Leg veins channel blood upwards against the force of gravity. Veins deep in the tissues are supported by the muscles, and the flow of blood is encouraged upwards by exercise.
Leg veins channel blood upwards against the force of gravity. Veins deep in the tissues are supported by the muscles, and the flow of blood is encouraged upwards by exercise. Standing still encourages blood to pool in the deep leg veins, creating a back pressure that is transmitted to veins just below the surface. These can then become varicose – overstretched and bulging.
- Blue or purple veins appear on the thigh and/or calf
- Legs ache and swell
- Skin over the bulges may tear easily, especially in older people
- Varicose eczema – an itchy rash over the affected area – may develop
- Relevant lifestyle measures include a wholefood diet, stopping smoking, weight reduction and daily exercise, including going barefoot (or wearing open sandals that encourage the toes to grip naturally), to maximize use of calf muscles. Painful varicose veins can be relieved by splashing the area with cool then very warm water. Exercise would be recommended to improve overall health and cardiovascular fitness, and tone thigh and calf muscles in particular.
- Wholegrain flour products, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, rich in antioxidant nutrients and fiber, guard against constipation. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene provide naturally occurring vitamin C with bioflavonoids – especially carrot, celery and parsley juice, 3 parts of either or both of the first two, to 1 of parsley. Fresh rhubarb, plums and greengages, and prunes and their juice, can keep the most sluggish bowels regular.
- Avoid coffee, cola drinks, and refined sugar, or reduce consumption to a minimum. Specific dietary supplements include beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, and vitamins D and E. the last-mentioned relieves varicose vein inflammation or helps to prevent it. It is also good for varicose eczema or varicose ulcers, both of which can benefit from pure vitamin E oil or cream applied directly. Honey was recommended in a varicose ulcer application by Hippocrates in the fourth century; and modern treatment methods are utilizing this – and seaweed applications – once more. Cider vinegar relieves painful, swollen varicose veins in some sufferers, besides encouraging weight loss: add 2 tsp organic cider vinegar to a tumbler of fresh cold water, and drink 3 times a day.
- Extracts of butcher’s broom are prescribed to prevent and treat piles and varicose leg veins. It promotes circulation in the lower limbs and combats inflammation. Gotu kola extracts have been shown to boost venous circulation in the lower legs and improve the condition of varicose veins.
- Clove essence added to pure cold water is used to wash varicose ulcers and eczema. Practitioners sometimes make up a varicose vein ointment based upon essences of benzoin and cypress, mixed with sweet almond oil and extracts of pure beeswax.
- Avoid triggers such as being overweight, constipation and coughing
- Improve blood flow in deep leg veins by regular exercise
- Put your feet up when you rest to aid blood’s normal passage upwards.
- Wear elastic support stockings if recommended by your doctor
- A 5-inches block under the foot of the bed encourages nightly drainage away from the affected areas
If injured, a varicose vein can bleed profusely. If this occurs, it is important to seek medical help immediately. If you are suffering from a heart condition, avoid hydrotherapy.