According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, varicose veins occur most often in the legs, and veins in the legs often have to work against gravity to return blood from the legs back to the heart. Veins have little valves that help to move the blood upward, and sometimes the valves in these veins fail and the smooth muscles of the vein walls weaken, resulting in enlarged veins that swell. Surgical alternatives are available to treat minor varicose veins. Seek medical attention if bleeding develops or if ulcers form on the skin over a varicose vein.
Several herbal remedies are available to help treat varicose veins. Butcher's broom is an herb that contains substances called ruscogenins that may aid in decreasing swelling and constriction of vein walls. According to Wright State University, the ruscogenins in Butcher's broom activates alpha receptors in the muscles in the vein walls that results in increased muscle tension. The University of Maryland Medical centre recommends taking 100 mg orally of Butcher's broom three times each day to help decrease inflammation in varicose veins. Or, apply a warm compress of crushed Butcher's broom directly to the affected area of the leg. St. John's Wort is available in oils, salves, and creams that can be rubbed directly on the affected leg, according to the Holistic Online website. Another external application to help reduce the size and appearance of varicose veins is the astringent witch hazel. The University of Maryland recommends a cold compress of witch hazel to sooth painful varicose veins.
Diet and Supplements
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and taking vitamin and mineral supplements can also help reduce the appearance of varicose veins. The Holistic Online website suggests that vitamin A, or beta carotene, may help to heal ulcers associated with varicose veins, and also recommends consuming one tablet of vitamin B complex added to one tablespoon of brewer's yeast once each day to help maintain strong blood vessel walls throughout the body. Vitamin C is beneficial when taken orally on a daily basis to help promote healthy circulation and strengthen the walls of veins. The MedExpress website mentions that the bioflavonoid rutin also is useful for dealing with varicose veins, and is found in foods like apricots, berries, cherries and citrus fruits. Holistic Online recommends that those who have visible varicose veins should avoid alcohol, fried foods, sugar, salt, cheese, ice cream and all processed foods. Consume plenty of fibre-rich whole grains as well as fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Replace red meat with fish and stick to lower fat meals.
Mild to moderate exercise is beneficial for strengthening the walls of veins and diminishing the appearance of varicose veins. Bicycling, golf, dancing, swimming or walking three times each week may prove helpful for preventing or curbing the development of varicose veins. WebMD.com suggests walking, swimming and bicycling to help improve circulation without increasing the pressure on the already weakened varicose vein walls. In addition, exercise alos can help with weight loss since obesity is a contributing factor to varicose veins. Robin Parks of WebMD recommends staying away from high-impact activities like jumping and running exercises. People with varicose veins can perform simple stretching exercises throughout the day to help improve varicose veins; calf stretches, standing on tiptoes, and rotating the feet and ankles may improve circulation, strengthen the vein walls and diminish the appearance of varicose veins.
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