- slide 1 of 4
When a defect occurs in the wall of a vein, the vein dilates and the valves that prevent blood from backing up become damaged. When the valves become damaged, blood pools and causes the bulging veins known as varicose veins. There are herbs that can improve vein structure and function and help relieve the symptoms associated with the condition.
- slide 2 of 4
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Gotu kola extract (70 percent triterpenic acids) has been shown to have impressive results in the treatment of varicose veins, cellulite and venous insufficiency of the lower extremities. It is said to enhance connective tissue structure, improve blood flow and reduce sclerosis (hardening or thickening of tissue). It increases the integrity of the connective tissue structure surrounding the frail vein, giving it some support. The more support, the better the vein functions.
Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus)
Butcher's broom has a long history of being used to treat venous disorders. In Europe, extracts of this herb are used extensively, internally and externally, to get rid of bulging veins. Its active ingredients, ruscogenins, have vasoconstrictor and anti-inflammatory effects. Participants in most studies took butcher's broom extract along with vitamin C and hesperidin (a citrus flavonoid) which also help support the health of the vein.
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
In one study, 240 people with varicose veins received either an extract of horse chestnut seed that provided a daily dosage of 50 milligrams escin, a key compound of horse chestnut seed, compression stockings or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those who took the extract and those who wore the stockings had nearly identical results. The escin in horse chestnut seed has venotonic activity, meaning it improves venous tone. It also exerts anti-edema and anti-inflammatory properties.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch hazel has astringent properties, making it a popular external treatment for this condition. Commission E endorses using extracts of this herb externally to treat varicose veins. Witch hazel as a tincture can also be taken internally. According to animal studies, witch hazel was shown to help strengthen blood vessels.
Pine Bark (Pinus pinaster)
Pine bark extract is made from the bark of the maritime pine tree and is commonly sold under the brand name Pycnogenol. It contains flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pycnogenol has been shown by several studies to benefit varicose veins.
Other herbs for varicose veins include:
- grape seed
- slide 3 of 4
Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)
Mother Nature: Varicose Veins - http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/41/119.cfm
Health 911: Varicose Veins - http://www.health911.com/varicose-veins
Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (NLM)
- slide 4 of 4
Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.