Venous disorders such as varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency now bother up to 40% of the American population. Initially, varicose veins are more of an aesthetic concern than a serious health problem, and people affected by this bothersome condition tend to look for natural remedies and herbal supplements before they take the issue to a medical professional.
There are quite a few products on the market these days promoted as the best natural medicine you can get. But is it really true? Here’s a summary of what could help alleviate mild symptoms of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency:
Grapes are very healthy berries full of vitamins and they have been used in alternative medicine since Ancient Greece. Grapes have many potent properties and one of them stands out – they contain flavonoids. Flavonoids, sometimes called bioflavonoids, were formerly referred to as Vitamin P, but that term is no longer used. I am not going to bore you here with chemical structures and other details. The important thing is that flavonoids have a lot of health benefits: they are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antibacterial, antiviral, etc. What’s more, recent studies have shown that flavonoids have a positive effect when treating cardiovascular diseases by helping blood circulation, relaxing blood vessels, reducing arterial blood pressure, reducing hypertension, preventing blood clot formation and reducing atherosclerosis.
Butcher’s broom, also known as Ruscus Aculeatus, Knee Holly, Sweet Broom or Jew’s Myrtle, is a low evergreen shrub with stiff leaves. It blooms in spring, and the flowers eventually change into red berries. Butcher’s broom has a long history in natural medicine and has been used to treat many different issues: gallstones, hemorrhoids, as a laxative and diuretic. Some research says that the chemicals in this plant can possibly improve blood circulation by constricting blood vessels and thus preventing blood from pooling in the veins – a problem which results in ankle and leg swelling, heaviness and cramps. To treat vein-related disorders, it is recommended to use butcher’s broom root extract in the form of tablets or capsules, together with vitamin C.
Sweet clover, also known as Melilot, King’s clover or Yellow sweet clover is a biennial plant with smooth multi-branched stems, sweet-smelling yellow flowers and a bitter taste. The plant contains coumarin, a chemical compound which changes into dicoumarol when the plant becomes moldy. Dicoumarol is a strong blood-thinning toxin, or anti-coagulant, which is used in medicine when treating blood clots or various blood-related disorders. These blood thinning properties are exactly what makes sweet clover helpful when treating poor blood circulation and it can thus relieve some varicose vein symptoms, such as heavy legs and swollen ankles.
Gotu Kola, also known as centella asiatica, Asiatic or Indian pennywort, is a small annual plant, native to Asia. It has been used in traditional African and Chinese medicines for a very long time, as well as in Ayurvedic medicine. Gotu Kola is a member of the parsley family, with similar leaves and stems and almost no flavor. Supposedly, the plant has many beneficial health effects, including: swelling reduction, healthy blood circulation, wound healing and joint pain reduction. In the past, this plant was also used to treat stomach ulcers, diarrhea, fever, asthma, hepatitis, syphilis and epilepsy. Gotu Kola is sold in various forms, including dried herb, powdered herb, tincture or standardized extract.
Marigold, also known as Calendula Officinalis, is a plant from the Asteraceae family, native to Southern Europe. The characteristic yellow or orange color and specific aroma make it a perfect choice for your garden, but marigold has a lot more potential than that – pot marigold florets are edible and thus often used as a garnish or in salads. Probably because of its high content of beta-Carotene, marigold flowers have been used in ancient Greek, Roman and Indian cultures as medicinal herbs. One agent is even more important for vein-related disorders – flavonoids. Flavonoids, sometimes called bioflavonoids, were formerly referred to as Vitamin P, and I described their potential above.
Fuller’s Earth is a clay material, also known as bleaching clay or Mulatni Mitti in India. It has excellent absorbent properties and has been used in Indian folk medicine to treat various skin issues for centuries. It contains calcium and is supposed to ease some of the symptoms of varicose veins, such as swelling and discoloration. The home remedy recipe suggests to mix Fuller’s Earth with enough water to make paste – or sort of a mud pack, which you will apply on varicose veins during the night and wash off when you wake up next morning.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also known as cider vinegar or ACV, is made from apple must or cider. It usually has a pale to medium amber color and must be organic or unpasteurized. Apart from its obvious usage in cooking, apple cider vinegar has been recommended as a supplement to treat various issues, as well as help with weight loss (due to its mechanism that prolongs the sensation of satiety). Among others, apple cider vinegar is said to relieve various types of pain and swelling, including bulging varicose veins. According to some sources, it also helps get rid of spider veins. To get the full benefit of apple cider vinegar, most sources suggest, soak a piece of cloth in apple cider vinegar and wrap it around the areas affected by varicose and spider veins for half an hour, twice a day, for at least a month. You can also mix apple cider vinegar with water and drink it, or try it in tablets.
If you decided to try one these products out, keep in mind that none of them have published scientific results that would prove their effectiveness to treat venous disorders. If you are experiencing grave symptoms of varicose veins, have your legs thoroughly examined by a medical professional. Varicose veins could be an underlying condition of more serious problems that natural remedies won’t be able to deal with.