Varicose veins are twisted and swollen bluish veins, which run right beneath the surface of the skin. They usually affect the feet and the legs, but they can appear in any part of the body. They are classified as deep varicose veins and superficial varicose veins. The former condition affects deep venous network and normally they are not visible.
However, they cause pain and inflammation in the leg. The latter one is quite painful, visible and disfiguring, but they are generally harmless. Varicose veins occur due to various factors such as obesity or physical actions like lifting. Whatever the cause, there are plenty of herbal remedies that are quite beneficial in treating the pain and discomfort caused due to this condition.
Herbal Remedies to Treat Varicose Veins
St. John’s Wort
This herb helps in reducing inflammation and can be used both internally and externally. Externally it can be used in tinctures, oils, or salves and they are applied to the affected region. The concoction of St. John’s Wort can be consumed to nourish and provide the necessary compounds and nutrients to the stressed veins. It is suggested to use the herb either freeze dried or fresh, as the medicinal properties are lost if it is air-dried.
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This is a popular herb that contains compounds known as ruscogenins. The inflammation is decreased by this substance while constricting the veins. It is beneficial to take 100 mg of ruscogenins internally 3 times a day. A study conducted in Germany verifies that the herb helps to strengthen, tighten and reduce inflammation in the veins, which helps the blood to flow easily in the legs. Butcher’s broom compress can be applied externally to the affected area. It has the ability to decrease the frailty of capillaries and also swelling.
This is an extensively used astringent herb, which contains gallic acids, tannins and essential oils. It can be taken internally as tea, but the best way to use this herb is to prepare a strong decoction, which can be used as a compress. It reduces inflammation and soothes the varicose veins.
When applied externally, this herb will not only reduce inflammation, but will also help in treating the enlarged vessels.
Horse chestnut is one of the popular herbal remedies, which is known for its anti-inflammatory property and is quite effective in treating varicose veins. It is also used to treat hemorrhoids, which are the varicose veins present in the rectal and anal region. This potent herb reduces the prevalence of the condition by stabilizing the endothelium capillary, improving venous tone, decreasing the permeability of capillaries and increasing the flow of blood in the veins.
This powerful bioflavonoid is derived from the citrus fruits and is used to treat hemorrhoids, chronic venous insufficiency, lymph-edema and varicose veins. This herb can be effectively used to treat the disorder. In actual fact, bioflavonoid is being used as vascular protectant and a vein tonic for about three decades. Diosmin also has the property to support the lymphatic flow in the veins.
Grape Seed Extract
The extract of grape seed is an excellent antioxidant and improves the potency of varicose veins. They enhance the vein and capillary function. Also, it purifies blood and increases the blood flow in the body.
About 50 mg of grape seed extract is recommended to be taken per day. Several randomized trials have been conducted over the past couple of years in France, which shows that grape seed extract can relieve swelling and pain due to varicose veins.
This herb is native to the evergreen Mediterranean region. The extract of pine bark consists of high levels of bioflavonoids known as Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin Complexes (OPC). These antioxidant compounds help in improving collagen – a strengthening tissue that is found in veins and other areas of the body too. Also, it decreases the capillary leakage and helps in preventing inflammation. OPC is used extensively to treat varicose veins, hemorrhoids and venous insufficiency.
Also known as Zanthoxylum americanum, prickly ash is a tall flowering shrub with red berries. The berries and bark of this plant contain volatile oil, resin, tannins and alkaloids. According to herbalist David Hoffman, this herb could be used for various conditions that involve the poor circulation including leg ulcers and varicose veins.
Prickly ash is used as a tincture or tea or you can apply it topically by adding it to an ointment base. However, it is advisable not to use the herb internally in case you are on anticoagulant medications or have gastrointestinal issues. You need to consult a doctor before using this herb.
Garlic improves circulation in the body and maintains the blood flows through the veins. You can take garlic pills and two pills per day is the recommended dosage.
This is a potent bioflavonoid and is usually found in sweet oranges and lemons. It is quite effective in treating ailments such as hemorrhoids, bruising and varicose veins. It is quite useful in treating varicose veins as it supports the capillaries and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
The antioxidants present in rosemary helps in strengthening and protecting the blood vessels. Also, it improves the circulation and thus alleviates both hemorrhoids and varicose veins. It can be used liberally in your foods or applied topically. You can also treat this condition with a compress made from rosemary, which offers relief from pain.
The risk of developing hemorrhoids and varicose veins can be reduced to a large extent with the intake of flavonoid-rich foods as it helps in strengthening the veins. Besides reducing fragility, these compounds tone the muscles lining the walls of the blood vessels. Purple, red and blue foods such as plums, cherries and berries are rich source of flavonoids and also herbs such as bilberry, linden flowers, hawthorn and St. John’s wort.
Red Vine Leaf
Many clinical trials carried out show that the extract of red vine leaf is quite beneficial and reduces pain, swelling and leg heaviness.
The vein walls are strengthened by bilberry by reducing the frailty of blood vessels and also by stabilizing the vein cell membrane. Avoid using this herb, if you are currently taking grape seed extract or pine bark, as it might result in side effects. Also, do not take bilberry for longer than 6 weeks and if you are on blood thinning medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment.
Other Herbal Remedies
Calendula tincture, chamomile, gotu kola and yarrow are some of the herbs that help in treating varicose veins.