Health

10 Home Remedies for Varicose Veins

Healthy veins contain one-way valves inside that stop the blood from remaining stagnant or flowing backward. Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that occur when these… Elizabeth Lilian - March 3, 2017

Healthy veins contain one-way valves inside that stop the blood from remaining stagnant or flowing backward. Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that occur when these valves are damaged or weakened, allowing the blood to flow back through and accumulate in the one spot. This creates a tell-tale bulge on the surface of the skin that can look twisted or lumpy and be dark blue or purple in color. Factors that contribute to varicose veins are family history, obesity, birth control pills, hormonal changes or occupations that require a lot of standing up.

The majority of people affected by varicose veins don’t need medical treatment, as varicose veins generally don’t pose problems to circulation or health. However, varicose veins can be uncomfortable, and can cause pain, fatigue, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling or heaviness in the legs.

Here are 10 home remedies to reduce the symptoms and appearance of varicose veins.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar has long been used for many different purposes, whether around the house, in cooking or for various health issues. By far the most popular choice is apple cider vinegar, and it’s purported to  have multiple health benefits like weight loss, relief from heartburn, improved bowel irregularity, relief from joint pain, and can even be used in pet care to control fleas.

The two-step process to make vinegar is similar to how alcohol is made. The first step involves introducing yeast to crushed apples (or apple cider), which ferments the sugars in the apples and turns them into alcohol. Then, bacteria is added to the solution which causes further fermentation and turns it into acetic acid, which is the main active compound in vinegar.

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar contains only three calories, so it’s a perfect addition to a healthy diet. It’s also been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels and better insulin function, which may be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. A study published by the American Diabetes Association shows that vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity to high-carbohydrate meals for those with diabetes or a resistance to insulin.

Because apple cider vinegar is a natural cleanser, it’s a great way to treat varicose veins at home. Simply massage undiluted apple cider vinegar over the varicose veins, gently rubbing it in. Ensure you do this morning and night for the best effects. Ingesting apple cider vinegar can also reduce the appearance of varicose veins. Mix two teaspoons in with some water and drink twice a day.

2. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is often referred to as the prince of spices. A member of the Capsicum family, it’s used frequently in dishes to add spiciness and heat. Cayenne pepper has been used in Native American cuisine and medicine for almost 9000 years, as well as traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines. It holds many detoxifying properties, as it stimulates circulation and reduces acidity in the body.

Cayenne pepper contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids, and holds anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen, anti-fungal and anti-irritant properties. It can relieve toothache, migraines, stomach cramps and seasickness, and can support healthy circulation, lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. The majority of benefits seen in cayenne pepper are thought to be due to the presence of capsaicin, the active ingredient that provides the spiciness.

Cayenne pepper also contains high amounts of nutritious flavonoids and carotenoids, which provide that fiery red color. It’s said to be an effective home remedy for varicose veins due to the high content of vitamin C, as this vitamin can help strengthen the walls of veins, arteries and blood vessels, and is also extremely beneficial for treating problems on the skin’s surface.

Cayenne pepper is incredibly easy to add to your diet. It’s an amazing flavor and seasoning for many meals, and just a pinch in each dish will provide full benefits. If you want to fast-track your intake though, add one teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper to a glass of hot water and stir well before drinking. Drink every day for a few months. Be wary though, if you aren’t used to a lot of spice, cayenne pepper can upset the stomach. So start with small amounts, and slowly increase the dose.

3. Olive Oil

Olive oil is usually thought of for cooking and not much else. But it holds a wide array of unrivalled health benefits, with more being discovered all the time. Olive oil has been the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years and is an essential nutrient in different cultures.

Olive oil is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree, and is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking, soaps and lotions. It contains an impressive amount of antioxidant polyphenols like quercetin, cyanidins, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and luteolin. Roughly 24% of olive oil is made up of saturated fats, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and around 73% of oleic acid, an extremely healthy monounsaturated fat that has been linked to a reduction in inflammation, and might have positive effects on genes linked to cancer.

Olive oil has been associated with a reduction in risk of heart disease and stroke, as it lowers levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides, decreases blood pressure and improves blood sugar control. It also improves insulin sensitivity, and as such it’s been linked to prevention of type 2 diabetes. Olive oil also conditions hair, skin and nails, acts as a makeup remover, soothes skin irritation, and fights signs of aging.

Using olive oil on varicose veins can be effective, as the massaging motion increases circulation and blood flow while reducing inflammation. Mix olive oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba, and warm the mixture. Massage the varicose veins for several minutes, at least twice a day. You can also add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil to improve the scent and receive even more benefits.

4. Garlic

Garlic is a strong, aromatic vegetable bulb belonging to the Allium family, and is a close relative of onions, shallots and leeks. It’s an intense, unique flavor commonly found in cuisines all around the world and can be sautéed, baked, roasted, braised, included in soups, sauces, marinades, stir-frys, and more.

Garlic contains an organosulfide compound called allicin, which is released when garlic is sliced, crushed or chopped into, creating the heat and scent that is synonymous with garlic. Allicin may support the circulatory system, reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, and has even been thought to have cancer-fighting properties. Garlic also contains nutrients like manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, selenium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin B1.

Garlic contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can support healthy blood vessels, rid the body of damaging free radicals, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. It also has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, as well as sulfur-containing compounds that support the detoxification process in the body. Garlic has even been shown to reduce the frequency and length of colds by 63%.

Because garlic is so effective at preventing inflammation, it can also work wonders on varicose veins. Garlic can also help break up toxins that collect in the blood vessels. To use garlic against varicose veins, make sure you include a lot of it in your diet. You can also create a serum to use every night on your varicose veins, by slicing up garlic cloves and adding them to olive oil. Allow the mixture to sit overnight, and shake it up before applying to your skin.

5. Butcher’s Broom

Butcher’s broom is a shrub, also known as Ruscus aculeatus, that has been used for many years to treat various ailments and is a favorite in Ayurvedic practices. It’s an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean, and its common name came from the fact that butchers would frequently tie the twigs together as makeshift brooms to sweep their chopping blocks with.

Butcher’s broom has many health benefits. It’s been thought to improve circulation, and can treat the symptoms of bad circulation like cramping, tension, itching, swelling and pain. It’s suggested to improve swelling of the legs, carpal tunnel syndrome, and provide relief from hemorrhoids. Traditionally, it’s also been used as a treatment for bladder and urinary tract infections.

Butcher’s broom is a very popular choice for the treatment of varicose veins. It helps tighten blood vessels and capillaries by activating receptors that stimulate release of noradrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, which acts to constrict blood vessels. This can help get the blood moving and reduce pooling that can contribute to varicose veins. Butcher’s broom also promotes healthy microcirculation and capillary flow, while strengthening the connective tissues.

Butcher’s broom can be eaten, but it’s easiest to take it in the form of a supplement. It’s recommended to avoid taking it for longer than three months, as long-term studies have not been done. Side effects of butcher’s broom are rare but can include nausea and an upset stomach. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid butcher’s broom in any form.

6. Witch Hazel

Butcher’s broom is a shrub, also known as Ruscus aculeatus, that has been used for many years to treat various ailments and is a favorite in Ayurvedic practices. It’s an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean, and its common name came from the fact that butchers would frequently tie the twigs together as makeshift brooms to sweep their chopping blocks with.

Butcher’s broom has many health benefits. It’s been thought to improve circulation, and can treat the symptoms of bad circulation like cramping, tension, itching, swelling and pain. It’s suggested to improve swelling of the legs, carpal tunnel syndrome, and provide relief from hemorrhoids. Traditionally, it’s also been used as a treatment for bladder and urinary tract infections.

Butcher’s broom is a very popular choice for the treatment of varicose veins. It helps tighten blood vessels and capillaries by activating receptors that stimulate release of noradrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, which acts to constrict blood vessels. This can help get the blood moving and reduce pooling that can contribute to varicose veins. Butcher’s broom also promotes healthy microcirculation and capillary flow, while strengthening the connective tissues.

Butcher’s broom can be eaten, but it’s easiest to take it in the form of a supplement. It’s recommended to avoid taking it for longer than three months, as long-term studies have not been done. Side effects of butcher’s broom are rare but can include nausea and an upset stomach. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid butcher’s broom in any form.

7. Horse Chestnut Seeds

Horse chestnut seeds come from the horse chestnut tree native to the Balkan Peninsula and found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The seeds, leaves, bark and flowers have been used for hundreds of years to address various health problems, and are commonly used in phytotherapy. Tea can be made to treat stomach problems, and the seeds are used to relieve hemorrhoids.

Horse chestnut is also known as buckeye and Spanish chestnut and contains a compound called aescin, which has several suggested benefits. Aescin holds very strong antioxidant properties, and can relieve redness and swelling without suppressing the body’s natural immune response. It’s also a saponin, which can support the vascular system by strengthening the capillaries and making them less fragile.

Horse chestnut seeds have been shown to be extremely effective in treating varicose veins as it provides similar effects to compression socks, another popular way to reduce varicose veins. Studies have proven that horse chestnut seed extract can improve the symptoms of varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiencies. Though more research should be undertaken, evidence so far suggests that horse chestnut seed extract is a safe and successful short-term solution to treating varicose veins.

Horse chestnut seeds can be purchased in a gel form, and can be used twice daily on the affected areas. Regular use can reduce swelling and pain significantly. There are also daily supplements that can be taken, usually containing around 300 mg of horse chestnut seeds. Avoid ingesting raw horse chestnut, as it can contain large amounts of esculin, a compound known to be toxic. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using this remedy.

8. Parsley

Parsley is one of the most popular herbs to use as a garnish. Scientifically known as Petroselinum crispum, it’s native to the Mediterranean region and used commonly in Mediterranean, East European and American cuisine. There are several different types of parsley grown across Europe and all contain various antioxidants and other disease preventing properties.

Parsley is a low-calorie herb, with zero cholesterol and fat, but rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. It’s been shown to help control cholesterol levels, and contains an essential oil called eugenol that is an anesthetic and antiseptic and can reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Parsley contains many beneficial polyphenols like luteolin and myricetin, phytonutrients that has been shown to have potential cancer preventative properties.

Parsley also contains minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium, and is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin E, and various other antioxidants. It’s an effective treatment of varicose veins due to the large amounts of vitamin C found in it. To use parsley as a remedy for varicose veins, add it to your meals wherever you can.

You can also create a topical ointment out of parsley, water and essential oils. Take a handful of fresh, chopped parsley and boil it in one cup of water, then allow to cool before straining the solution through a sieve. Add a drop of rose and marigold essential oils and then put the mixture in the fridge until chilled. Apply to varicose veins using a cotton ball. Don’t apply parsley essential oil directly to the skin, as it can cause rash and irritation. It’s advised that pregnant women avoid consuming extremely large amounts of parsley either as a garnish or a supplement, as the essential oil in the root, leaf or seed may lead to uterine stimulation and preterm labor.

9. Grapevine Leaves

Grapevines are found all over the world in different climates, growing in the wild, twisting and climbing up bushes and other trees. It has no solid trunk, and can grow so well it can completely cover other plants. They’re an edible leaf with dozens of different species, and grow higher and thicker than other vines. Grapevines bloom tiny while flowers in the early summer, followed by hard, green grapes which develop into dark purple grapes in early fall.

Grapevine leaves are popular in culinary practices as a type of wrap in which you can fill with different foods and ingredients. The leaves vary depending on the species, as well as the climate and the maturity of the vine. The younger leaves are generally more palatable than older leaves as they tend to become fibrous and tough in texture. Grapevine leaves contain impressive amounts of tannin, and is more effective when pickled or fermented. This process also makes the leaves more digestible, which allows the phytonutrients and polyphenols to be digested easier.

Grapevine leaves hold many antioxidant flavonoids including glycosides, glucuronides, quercetin and catechin, and healthy acids such as gallic, malic and oxalic acids. When treating varicose veins with grapevine leaves, be sure to use red leaves as they have a much higher content of phenols. Studies have shown that red grapevine leaf extract was able to improve symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, one of which is varicose veins. Grapevine leaves also contain omega fatty acids, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium.

As grapevine leaves also have astringent properties, they’re an effective treatment for varicose veins. Simply boil a cup of grapevine leaves to four cups of water, for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to steep until warm, and soak your varicose veins in the solution for five minutes. Then massage your legs in an upward direction with an oil like castor, olive or coconut. Afterwards, elevate your legs for a few minutes.

10. Marigolds

Marigolds are a cheerful yellow flower that is notoriously easy to grow. It’s also known as the “flower of rain”, as the flowers won’t open if it’s raining. There are around 50 different marigold species but they generally fall into one of two genuses, Tagetes and Celandula. They come in various shades of yellow and orange and have a strong scent, used commonly in cosmetic treatments. The name Marigold stems from “Mary’s gold”, and the scent can keep insects at bay.

Marigold is believed to be an extremely effective herb to treat skin issues, like inflammation, ulcers, hemorrhoids, cysts and other lesions. Marigold ointment is an excellent way to repair mild skin damage like sunburn or broken capillaries. The petals or flowers are used for numerous medicinal reasons and are a rich source of flavonoids and vitamin C. It’s an anti-inflammatory, and is useful in treating eczema, bruising and allergic reactions.

Marigolds contain lycopene, a carotenoid that is considered one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world and holds potential cancer-suppressing properties. Marigold can effectively treat varicose veins as it’s able to promote growth of new blood vessels and skin tissues, and when consumed it can also relieve inflammation of the digestive system. Use marigold to treat varicose veins by boiling the flowers and soaking a cloth in the mixture, then placing it over the varicose veins. You can also eat fresh petals, and juice the flowers to make marigold tea. Though side effects are rare, they may include allergic reactions and interaction with medications.

Varicose veins can be unsightly, and can cause you to be self-conscious. However, they are treatable and you can improve the appearance of them by following remedies like these. It’s also important to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, as this will keep your body weight and blood pressure down, both of which can contribute to varicose veins.

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