Treat Varicose Veins Naturally

Diet and herbs can strengthen weak veins and help you like your legs again.

| January/February 2000


Hawthorn is one of many plants containing flavonoids,­compounds that improve circulation. Horse chestnut

Jerry Pavia

Given the right combination of factors, even the most health-conscious person can get varicose veins. The condition may occur in almost any part of the body, but it’s most common in the lower extremities. It can be caused by anything that restricts circulation: pregnancy, obesity, and smoking, as well as sitting, standing, or crossing the legs at the knees for prolonged periods. Other contributing factors include genetics, a low-fiber diet, and a breakdown of capillary structure. Symptoms range from pain in the feet and ankles to swelling, skin ulcerations, and severe bleeding if the vein is injured.

Treatment focuses on increasing circulation and strengthening connective tissue. Wearing elastic stockings and elevating the legs above the level of the head often relieve the congested feeling of varicose veins, though only temporarily. But a program of exercise, proper diet, and herbs can make a big difference in long-term health. Exercise, in particular, increases circulation and strengthens the action of the venous valves. It helps improve muscle function around the vein, which in turn helps tighten and support the blood vessels.

Prior to any self-treatment, consult your doctor to rule out hidden conditions such as deep blood clots.

Flavonoids: Circulation enhancers

Most herbal treaments for varicose veins include flavonoids, compounds that aid the circulatory system and strengthen capillaries. Flavonoids are pigments found in herbs and plants; they’re responsible for the intense colors you see in autumn leaves, brightly colored flowers, and dark colored fruits. ­Including more of them in your diet will help. Follow label instructions for herbal products or use a tablespoon or so of the bulk herb to make a tea.

Flavonoid-rich foods: cherries, rose hips, blackberries, apricots, buckwheat, bell peppers, onions, asparagus, brussels sprouts, apples, pears, and the thin inner layer of citrus rinds.

Flavonoid-rich herbs: hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), ­calendula (Calendula officinalis), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus).

11/26/2015 5:24:22 AM

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elderberry, echinacea, bee hive


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