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Varicose veins usually appear on the legs and feet. These are swollen and enlarged veins, which often appear lumpy and blue or dark purple. Not only can they look bulging and not exactly pretty, they can also be painful with a few unpleasant symptoms, which can be worse in warm weather or after standing for a long period of time.
The NHS lists these symptoms on their website as:
- Aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Burning or throbbing in your legs
- Muscle cramp in your legs, particularly at night
- Dry, itchy and thin skin over the affected vein
Varicose veins are not usually a serious issue or require treatment, but it’s important to note that if your varicose veins are causing you pain or discomfort, then seeing a GP would be recommended. Consulting your doctor for the best treatment and early intervention will really help
Some of the causes of varicose veins include being female, older, overweight, pregnant or having a job that involves standing for long periods of time. You also may be more likely to develop varicose veins if you have a close family member with varicose veins.
The following essential oils and lifestyle tips are all suggestions to help you control, manage and treat the symptoms and appearance of varicose veins.
Essential Oils to Increase Circulation
Improving circulation is essential for the treatment of varicose veins. By using warming or cooling essential oils, blood vessels can be dilated and constricted to increase circulation.
The following oils can counteract the effects of sitting or standing for a long period of time, and may reduce the appearance and pain of varicose veins.
- Black Pepper
Essential Oils with Astringent Action
By tightening surrounding tissues and veins, damaged vein walls can be strengthened by the following essential oils.
Essential Oils with Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Reducing inflammation in the body and in the surrounding tissues of the affected vein will aid in speeding up the healing of varicose veins.
Essential Oils that Act as a Decongestant
Thick blood that doesn’t flow easily in the veins can be decongested by the following essential oils. This issue of varicose veins is caused by standing or sitting for long periods of time. These essential oils can help treat unnecessary stretching and strain on valves and vein walls.
- Clary sage
Using Essential Oils for Varicose Veins
The following are a few suggestions on how to use essential oils topically for the treatment of varicose veins.
- Soak a cloth or muslin cloth in a blend of five drops of essential oils of your choice and 1 litre of water. This can be warm or cool water. Any of the oils listed above may help in your treatment. Elevate your legs for 15 minutes whilst applying the compress to the affected area.
- Pick a carrier oil of your choice and dilute up to 8 drops of essential oil within a small amount of it. Carrier oils commonly used include jojoba oil, macadamia nut oil and sweet almond oil. However, you may want to use grapeseed oil as your carrier oil. Grape seed extract is said to contain compounds that increase elasticity in blood vessels. You can then add your creation to your bathwater for a soothing, hopefully pain-relieving soak.
- Take roughly 3 tablespoons of carrier oil and combine this with your chosen carrier oil. Other suggestions include coconut oil, argan oil and evening primrose oil. These are all anti-inflammatory. Give the affected area a massage in the direction of your heart.
Precautions and Risks
Irritation or inflammation may occur if you apply essential oils directly to the skin, but diluted essential oils are generally considered safe.
If you experience an allergic reaction after use, you may experience symptoms such as skin burning, skin irritation, rapid heart rate, breathlessness, hives or rash. An allergic reaction may occur with any essential oil. Different people may have a reaction to one essential oil that another person is fine with.
To be safe, you can patch test each mixture you make on a small patch of your skin. The mixture should be safe to use on a larger area if there is no reaction here.
If an allergic reaction occurs, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should only use these oils if a doctor or trained aroma therapist tells them they’re safe.
Lastly, but certainly not least, pain or swelling in your legs is not necessary varicose veins, and it’s important to see a doctor so that other conditions can be ruled out.
Nutrition and Herbs for Varicose Veins
The following recommendations will not necessarily magic away your varicose veins, but by incorporating a few different factors, varicose veins may improve significantly.
By taking a daily multivitamin, the health of the veins can be improved. Make sure this multivitamin contains vitamins C and E. We can recommend Fushi’s Multi Essential Vitamin Complex, which contains both of these, plus vitamins A, B, D and K, and iron.
A beneficial herb to take is gotu kola, which is thought to increase blood flow and reduce swelling. This is because of a chemical it contains called triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica (TTFCA). This chemical stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which is needed to strengthen the internal lining and walls of the veins.
Therefore, gotu kola may reduce swelling, increase blood flow and boost skin to make it healthier. You can take gotu kola supplements in capsule form or tincture form. We can recommend Fushi’s Gotu Kola Tincture or Capsules. You can also massage Fushi’s Really Good Cellulite Oil which contains gotu kola to help improve circulation and reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
Horse Chestnut Seed Extract and Bilberry
Horse chestnut seed extract is thought to reduce vein swelling and inflammation. This 2006 study found that horse chestnut is effective in treating poor circulation in the legs, including symptoms such as heaviness, pain and itchiness. It’s often taken with bilberry, thought to enhance blood flow and reinforce vein walls.
Practical Lifestyle Tips for Varicose Veins
Use these following tips to help in the treatment of varicose veins.
- Exercise regularly to increase circulation. Also, maintaining a healthy weight leads to better vein health.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes to increase blood flow and range of motion. These are vital for vein health.
- Replace white carbs with whole-wheat or brown carbs. This change should increase blood flow.
- Cut down on your sugar because this places added stress on your vascular system.
- Eat rutin-rich foods. Rutin is a flavonoid found in certain fruit and vegetables, which supports the smooth running of the circulatory system. The University of Maryland Medical Center made a statement: ‘a number of studies have shown that flavonoids that come from rutin relieve swelling, aching and pain from varicose veins.’ Foods rich in rutin include blackberries, apricots, apples and grapes.
- Elevate your legs to keep your blood circulating. Poor circulation leads to blood pooling in the veins in your legs, which can be a cause of varicose veins.
- Ask your doctor about wearing compression stockings. These are specialised socks to help improve poor circulation, prevent blood from pooling and can help reduce the symptoms of pain and swelling that can come with varicose veins.
Varicose veins are often very tricky to treat, and definitely don’t disappear overnight, but there’s definitely a lot of different things that can be done to help the chances of this happening! Please feel free to get in touch with the team if you have any questions.
Written by Jess Burman
BA (Honours) in Writing