Varicose Veins - What to Do Naturally

9:08 AM Posted by Jo Pedranti


Varicose veins are normally not a serious health threat if they are near the surface. They can be painful and the legs can feel heavy, tight, and tired. Swelling, leg cramps, and sore legs are some characteristics of varicose veins. Many women  find these veins cosmetically unappealing and cover them up.


Varicose veins are a sign of poor circulation and venous valve collapse. These veins are abnormally enlarged  due to a weakness of the valves inside the veins that  allow blood flow back to the heart. When the valves are weakened the blood accumulates in the veins causing them to stretch which leads to varicosities. The veins of the legs are commonly affected due to the pressure standing has on the veins.
Be aware that there is a more serious form of varicose veins that involves the obstruction of and valve defects of the deeper veins. This type can lead to serious problems.



What to do
Even though I often write posts specifically about using essential oils and herbs  it is important to remember that it starts with health building through diet, exercise, removal of toxins, and certain supplementation first. I have great success using herbs and essential oils myself, but I use them in addition to an already good diet.



Diet
  • If you haven't already, I advise you to remove all the refined carbohydrates from your diet and increase the intake of fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • A high fiber diet is important. If you increase your intake of vegetables and fruit you'll increase your intake of fiber as well.
  • Vitamin C may reduce tendency to blood clotting, and it aids circulation. It is hard to achieve a high amount of Vitamin C through diet alone so consider supplementing with vitamin C.
  • Flavonoid-rich berries may increase the integrity of the walls of the veins, so consider adding blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and hawthorn berries to your diet.
  • According to Battaglia, people with varicose veins don't break down fibrin as well and this leads to fibrin being deposited near the varicose veins. Ginger, garlic, cayenne, and onion increase fibrin break down so include them liberally in your diet.
  • Make sure you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.


The role of astringents
Astringents are needed to tone the blood vessels. Herbs with astringent effects are horsechestnut, rose hips, sage, butcher's broom, and witch hazel. 



Aromatherapy
The main purpose of the treatment is to tone the veins walls to improve circulation and to support the surrounding tissues. When you start researching about using essential oils for  varicose veins  you find that there's a split opinion as to if the affected area should be massaged or not. I found that it is usually fine if the oils are applied on the location and rubbed gently. An aromatic spray or a compress can also be used for extremely painful conditions.


Gently massaging with essential oils may encourage  lymphatic drainage and blood return. When treating varicose veins you want to use essential oils that have astringent, vaso-constrictive, anti-inflammatory, and slightly diuretic properties. 



The essential oils

Cypress is a true venous decongestant as well as an astringent and should be included. Other oils historically used are lemon, geranium, cypress, rosemay, helichrysum, bergamot, juniper. It normally takes a while before improvement so it is important to be patient. It is important to change the essential oils after a while so don't use the same combination of essential oils all the time in your blends. For example, according to Battaglia,  use lemon and cypress together with calendula infused oil and wheatgerm vegetable oil as a massage blend, and after a while alternate cypress and lemon with any other oils mentioned above.


According to Gary Young, tansy improves weak veins, cypress strengthens capillary walls, and helichrysum helps dissolve coagulated blood in surrounded tissues.



Oils to use for massage 
Mullein infused oil has historically been beneficial in painful or inflamed conditions such as varicose veins. Arnica infused oil is traditionally used as an first aid oil for bruising and inflammation, but should not be used on broken skin. Apricot kernel oil is high in vitamins A and B. Calendula infused oil and wheatgerm vegetable oils are other suitable oils traditionally used.  Wheatgerm is a valuable source of vitamin E and has historically been used to  improve  blood circulation. Calendula has traditionally been used to treat venous complaints, and has been known to if applied consistently,  decrease the symptoms of varicose veins by inhibiting inflammation, toning tissues, and promoting blood supply to the tissues.



Pregnancy
Essential oils should not be administered topically, including baths, orally, or vaginally before 24th week of pregnancy. If the oil is not contraindicated, it may be used in a diffuser. Geranium (avoid first trimester), lemon,  bergamot can be used when pregnant.


Oils to Use With Caution

 According to Cooksley caraway, cypress, juniper, lavender,  rose, rosemary (avoid first trimester) and peppermint ( avoid first trimester) can be used with caution.


Other things to consider
  • Avoid standing for a longer period.
  • Elevate your legs higher than your heart.
  • Don' sit cross-legged since the blood flow will be inhibited.
  • Don't restrict the blood flow with tight clothing.
  • Do gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, and yoga. 
  • Wear support hose during daytime.


Once again, dealing with varicose veins takes time so keep that in mind. If pregnant, check out this page:
 Is Aromatherapy Safe In Pregnancy?

As always, this information is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose or prescribe.  If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from a medical condition, consult with your health care practitioner prior to using essential oils.



Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil on your skin.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. Also, Read this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 



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Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 

Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.




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