Varicose & Spider Veins
Varicose veins are blood vessels in which the tiny one-way valves fail to keep blood flowing in the direction toward the heart. When a series of valves degenerates, blood collects in pools at the site, resulting in bulges that give varicose veins their characteristic appearance. The most commonly occur in the leg veins and look like “spider” veins because they are close to the skin’s surface. When these develop in the anus, they are called hemorrhoids.
Varicose veins are more of a cosmetic problem than medical. However, if the varicosities develop deeper and become inflamed, it could result in phlebitis–an inflammation of the veins. Varicosities of all kinds are common, especially with age. Pregnancy is a cause, as is heredity, alcohol abuse and hypertension. Other precautions include not standing for long periods of time, never wrapping your legs in elastic bandages and practicing care when lifting heavy things.
To some extent, varicose veins can be prevented by keeping the circulation and muscles strong in the lower extremities. By avoiding prolonged standing or sitting and situations that cut off calf circulation such as crossing the legs or wearing tight socks or pants. Also, try and maintain a healthy weight and exercise schedule.
- Laser therapy uses intense light beams to destroy the varicosities.
- Phlebectomy is a surgical striping of the veins.
- Sclerotherapy is injection therapy.
- Botanical medicines such as gotu kola, horse chestnut and butcher’s broom.
- Lymph cream applied to the veins in the direction of the heart.
- Regular aerobic exercise may improve circulation.
It is important to have regular bowel movements and not be constipated. Eat foods which are high in fiber and consider using natural fiber supplements, such as psyllium or oat bran.
Natural fruits such a hawthorn berries, cherries, blackberries, and blueberries are rich in flavonoids, and may help strengthen veins and capillaries.
This herb strengthens the blood vessels by decreasing the size and number of pores in the capillary walls. The active ingredient in horse chestnut is called aescin, which also helps to improve the tone of the veins. Dosage: 50mg 1-2 times a day.
This herb is an extract of saponins that has an anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictor effect. Dosage: 100-150mg 2-3 times a day.
An ancient Chinese herb that improves circulation and enhances connective tissue structure, thus improving the integrity of the veins. Dosage: 50-100mg twice a day.
COENZYME Q10 CoQ is an antioxidant that will improve tissue oxygenation, increase circulation, and enhance immunity. Dosage: 60-200 mg daily.
This ancient Chinese herb is known to enhance circulation to the extremities. Dosage: 60-180mg daily.
Derived from grape seed extract or pycnogenol from Maritine pine bark extract, these natural remedies that are potent antioxidants. Also they are excellent free-radical scavengers that stimulate blood circulation, boost immunity, strengthen connective tissue, including that of the cardiovascular system. Dosage: 50-150 mg daily.
VITAMINS C and BIOFLAVONOIDS (QUERCETIN, HESPERIDIN)
These potent antioxidants help strengthen the blood vessels and arteries of the lower legs, decrease blood clotting tendencies, promote healing and should help decrease bruising. A deficiency of vitamin C can weaken the collagen structure in the cell wall. Dosage: As directed.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (FISH OIL and FLAXSEED)
These quality fats help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with this condition. EFA’s also keep blood vessels soft and pliable. Dosage: 1,000-4,000 mg daily.
B-COMPLEX VITAMINS B vitamins are critical for repair of tissues in the body and help to digest food. The B vitamins also help the body deal with stress, an underlying cause of venous insufficiency. Dosage: 50-100 mg daily.
DMG improves oxygen utilization in the tissues. Dosage: 50 mg 3 times a day.
[ Note: It generally takes a month of more to see results.]
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Dean, C. Unsightly Spider Veins. Natural Health, May, 1999. P. 46.
Ginkgo and Gotu Kola Prevent Spider Veins. Natural Health, Nov-Dec 1997. P. 146.
LaValle, JB. Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins. Natural Medicine, Level 1. Educational course,
Roberts, AJ, O’Brien, ME, Subak-Sharpe, G. Nutraceuticals- The Complete Encyclopedia of
Supplements Herbs, Vitamins, and Healing Foods. ANA Association. Penguin-Putnam, New
York, NY. 2001.
Varicose Veins. U.S. Pharmacist, March 2005. 30(6): Insert.
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