Essential oils and other at-home remedies for varicose veins may reduce symptoms for a time, but these potions are not a cure. Essential oils and other herbal remedies promise to rid sufferers of varicose veins, but do they really work? While these concoctions provide a degree of temporary relief from the pain and inflammation of varicose veins, the only true cure for these bulging veins remains professional medical intervention. In some cases, at-home remedies may even be unsafe. For example, although some studies suggest the oral version of the herb horse chestnut eases the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, the Food & Drug Administration has outlawed whole horse chestnut and other forms of the herb due to harmful side effects, such as headaches, nausea, and possible circulatory failure. It’s clear that you must carefully weigh the potential benefits of at-home remedies against more permanent solutions.
Common At-Home Remedies for Varicose Veins
Popular treatments for varicose veins feature essential oils made of sea pine and butcher’s broom extracts. One 2016 study from the National Institutes of Health concluded that while grape seed extract reduced swelling and other symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, “the evidence isn’t strong.” Butcher’s broom, meanwhile, is said to strengthen the collagen in blood vessels, thereby boosting circulation. However, the herb has been associated with adverse reactions like indigestion and nausea, and should not be taken by patients with high blood pressure. If you lather an essential oil on your skin, add jojoba oil or another type of massage lotion to prevent irritation. Although essential oils have a pleasant aroma you may find relaxing, the products do little to actually cure varicose veins. Some at-home remedies promise to rev up blood flow, which encourages the valves in the leg veins to pump blood back to the heart. However, apple cider vinegar, a home remedy that’s commonly associated with this idea, has not been proven to aid circulation when rubbed into the skin; in fact, it may cause irritation. Another remedy that may not work as advertised is drinking a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder mixed in water. Many believe strong spices stimulate blood flow, but in fact, spices alone cannot make spider veins disappear. Quite the opposite: too much acidity could cause ulcers.
What You Can Do at Home
Just because these home-based remedies might not reverse varicose veins, you can still try some methods to alleviate the symptoms as you decide on a treatment plan. Try these simple lifestyle and diet changes to calm your varicose veins: Eat a Diet Packed with Flavonoids and Potassium. A diet lacking in potassium can lead to water retention and excess pressure on the vein valves. To avoid a build-up of fluids, eat foods high in potassium, including potatoes, leafy vegetables, oranges, chicken, and tuna. In addition, flavonoids aid blood circulation and control blood pressure. To get more flavonoids on your plate, consume broccoli, spinach, apples, bell peppers and grapes. And of course, always be sure to drink a lot of water. Elevate Your Legs. Four times a day, prop your legs above your heart on three to four pillows for 15 to 30 minutes. This allows the blood that may be trapped in the veins in the lower extremity to surge back to the heart. Stay Active. Whether at home or at the office, move and stretch frequently to promote proper circulation. Sitting or standing for extended periods causes the blood in the leg veins to pool, which can lead to the formation of varicose veins. Soak Your Leg in Cold Water. You may have noticed that varicose vein symptoms worsen in the summer; that’s because warm temperatures tend to dilate the veins, putting extra stress on the damaged veins. Conversely, soaking your leg in cold water shrinks the veins and temporarily reduces cramps and throbbing pain. Wear Compression Stockings. These super-elastic garments compress the leg so blood has nowhere to go but up. They’re available in most drugstores and medical supply stores. If you require a higher compression rating, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription. If you have tried treating your varicose veins with at-home solutions and have yet to find relief, it may be time to explore one of several minimally invasive procedures to permanently banish your varicose veins. The specialists at Vascular & Interventional Associates Vein Center in Crestwood Hills, Kentucky, have safely performed many same-day surgeries that are virtually pain-free and can eliminate unsightly varicose veins. Contact us today