The Best Natural Remedies to Fight Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins close to the skin that become bulged and enlarged due to high blood pressure in the veins. They typically occur in the legs because standing can put excessive pressure on the veins and cause them to bulge out. They’re caused by problems like weakened or damaged valves in the heart, tightened muscles in the legs, and undue pressure on the body in the legs.

Symptoms of varicose veins include dark purple and blue veins, veins that look twisted and bulged, achy feeling in the legs, burning sensations in your muscles, throbbing and cramps throughout the legs, intense pain after sitting, itchy veins, or skin color changes around the vein. Risk factors include age, sex, family history, obesity, pregnancy, or standing or sitting for too long.

While there are many conventional treatments for this problem, the best natural remedies to treat varicose veins may work well for many people. In this article, we’ll examine not only what makes varicose veins worse but also how to get rid of varicose veins using conventional and natural treatments. If you’re struggling to handle these veins in your legs, read on to learn more about your options.

Conventional Treatments vs. Natural Remedies

Before examining the best natural remedies to treat varicose veins or what makes varicose veins worse, we should start by looking at how to get rid of varicose veins using conventional medicine. These care options will vary depending on your overall health and the intensity of your veins. It’s best to get treatment the moment you notice these veins to ensure you don’t suffer unduly.

A picture depicting varicose veins

Conventional Varicose Vein Treatments

Your doctor should start with conservative measures first, such as compression socks, bandages, support stockings, intermittent pneumatic compression devices, elevation of the leg, weight loss, and more. Minor veins often disappear after this care. However, more intensive options, such as thermal ablation with lasers or radio waves or even surgery, may be necessary for some.

Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins

Over the years, physicians have discovered multiple natural, alternative, and complementary therapies for varicose veins. These include things like lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, and even physical therapy. Typically, a doctor adds these treatments to your medical care to improve your recovery — they’ll rarely utilize natural remedies by themselves to eliminate varicose veins.

Effective Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins

So, do the best natural remedies to treat varicose veins actually work? Yes, and medical science has confirmed multiple methods that can reduce your varicose pain and appearance. Note that these alternative remedies do take longer to work — often many months — and, while effective, should always be paired with medical therapies to ensure you get the results you need.

Herbal Supplements for Varicose Veins

Herbal supplements, such as horse chestnut, butcher’s broom, cayenne, grape seed, and dandelion, can all help you manage your varicose veins naturally. Horse chestnuts and butcher’s brooms are particularly powerful because they improve your blood circulation and mitigate your symptoms. Cayenne and grapeseed offer antioxidants that may reduce vein swelling and severity.

Dietary Modifications to Mitigate Varicose Veins

Do you know what makes varicose veins worse? A poor diet filled with foods that make you heavier or impact your blood pressure. Doctors suggest increasing your fiber intake with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Foods with antioxidants (leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits) and vitamins C and E (oranges, strawberries, almonds, spinach) also help out here.

Lifestyle Changes That Improve Circulation

When learning how to get rid of varicose veins naturally, improving your circulation can help significantly. Lifestyle changes like quitting tobacco, managing your blood pressure, drinking water regularly, using a stand-up desk, performing yoga, doing wall stretches with your legs, and doing aerobic exercise will get your blood flowing. Even a 30-minute walk every day will help out a little bit here.

Compression and Exercise Therapy for Varicose Veins

Compression socks can help reduce your varicose veins — options include support pantyhose, prescription socks, and even store-bought options. Pay attention to risks like broken skin, irritation, or discomfort to keep your legs safe. Even better, exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, bouncing, leg lifts, ankle rotations, and calf raises can all help mitigate your varicose veins.

Home Remedies and DIY Treatments

When examining the best natural remedies to treat varicose veins, it’s critical to not only understand what makes varicose veins worse (such as high blood pressure and salt) but also how to get rid of varicose veins at home. These DIY therapies aren’t as heavily tested as the alternative treatments mentioned previously but are great if you’re looking for a few things you can do yourself.

A picture depicting legs without varicose veins

Apple Cider Vinegar Compresses

Apple cider vinegar is one of those items that provides an intense amount of benefits, no matter how you take it. Interestingly, an apple cider vinegar compress might help reduce your varicose veins, particularly if you plan it properly and use the best technique available for this method.

New Health Advisor suggests applying a few drops of apple cider vinegar directly to the veins and massaging them gently. Then, soak a gause in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the veins, wrapping it tightly around the affected area to help reduce your unnecessary pain.

Essential Oil Blends for Massage and Aromatherapy

While it’s true that essential oils haven’t been heavily tested in regards to varicose veins, oils like lavender, rosemary, cypress, helichrysum, clary sage, and ginger all provide antioxidant and anti-swelling benefits. They also work very well for massage and aromatherapy sessions.

Simply add a few drops of these oils to your varicose veins and use gentle, circular motions to work them into the veins. Be careful with how much pressure you use because you want to avoid irritating your veins even further. Try this approach twice a week to see if it helps.

Herbal Teas and Topical Ointments

Herbal remedies for varicose veins shouldn’t be used as your only treatment but as a way to supplement medical care. Powerful topical ointments and herbal teas can add various vitamins and nutrients to your diet, as well as antioxidants that may help reduce your vein appearance.

Popular options include horse chestnut and apple cider vinegar, which we’ve already discussed. However, olive oil, grape seed, pine bark, chamomile, marigold, cabbage, and gotu kola may all help improve your circulation and minimize your varicose vein appearance with time.

Salt-Free Diet With More Flavonoid

Now, when we say salt-free, we don’t mean you should avoid salts completely. Instead, you should avoid adding unnecessary salts to your meals. There’s plenty of salt in your day-to-day meals, and cutting back on excessive amounts can mitigate your varicose veins by managing blood pressure.

Furthermore, eating foods with more flavonoids, such as almonds, pistachios, lentils, white beans, potatoes, leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, horse chestnuts, onions, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, grapes, cherries, apples, blueberries, cocoa, and garlic can all help with varicose veins.

Integrating Natural Remedies into Daily Life

After you’ve found some of the best natural remedies to treat varicose veins, you can try integrating them into your life. Simply knowing how to get rid of varicose veins and avoiding what makes varicose veins worse (such as sitting for too long) is just the beginning. Properly integrating these techniques into your day-to-day life can ensure that you minimize your potential pain and suffering.

Just as importantly, it can help you monitor your symptoms and adjust your treatment approaches as needed. After all, some therapies might start losing their efficiency or end up worsening your situation if you don’t handle them properly. Thankfully, the tips below should make this process easier and ensure that you incorporate holistic healing into your day-to-day life:

  • Practice Mindfulness: Pay close attention to how your body and mind react to every treatment you provide for varicose veins. Don’t ignore potential adverse effects and avoid overreacting to them. Simply pay attention to what your body is telling you and do what you need to stay safe.
  • Start With a Tea: Integrate herbal teas into your daily routine, such as having a cup in the morning before work, one with your lunch, and later before you go to bed. Many herbal teas naturally provide calming benefits that make it easier to sleep at night and wake up refreshed.
  • Add Supplements to Your Day: Do you already take multiple medicines and supplements every day? Well, why not add herbal supplements to your routine? You can even find options designed specifically for varicose veins that can minimize their appearance and pain.
  • Eat Clean Foods: Stop eating out so much or ordering in but, instead, make foods at home filled with fresh, healthy, and tasty ingredients. If you’re not sure about this approach or don’t have time to cook, try a meal delivery service — they often provide healthy dishes that are balanced and easy to make.
  • Create an Exercise Routine: Set aside a few 15-minute blocks throughout your day to do healthy varicose-vein exercises. Two or three of these blocks can help you work your body naturally, minimize your varicose vein appearance, and ensure you don’t suffer needlessly.
  • Connect With Others: If you know other people who have varicose veins or you simply need a support team, reach out to friends and families to get help. They can keep you focused on your natural treatments and even do exercises with you, even if they don’t have varicose veins.

Precautions and Considerations

While the best natural remedies to treat varicose veins shouldn’t be too hard to execute, knowing what makes varicose veins worse and how to get rid of varicose veins with herbal supplements and exercise is only part of the battle. For example, there are a few precautions and considerations you need to keep in mind whenever you try all-natural remedies, including:

  • Lack of Medical Testing: Many natural supplements and remedies receive little to no medical testing. As a result, they might not be as helpful as you might think, so be careful before choosing.
  • Possible Side Effects: Taking too much of anything can be problematic and even some healthy supplements can cause side effects — talk with your doctor to be sure.
  • Concentrated Doses: Some herbal remedies or essential oils use very concentrated doses, which can be a little problematic if you’re naturally sensitive to any of these items.
  • Work With Your Doctor: Never try to utilize natural treatments for varicose veins without talking to your physician. They can help plan this process and make it even easier for you.

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers is currently a Resident in the Internal Medicine program at UTMB. He studied at the University of Queensland School of Medicine as well as received his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Southern California. His background is in biology, computer science, public health, and internal medicine.

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