Ayurveda is an ancient type of medicine that originated in India. It focuses on promoting balance of mind, body, and spirit to achieve physical and mental health. It often integrates herbal therapies, diet, and massage or meditation.
Ayurvedic medicine has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions. One of these is varicose veins. These are veins that have become swollen and twisted. They often occur in the legs.
Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins uses several different types of therapy, including traditional medications and lifestyle practices.
Continue reading to learn more about Ayurvedic treatments for varicose veins, what research says about their effectiveness, and whether they’re safe to try out.
In Ayurveda, each individual is made up of a unique balance of three doshas, or humors. These are:
- vata (air and space)
- pitta (fire and water)
- kapha (earth and water)
Each dosha can have an impact on specific body functions, with imbalances producing illness. Because of this, Ayurvedic treatments focus on keeping the three doshas in balance.
Varicose veins happen due to imbalance of vata.
Now let’s take a closer look at the different aspects of Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins.
One of the factors that can influence dosha imbalance is diet. Because of this, Ayurvedic treatment of varicose veins may involve avoiding foods that can unbalance vata.
Food types to avoid include:
- Bitter foods. Bitter foods have a sharp, dry taste. A few examples include leafy green vegetables, eggplant, and bitter melon.
- Pungent foods. These are foods with spicy taste. Some examples include chiles, turnips, and radishes.
- Astringent foods. These are foods that leave your mouth feeling dry. Astringent foods can include some types of legumes, grains, and fruits.
Ayurvedic medicines are traditional medications that you often take orally. According to Everyday Ayurveda, there are several different medicines that can help to treat varicose veins.
The ingredient lists for Ayurvedic medicines can sometimes be extensive. They can contain a variety of natural products, including:
- animal products
Abhyanga is a type of Ayurvedic massage where you apply warm herb-infused oil to your entire body. It’s believed to bring your doshas back into balance.
Leech therapy aims to promote better blood flow around varicose veins. When a leech attaches to your skin, it naturally secretes a blood thinning compound. This keeps blood in the affected area flowing as the leech feeds.
This type of therapy involves the use of medicated enemas. These are administered rectally on a specific schedule. Like Ayurvedic medicines, they contain a variety of natural ingredients.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes that currently very few clinical trials or research reviews show that Ayurvedic treatments are effective.
However, the NCCIH suggests that research may tentatively support some Ayurvedic therapies for:
What about varicose veins?
Currently very few scientific studies focus on Ayurvedic treatment of varicose veins. Most of the information that’s available is in the form of small studies or case studies.
A 2018 case study reported on treatment of a 54-year-old man who had gone to the hospital due to vein swelling. In this case, he had a history of ineffective Ayurvedic treatment. His condition was treated using endovenous laser ablation.
While not directly related to varicose veins, a
It’s important to know that some Ayurvedic medicines contain potentially harmful ingredients. These can include metals like:
For example, a
Additionally, Ayurvedic medicines can involve a wide variety of plant and animal products. Because many are ingested or applied to the skin, it’s possible that you may have an allergic reaction or drug interaction.
If you’re considering trying out Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins, be sure to talk with your doctor first. They can advise you on any safety concerns or potential side effects that you may experience.
Now let’s explore some of the other treatment options for varicose veins.
There are a few things you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. These include:
- Kicking back. Aim to avoid long periods of standing or sitting, which can make varicose veins worse. Try to take a break occasionally, elevating your legs to be above the level of your heart.
- Using compression stockings. Compression stockings apply gentle pressure to your legs and help promote blood flow. They may help relieve varicose vein symptoms in some people.
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications. OTC medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help to ease discomfort and swelling from varicose veins.
- Exercising regularly. Staying active can help blood better flow through your veins.
- Losing weight. If you have overweight or obesity, losing weight can help reduce pressure on your veins. Your doctor can work with you to develop a weight loss plan that’s a good fit for you.
- Trying herbal remedies. Herbal remedies for varicose veins often contain ingredients like horse chestnut and red vine leaf extract. However, more research is needed into the effectiveness of these remedies.
It’s possible that your doctor may recommend other treatments or procedures, depending on the severity of your varicose veins.
Some examples include:
Make an appointment with your doctor for varicose veins if you:
- Don’t like the way they look.
- Find that your symptoms prevent you from doing your daily activities.
- Have symptoms that don’t get better or begin to get worse with at-home care.
- Develop symptoms like sores, skin changes, or bleeding.
- Notice symptoms of a blood clot, such as redness, swelling, and tenderness.
Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins can consist of several types of therapies. These can include but aren’t limited to Ayurvedic medicines, massage, and dietary changes.
Research into Ayurvedic treatments for varicose veins is currently limited to case studies and smaller studies. Overall, additional research is needed to determine the efficacy of Ayurvedic treatments for this condition.
Ayurvedic treatments can contain harmful chemicals and may also cause an allergic reaction or a drug interaction. Because of these risks, always talk with your doctor first before trying Ayurvedic treatments.