It’s estimated that varicose veins will affect 20 percent of all adults at some point in their lives. The twisted, enlarged veins can frequently cause pain, itching, and discomfort. Medical procedures are now available to treat varicose veins, but if you want to avoid costly procedures, these home remedies might help.
Physical activity is a great first step in home treatment for varicose veins. The more you move, the better your blood circulates. The idea is to help the blood that gathers in the damaged veins move back to the heart.
Low-impact exercise that improves blood flow can help reverse the unhealthy qualities of varicose veins. Swimming, walking, cycling, yoga, and stretching are all beneficial as they circulate the blood and exercise the calf muscles without the danger of physical injury. Moderate exercise can also help with high blood pressure, one of the risk factors for varicose vein formation.
Some foods can help improve vein health. These include:
Foods with fiber
Dietary fiber helps with healthy bowel function. It’s especially important to eat fiber if you tend to have constipation. The physical effort used to pass stool can create a strong internal abdominal pressure, which can aggravate the damaged vein valves.
Foods high in dietary fiber that you can add to your diet include:
- whole-grain foods
- sweet potatoes
Foods with potassium
Potassium deficiency can cause water retention. This increases the volume of blood in your body and creates extra pressure on the vein valves.
Foods high in potassium to add to your diet include:
- white beans
- winter squash
- leafy vegetables
- beet greens
Foods with flavonoids
Flavonoids may help treat cardiovascular problems. They can help improve blood circulation, reduce arterial blood pressure, and relax blood vessels.
Foods high in bioflavonoids include:
- bell peppers
- citrus fruits
Some herbal medicines can help ease the symptoms of vein conditions. These herbal remedies come as oral dietary supplements or topical phlebotonics. One study found that rutosides, Centella asiatica, and grape seed extract may have beneficial effects on chronic venous insufficiency symptoms such as swelling, cramping, or restless legs.
Also known as rutin, this bioflavonoid can be found in a variety of plants, such as:
- citrus fruits
- St. John’s wort
- Gingko biloba
Rutin is considered an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic supplement. It also has vascular benefits. It can strengthen weak blood vessels and capillaries that are often a precursor to varicose veins. Rutin has been used as a treatment for spider veins and varicose veins, as well as for swelling in the calves and ankles. As a dietary supplement, rutin typically comes in tablets or capsules.
Also called Gotu kola, this perennial plant is native to Asia. Preclinical research shows that Centella asiatica is effective at strengthening weakened veins. This helps treat venous insufficiency. The herb is usually taken in the form of tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. It can also be applied topically as ointment or cream. This herb may interact with medications or other herbs. More studies are needed on its safety.
Grape seed extract
Grapes, grape leaves, and grape sap have been used in alternative medicine for centuries. Research suggests that grape seed extract can help treat the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. It can also reduce swelling. The studies are not conclusive and more research is necessary.
Grape seed contains vitamin E, flavonoids, and other compounds. As a dietary supplement, it is available in tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. Grape seed extract can interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding. Do not take it if you are on these medications.
The bottom line
Home remedies and a healthy lifestyle can help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. However, the research on most alternative treatments and herbal remedies is still ongoing. Official sources to back the efficiency of these treatments are scarce.
If you really dislike the appearance of varicose veins, medical treatments can reduce their appearance. If your varicose veins are no longer just a cosmetic issue and have become a health concern, talk to your doctor.