Varicose veins are a reality for many people, and although they’re usually considered a problem for women, anyone can develop these bulgy, lumpy, painful veins in their legs. In fact, up to 55 percent of women and 45 percent of men in the United States have varicose veins.
While there are a number of treatments available for varicose veins — everything from compression stockings to invasive surgical procedures — many procedures result in nerve damage. Not only that, but according to a 2007 study, more than 50 percent of patients who underwent varicose vein surgery experienced a recurrence within 10 years.
Varicose veins don’t just happen, however. They’re a symptom of an underlying problem in the circulatory system, and one that can be largely corrected through lifestyle changes and a few natural remedies.
If the word “exercise” turns you off, think of it as movement instead. That movement can help keep your blood flow going and lower inflammation throughout the body. According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, sitting for long periods of time, especially with your legs crossed, or standing for long stretches without moving increases your risk of varicose veins. Leg lifts, calf raises, and side lunges strengthen the legs and the veins inside, helping to reduce the likelihood that blood pools in the veins and causes varicose veins.
Apple cider vinegar
It’s no wonder apple cider vinegar makes it on the list. Its natural cleansing properties help improve circulation and blood flow. Apply apple cider vinegar directly to the skin over varicose veins and gently massage the area. Apply it in the morning and before going to bed each night. After a few months, you should notice a significant reduction in your varicose veins.
Olive oil is another wonder ingredient in most people’s pantries. Like apple cider vinegar, olive oil helps boost circulation and reduce inflammation. Mix equal parts extra virgin olive oil and vitamin E oil and warm it slightly. Massage the affected area with the warm oil for several minutes, twice a day for a month to reduce varicose veins.
There’s no doubt about it: turmeric is a miracle food. It reduces inflammation, and therefore pain, improves circulation and can help remove toxins from the blood as an antioxidant. Make a turmeric tea by mixing a teaspoon of turmeric with a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch each of clove and nutmeg, and a cup of hot water. Add some raw honey to the mix to sweeten it up if it’s too spicy, or use your favorite nut milk to make a thicker, frothy drink. Consume a cup of turmeric tea for overall inflammation reduction that will also help improve your varicose veins.
Several essential oils improve blood flow while lowering inflammation. Cypress oil, in particular, is the best essential oil for treating vein problems. Five drops of cypress essential oil applied to the affected area twice a day for up to two months should result in far less noticeable veins.
People who are overweight are at a much higher risk of varicose veins than those who maintain a healthy weight. That’s because the excess body weight puts increased pressure on the legs and veins. In fact, people who are overweight often have varicose veins and don’t know it until they have progressed to become very large — up to five centimeters long.
Tannins in witch hazel make this remedy good at constricting varicose veins. The remedy also helps restore veins’ elasticity, making them less likely to bulge out from the skin. The best way to reap the benefits of witch hazel is to apply it as a warm compress. Soak a washcloth in warm witch hazel and place it on the affected area two to three times a day for up to two months for best results.
Add cayenne pepper to your food whenever possible. Rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, cayenne pepper increases blood circulation and can even help ease the inflammation pain associated with varicose veins. If you’re brave, mix a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water to create a “tea.” Drink this three times a day for up to two months.
By making a few small changes in your life — and adding some varicose vein self-care to your morning and evening routine — you can be rid of painful varicose veins within a few months.