Do you have varicose veins or thread veins? Do your lower extremities contribute to your image of self-worth or self-doubt? Legs play such an important role in your life, not only do they support your entire body’s weight, they are your main source of transportation! If your legs are an issue due to unsightly veins, read on to find out what causes varicose veins and what can be done.
What are varicose veins?Varicose veins are large, dilated, veins below the skin’s surface usually resulting from weak venous walls or under functioning valves. Your legs have 2 groups of veins through which blood passes: from the superficial veins near the surface to the deep veins in the leg muscles. Valves keep blood moving in one direction; in varicose veins there is an issue sending blood from the legs back to the heart. This condition is also known as chronic venous insufficiency with symptoms such as:
- varicose veins
- the sensation of tired/heavy legs
- staining of the skin
What causes varicose veins?Most often varicose veins are a result of weakness in the vein wall; 50% of these cases are linked to genetics. When the walls lose their elasticity and the valves stop functioning properly, the veins swell from the backwards flow of blood causing it to pool in the superficial veins.
Self-help for varicose veins
- avoidance of prolonged sitting, standing, or walking
- regular exercise that improves the muscle tone in your legs and increases the returning flow of blood
- maintaining a healthy weight
- periodic elevation of the legs
- high-fibre diet
- drinking fluids (2L/day)
- compression stockings
- avoidance of tight clothing around the waist, groin and legs
Natural support for varicose veinsHerbal medicine can improve circulation, capillary flow and vascular tone, and strengthen connective tissue of the veins and valves.
- Horsechestnut-reduces swelling, is anti-inflammatory and acts as a vein tonic. Clinical trials show Horsechestnut reduced symptoms such as pain and itchiness and was as effective as compression stockings in reducing swelling.
- Butcher’s broom-is regarded as a diuretic and has the same therapeutic indications as Horsechestnut. Its effectiveness is enhanced when used in combination with other herbs.
- Grape seed- helps stabilise collagen, is an antioxidant and vein tonic, and protector of your vascular system. Clinical trials show Grape seed extract increased capillary resistance and reduced swelling, itching, and pain in patients with venous insufficiency.
- Gotu kola- traditionally used in the management of varicose veins; it has the potential to enhance connective tissue integrity and improve the strength of your veins and capillaries.
- Vitamin C-supports the production of collagen and strengthens your connective tissue.
- Vitamin E- is an antioxidant that slows the ageing process of all your cells and tissues and protects your vascular system.
- Bioflavonoids-strengthen collagen tissues. Some foods rich in bioflavonoids include dark leafy greens, dark berries, garlic and onions.
- Vein Care Complex
- Vitamin C 1000 Plus Zinc & Bioflavonoids
- Natural Vitamin E 500IU