approach to remedying this problem can vary, depending on your symptoms and health factors. For some, simply getting regular exercise into their routine can alleviate symptoms, while for others, a combination of remedies will be needed.
To figure out which remedy you should use to treat your varicose veins, talk to your doctor about your options and individual health profile first. Your doctor will be able to help you create a tailored plan for treating your varicose veins and address any related concerns.