When veins become weak, they dilate and the valves within them become damaged. This causes blood to pool which exerts pressure on the walls, producing bulging veins known as varicose veins. They are most commonly found on the inside of the legs or on the back of calves. Women are affected more frequently than men.
The following can be a cause of varicose veins:
- hereditary weakness of vein wall or valves
- advanced age
- prolong standing
- sitting with legs crossed
- heavy lifting
- straining during defecation.
The following are effective in improving vein function and relieving symptoms but large well-formed varicose veins may not completely go away:
Walking, jogging, or riding a bike are especially beneficial by pushing pooled blood back into circulation.
Vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and bioflavonoids help strengthen the walls of the veins.
A high-fiber diet is an important component in the treatment of varicose veins. Varicose veins are rare in parts of the world where people eat a diet high in fiber and unrefined foods.[1-2] A low-fiber diet can cause constipation, making it difficult to pass hard stools. Straining increases the pressure in the stomach, which obstructs the flow of blood up the legs. Overtime, this can be a cause of varicose veins by weakening the walls of the veins.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is used throughout Europe by folk medicine practitioners to help shrink varicose veins. Soak a cheesecloth bandage in the vinegar, wrap it around the affected area, lie down, and elevate your legs for 30 minutes. Afterwards, drink 2 teaspoons of the vinegar in a cup of warm water. Do this twice a day (in the morning and in the evening). In one month, you should see a noticeable difference.
Soak a cheesecloth bandage in witch hazel, wrap it around the affected area, lie down, raise your legs, and relax. This natural remedy will help reduce swelling.
Foods and Herbs
The following foods and herbs are beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins by improving blood circulation and strengthening the walls of the veins:
- hawthorn berries
- horse chestnut
- gotu kola
- butcher’s broom.
-  London: Academic Press, 1985
-  New York: Plenum Press, 1982
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