Spring is in full swing, and some people are already breaking out the shorts and tank tops. But not everyone is ready to show off their legs. My sister recently complained to me about her varicose veins. “Mom has them, and that’s why I have them,” she said. Well, sis, although a family history is common with varicose veins, up to 55% of women get them at some point in life. That being said, there are many natural treatments for varicose veins, including homeopathic remedies.
Varicose veins are also called varicosities or varicoses. They occur when veins become dilated, enlarged, or overfilled with blood. Although annoying, varicose veins are not a serious condition. However, they affect 40 million Americans and half of the 50 and older population.
Varicose Veins Signs and Symptoms
Varicose veins are painful bulgy, raised, and lumpy veins that are dark in color, often purple or blue. They will usually appear on the legs, especially on the back of the calf or on the thigh. When varicose veins are found at the anus, they are called hemorrhoids. Since any vein can become varicose, they will also appear on other parts of the body such as the stomach, lower back, or face. Other symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Itchy skin near the varicose veins
- Bruising, throbbing, and tingling around the affected area
- Ulceration over the varicose veins
- Swollen, tight, heavy, or fatigued legs
- Darkening of the skin
- Restless legs
Varicose veins and spider veins are also very similar. However, spider veins are smaller, and they are not as painful or likely to cause symptoms since they are closer to the skin’s surface.
Varicose Veins Causes and Risk Factors
Many believe that there is a genetic weakness in the vein or vein’s valve that will lead to varicose veins. However, anything that will put pressure on the veins may also cause the problem. Why do varicose veins appear blue? It is because they hold deoxygenated blood. Other contributing factors of varicose veins include a high-fat and low-fiber diet, obesity or weight gain, inactivity, heavy lifting, or long periods of standing or sitting. Women may also develop varicose veins during pregnancy, when the legs must deal with a great burden of pressure. Women taking synthetic hormone replacement also often have problems with varicose veins.
Varicose veins are also associated with sun exposure; taking birth control pills; hormonal changes during puberty or menopause; blood clots or inflamed veins within the veins; heart disease, injuries to the veins, or obstruction that blocks normal blood flow; liver disease; nutritional deficiencies; or a diet high in fatty and refined foods.
Homeopathic Remedies for Varicose Veins
How are varicose veins treated? Lifestyle changes, compression stockings, and medication are among the conventional methods of treatment. Sclerotherapy is another common minimally invasive procedure that forces a seal into the vein walls through blood flow interference. This requires injecting liquid chemical into the vein, and can lead to various side effects like inflammation, raised skin patches, bruises, and brown lines around the vein.
There are also more natural varicose vein remedies available. Homeopathy, in particular, will offer an individualized approach for varicose vein treatment. The following are various homeopathic remedies that a homeopath may recommend. For acute symptoms of inflammation or pain, take the best suited remedy several times daily. For chronic vein problems, you may need to use the remedy for up to a month, while taking a break for a week or so for reassessment of the severity of the issue.
1. Arnica (Leopards Bane)
Arnica is used for varicose veins that feel and look bruised, and are painful and swollen to touch. It reportedly relieves swelling and pain linked with overexertion, trauma, or surgery. A study published in Research in Complementary and Natural Classic Medicine in 2003 found that arnica was better than a placebo for patients following varicose vein surgery. Improvement of pain was found in 43.3% of patients in the arnica group, and just 37.6% in the placebo group.
2. Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut)
Aesculus hippocastanum is used for distended and purple veins that cause sticking, hot pains. Symptoms will worsen from the cold weather and walking, while open air improves symptoms. Depression and irritability are also common in the person that benefits from this remedy. There may also be liver congestion with constipation.
3. Bellis Perennis (Daisy)
Bellis perennis is used for varicose veins that occur during pregnancy, and make it difficult to walk. There is also a deep bruising pain, along with swollen tissues, heavy, tired limbs, and a tendency toward bleeding. Symptoms improve with motion or rubbing; however, symptoms worsen from warmth, touch, or walking fast.
4. Carbo Vegetabilis (Vegetable Charcoal)
Carbo vegetabilis is said to be a good remedy when there is mottled skin with distended veins. The person’s leg will also feel chilly, weak, and heavy, along with a burning pain. The person also tends to be slow and sluggish both from a mental and physical standpoint. Symptoms worsen from lying down, drinking wine, and warmth, while they improve from elevating the feet.
5. Fluoric Acidum (Hydrofluoric Acid)
Fluoric acidum is used for chronic varicose veins and ulcers, especially in women who have had many children. Burning pain and weak distended blood vessels are also common. The person also feels the need to walk very fast. A cool bath will improve symptoms, while they worsen from touch, sitting, lying down, warmth, and at night.
6. Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)
Hamamelis is homeopathic witch hazel, and it is used for varicose veins of the legs and thighs with congestion, swelling, heaviness, or soreness. The remedy may improve circulation, bruising, and heavy legs. There is often chilliness, stinging, and itchiness down the legs. Lying down and motion improves symptoms; however, they worsen from jarring, warmth, touch, sitting, and pressure.
7. Lachesis (Bushmaster Snake)
Lachesis is a common remedy for the blue-red swelling associated with varicose veins. The veins may also bleed easily, and the person tends to be hot and intolerant toward heat. Pregnancy or menopause will often cause symptoms. The knotted veins are also often found behind the knee, or in the foot, leg, or arms. The person will have a suspicious, intense, and talkative personality. Symptoms will also worsen from touch, heat, alcohol, or after sleeping.
8. Pulsatilla (Wind Flower)
Pulsatilla is used for swollen veins in the legs, and may appear bluish with a stinging pain, especially during pregnancy. There may also be varicose veins in the hands, forearms, and legs, and there may be swelling in the feet. The symptoms will also worsen from heat, and improve from rubbing and fresh air. The person has a tendency toward being emotional and needy.
9. Sepia (Ink of the Cuttlefish)
Sepia is used for congested and purplish veins that have lost their elasticity, and often becomes a problem during pregnancy or menopause. The woman is also prone to chilliness and constipation, and has cravings for chocolate, salty, and sour foods. There may also be heaviness, bleeding, stitching pains, hemorrhoids, depression, and sluggish bowels. Symptoms improve from warmth and exercise.
10. Lycopodium (Club Moss)
Lycopodium is often the go-to remedy for tearing pains felt in the legs that sometimes occur with numbness. The remedy is often used for people that worry and experience poor circulation and digestive and liver problems. Symptoms tend to worsen when the person legs cramp at night in bed, or while they keep still.
Other Natural Treatment for Varicose Veins
Although very common in women, men can get varicose veins as well. Besides homeopathic remedies, various lifestyle changes can also help treat and prevent varicose veins.
Exercise is a very good way to improve varicose veins, and bicycling in particular will work the legs without putting a lot of pressure on them.
2. Keep Moving
Avoiding long periods of sitting and standing is also a good idea. You can do so by taking frequent breaks by walking around or putting your feet up.
3. Raise Your Bed
It may also be useful to elevate the foot of the mattress five to eight inches higher than the head. When sleeping, your blood will flow to the heart easier, rather than pooling in the veins.
4. Wear Loose Clothing
Avoid tight clothes that restrict circulation, such as certain garters, pants, or pantyhose.
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