Natural Healing: Astringent Herbs for Varicose Veins

| March/April 2002

Recipe: Varicose Veins Massage Oil 

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged, twisted, or swollen. This is a common, annoying, and often painful problem that affects one out of seven adults in North America; it’s a symptom of poor circulation that results in loss of elasticity of the blood vessels. Although varicose veins affect men, they are four times more common in women.

Varicose veins affect more than 50 percent of the middle-aged population, although they can also afflict younger adults. Those most affected include people in service positions who must stand on their feet for hours, causing a tenfold increase in venous pressure. Risk also increases with overweight individuals who have a lack of muscle and tissue tone and are more likely to have weakened vein walls. Chronic constipation or pregnancy can increase venous pressure in the legs, and some individuals have a hereditary predisposition to this malady. Age is a factor, compounded by lack of muscle tone and degenerative changes in supporting connective tissue. The cause of varicose veins can be multifaceted and can also include a low-fiber diet, liver malfunction, and vitamin deficiency.

Most varicosities are close to the skin’s surface and although they are not a severe threat to health, they may hint at chronic circulatory problems. If ignored, they can become quite troublesome and painful, not to mention unsightly. Deeper varicose veins can be quite serious, leading to stroke, thrombophlebitis, or heart problems.

Varicose veins are certainly not confined to the legs. Much more common are hemorrhoids, which are varicose veins in the rectum. This condition frequently affects pregnant women due to the added demands of the body as well as the extra pressure and weight in the perineal area.

But don’t despair! There are a number of healing herbs that can be quite helpful, and are even more effective when integrated with appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes.

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