Varicose vein treatment, herbs, supplements and vitamins, natural therapy by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 12 2014

Varicose veins are the unsightly, painful bulges that appear on the legs when blood pools in the veins. They are usually purplish or bluish in color, and mostly appear on the backs of the legs or calves. Diseases of the venous system are widespread disorders sometimes associated with modern civilization. Varicose veins are not only a cosmetic annoyance: they can lead to complications that result in lost time from work. Varicose veins affect 10% to 20% of adult men and 25% to 33% of adult women.

Varicose veins and diet
There is conflicting reports as to whether there is a relationship between varicose vein risk and certain lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking and mobility at work. Chances of varicose vein prevention may improve by adopting a healthy diet and insuring a healthy vascular system. To reduce the risk for varicose veins, increase dietary intake of flavonoid -rich foods such as yams, onions, grapes and berries. Avoid excessive periods of standing or sitting. Exercise regularly.

Natural supplements for Varicose Veins
Horse chestnut extract has been used for varicose veins. Not enough research has been done to determine what percentage of users would benefit. It is likely that those with a mild varicose vein condition are much more likely to benefit that those with advanced cases. Pycnogenol, the brand name for a certain pine bark extract, has been evaluated in venous ulcers.

Planetary Formulas Horse Chestnut, 300 mg
Full Spectrum Horse Chestnut delivers a minimum of 20% aescin, the primary constituent in horse chestnut for assuring potency.

Horse Chestnut Supplement Facts:
Calcium 55 mg - 6% DV
Horse Chestnut Seed Extract 300 mg
   Standardized to 20% Aescin
   Yielding 60 mg Aescin

 

Visit Horse Chestnut to purchase this product or for more information.

Cause of varicose veins:
There are many causes for varicose veins: Simple genetics may explain why some people get varicose veins. People whose mother, father, brother or sister has varicose veins are more likely than those with no family history to develop the condition. Men and women who are relatively tall and women who were obese were also more likely to show signs of varicose veins than others. Other causes are aging; hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. birth control pills, or other medications with estrogen or progesterone; Leg injury or prolonged standing.

Varicose Vein Treatment
Compression stocking therapy and horse chestnut seed extract therapy are alternative therapies for patients with edema resulting from varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.

Health Technol Assess. October 17 2013. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of minimally invasive techniques to manage varicose veins: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Varicose veins are enlarged, visibly lumpy knotted veins, usually in the legs. Uncomplicated varicose veins can cause major discomfort and some complications. They are part of chronic venous disease (CVD), which is reported to have a substantial negative impact on health-related quality of life. Traditional treatments for varicose veins involve surgical stripping and ligation and liquid sclerotherapy (LS), but can be invasive and painful. New minimally invasive treatments offer an alternative. These treatments typically involve use of laser, radiofrequency or foam sclerosant. They are increasingly widely used and offer potential benefits such as reduced complications, faster recovery, fewer physical limitations and improved quality of life.OBJECTIVE:The aim of this report is to evaluate the clinical effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of the minimally invasive techniques of foam sclerotherapy (FS), endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in comparison with other techniques, including traditional surgical techniques, LS and conservative management, in the management of varicose veins. This assessment of the currently available evidence suggests there is little to choose between the minimally invasive techniques in terms of efficacy or cost, and each offers a viable, clinically effective alternative to stripping. FS might offer the most cost-effective alternative to stripping, within certain time parameters.

Foam Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy is a treatment of varicose veins. The technique achieves complete occlusion in a majority of legs with varicose veins. Established sclerotherapy techniques use liquid injections to treat varicose veins. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy is a variation that uses a sclerosant solution that has been transformed into foam by being forcibly mixed with air. British Journal of Surgery 2006.

Varicose Vein Research trials
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study investigated the healing of venous ulcers in three groups of 16 patients: one group received placebo tablets, another group received Pycnogenol tablets and the final group received both Pycnogenol tablets and local topical treatment of the wound with Pycnogenol powder. All three groups received compression stockings to counteract swelling and had their ulcers cleaned and disinfected. Over a six-week period, the groups were regularly monitored and researchers found the group treated with Pycnogenol tablets, the ulcer size was reduced to just 11 percent of the original size -- a startling difference from the placebo group. And, the group who supplemented and used the topical Pycnogenol powder resulted in complete healing of the ulcer. Although venous ulcers occur in a small percentage of the population, just 1 percent, age, obesity and prolonged standing can contribute to poor vein health and chronic venous insufficiency which is becoming a growing concern. Venous disease is becoming increasingly more common, affecting about half of the adult population. The more progressed condition involving varicose veins is apparent in 10-15 percent of men and 20-25 percent of women. When veins are stretched for prolonged periods of time, blood seeps into the surrounding tissue causing painful swelling, also known as edema. Veins eventually remain dilated and the highly visible varicose veins may result. This condition is also known as chronic venous insufficiency. Untreated, chronic venous insufficiency will progress to the development of venous ulcers impairing arterial blood supply to legs and feet. First signs include visible skin discoloration and further progression will lead to tissue decay with a visible open wound or ulcer. Left untreated, these ulcers do not heal due to the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the wound site. Ulcers will often take months, and even years to heal. The study was published in the 2005 issue of Angiology.

Prevalence and risk factors of varicose veins in adults.
Med Clin. 2004.
We intended to estimate the prevalence of varicose veins in the mature population of the Valencia Community and to analyze its relationship with socio-demographic variables, self-reported health status, body mass index and the presence of hemorrhoids, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity. Subjects and method: Information on self-reported varicose veins was collected from 1,778 adults older than 14 years (819 men and 959 women) who participated in the Health and Nutrition Survey of the Valencia Community (Spain). We estimated the prevalence of varicose veins by age groups and sex. To explore the association between varicose veins and variables, we estimated adjusted odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI 95%) by multiple logistic regression. Results: The overall prevalence of varicose veins was 16%, with a much higher prevalence in women that in men (26% versus 5%) and with older age. Gender and age were the 2 strongest predictors of varicose veins in multivariate analysis. Women had seven times more risk than men and those older than 35 years almost tripled the risk with respect to those aged 15-24 years. A body mass index of 30 kg/m2, a poor self-reported health status and hemorrhoids were significantly associated with the presence of varicose veins. Employers showed higher risk than workers. A moderate alcohol consumption (= 1 drink/day) was associated with a protective effect. Tobacco smoking and physical activity were not associated with varicose veins. Conclusions: Although being a woman and having an advanced age were the strongest predictors of varicose veins, other factors such as a high BMI, poor health status, hemorrhoids and some professional categories may be also important factors in their presentation. A moderate alcohol consumption seems to have a protective effect against varicose veins.

Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004.
Conservative therapy of chronic venous insufficiency consists largely of compression treatment. However, this often causes discomfort and has been associated with poor compliance. Therefore, oral drug treatment is an attractive alternative. To review the evidence from rigorous clinical trials assessing the efficacy and safety of oral horse chestnut seed extract versus placebo, or other treatments for varicose veins. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. Manufacturers of horse chestnut seed extract preparations and experts on the subject were contacted for published and unpublished material. Studies were included if they compared oral horse chestnut seed extract mono-preparations with placebo, or other treatments, in patients with varicose veins. Trials assessing horse chestnut seed extract as one of several active components in a combination preparation, or as a part of a combination treatment, were excluded. Overall, there appeared to be an improvement in varicose veins related signs and symptoms with horse chestnut seed extract compared with placebo. Leg pain was assessed in seven placebo-controlled trials. Six reported a significant reduction of leg pain in the horse chestnut seed extract groups compared with the placebo groups, while another reported a statistically significant improvement compared with baseline. Meta-analysis of five trials suggested a significant reduction in favor of horse chestnut seed extract compared with placebo. One trial indicated that horse chestnut seed extract may be as effective as compression stockings at reducing leg volume. Adverse events were usually mild and infrequent. The evidence presented implies that horse chestnut seed extract is an efficacious and safe short-term treatment for varicose veins. However, several caveats exist and more rigorous studies are required to assess the efficacy of this treatment option.

A small percent of women with varicose veins in their legs simultaneously have ovarian varicose veins. The underlying pathogenesis for pelvic congestion may be both ovarian and leg varicose veins, according to investigators who presented their findings here April 4th at the 30th annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology. "Often what you see in lower extremity vein disease is only the tip of the iceberg," said principal investigator Carl M. Black, MD, interventional radiologist and partner of Intermountain Vein Center in Provo, Utah. To see the full picture, a venous duplex ultrasound of the full leg, "all the way up to the vulva," often is necessary, he said. Complex patterns of superficial venous insufficiency that involve saphenous and non-saphenous veins are often associated with pelvic venous congestion syndrome, Dr. Black said. Because of the challenges in addressing these patients' discomfort or pain, treating physicians need to use a comprehensive approach so that they identify all treatable sources of reflux and therefore provide the greatest opportunity for symptomatic relief, he said.

Additional potential herbal treatment for varicose veins
Butcher's broom herb
Oral supplementation with Aesculus hippocastanum, Ruscus aculeatus, Centella asiatica - green tea -, Hamamelis virginiana, and bioflavonoids may prevent time-consuming, painful, and expensive complications of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Emails
Is Horse Chestnut a natural cure for varicose vein ?
   Some studies suggest horse chestnut helps reduce the severity of varicose veins, but I would not call it a varicose vein natural cure.

Is rutin helpful in varicose veins?
   Perhaps, but research with rutin is very limited.

I have been reading about the benefits of l arginine and its benefits for vascular function. Can Arginine supplementation be helpful with varicose veins? If it improves vascular health, it could be helpful, but if it dilates and increases blood flow too much it would be harmful. I can稚 seem to find enough research. Any information would be helpful.
   We doubt arginine would be helpful for varicose veins.

I had very bad varicose veins, On a particular day the varicose vein in my left leg wae gone; the area where it used to be was red and very painful as if the flesh was on fire inside. this redness and inside fire progressed gradually from below my knee to above my mid thigh. I got a picture in my mind of taking hydrogen peroxide (3%) and using topically with onions on the indicated area of my leg. specifically I cut an onion in half, poured h2o2 on the onion, and sponged my leg with it. Literally before my eyes the skin returned to normal color and the pain was greatly lessened; so much so that I could sleep. It was necessary to repeat this procedure in the morning, afternoon, and before sleep for about two weeks. Now my legs are normal looking I estimate 85% of the varicose veins are gone I have no leg pain.

I知 30 years old. I am writing to Ray Sahelian, M.D. because recently I have noticed a varicose vein on the back of my left leg. I was concern because everything I have read on it seems not to fit me. I知 only going to be 30 I知 a male and I知 not over weight I知 five foot 11 and weigh about 175 I exercise or lift weight everyday for about an hour and a half. I live a very active lifestyle I知 always on the run I just like being outdoors. I have always been much of a jock playing all kinds of sports so you can see why this is to a surprise to me. Now my condition is not bad however before it get there I want to nip it in the bud what tips can you give me. I read about the horse chestnut and as soon as I知 done writing you this email I知 out the door to purchase some. I just don稚 get it. Now I admit I知 a have drinker only on the weekends and I heard that thins your blood so I知 even going to quite that.
    Sometimes the problem is due to a genetic condition and not related to anything that you have done wrong or not done right.

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