Summer is almost here, and hot weather makes us want to reach for bright summery dresses, light fluttery skirts and cool comfortable shorts! However, for the 36 percent of women who suffer with varicose veins, these clothing options often stay regretfully in the closet.
Although there are medical treatments for the elimination of varicose veins, they can be costly and are not without risk. Natural remedies, on the other hand, are safe and affordable and can be done in the comfort of your own home. So before you start to mournfully toss your favorite summer wardrobe into the Good Will bin, try these five natural remedies to not only help reduce the appearance of varicose veins, but also to prevent future ones from forming.
1. Dietary Changes
If you suffer from varicose veins, a practical place to begin dealing with them should start with your diet. Start by consuming more vitamin C rich foods; this will help to promote healthy blood vessels and optimal vein structure. Also, eat a diet that is high in fiber, because fiber helps to prevent constipation and the straining that is associated with constipation can both cause and worsen varicose veins. Finally, reduce your intake of salt, because salt can make varicose veins more visible by increasing swelling within the veins.
Regular exercise helps to increase blood circulation throughout your body and increase vein strength — both of which help to ward of varicose veins. Exercise also helps you to lose weight, which results in less pressure on your legs and the prevention of future varicose veins. Walking, running, jogging, calf stretching, and other exercises that focus on working your legs can provide the best results.
3. Horse Chestnut Seed Extract
Horse chestnut is arguably one of the best herbal natural remedies for varicose veins. It contains a compound known as aescin, that helps to thin the blood and enhance circulation. It also helps to prevent fluid from leaking out of veins, and preliminary research suggests that it can reduce the swelling and discomfort associated with varicose veins. For the best results, choose a supplement that has the toxic compound esculin removed and that is standardized to contain at least 15 percent aescin.
4. Hot Oil Massages
Regularly massaging your legs with essential oils will improve circulation, and may help to reduce the pain and swelling associated with varicose veins. Any essential oil will do, but Neroli oil is considered especially beneficial because it not only increases circulation, but also stimulates the growth of new cells. The best way to perform the massage is to sit-up with your legs raised slightly on a pillow, and to start from your ankles and work your way up to the top of your legs. Make gentle, upward strokes and spend about 5 minutes on each leg daily. Be sure to avoid directly massaging the varicose veins however, because doing so can actually make the veins worsen.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Although this has not been scientifically proven, apple cider vinegar is one of the most highly touted natural remedies for varicose veins – and there is certainly no risk in trying it. Saturate a cloth in apple cider vinegar and apply it to your varicose veins for 30 minutes daily, while simultaneously elevating your legs in a comfortable position. In addition to applying it externally, add one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink one in the morning and then another glass at night (but consider using a straw to prevent the vinegar eroding your tooth enamel.).