Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins

This page takes a look at natural remedies for varicose veins - using varicose veins herbs, nutritional supplements, aromatherapy, and homeopathy to cure and prevent varicose veins.

Veins conduct blood from your body back to your heart. Unlike the arteries, veins cannot rely on the heart's direct pumping motion to propel the blood to its destination. Instead, veins propel blood by the contracting and relaxing effect of the muscles surrounding them. They also have a series of one-way valves that help to keep the blood flowing towards the heart.

However, when these valves malfunction or weaken, they may allow blood to flow backward and pool in your veins, causing them to stretch and bulge. These enlarged veins are called varicose veins. (Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller and occur closer to the surface of your skin.)

Varicose veins usually appear in the legs and feet (especially on the thigh or the back of the calf), because standing and walking increases the pressure on these veins. However, varicose veins can appear in other parts of the body as well. When they appear in the anus, they are called hemorrhoids.

Varicose veins are quite common and they tend to affect women more than men (women are 3 times more likely to have varicose veins than men). Generally speaking, varicose veins do not pose a serious health risk, but sometimes they do get tender and painful and may cause the legs to feel tight and swollen. Varicose veins may also be a sign of a higher risk of other circulatory problems.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins usually do not cause any pain. Signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Prominent dark-blue veins, especially in the legs and feet
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging

However, sometimes they get painful with the following symptoms:

  • An achy, tight, or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itchy skin near the varicose veins
  • Ulceration near your ankle (this can mean you have a severe form of vascular disease that requires medical attention)


Causes of Varicose Veins

Primary varicose veins occur when the walls of the veins become weak, or if excess pressure is put on the veins. This can be caused by:
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Constipation
  • Inactivity
  • Standing for long periods
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
Secondary varicose veins are most often caused by problems with veins lying deep among the muscles, which carry about 90% of the blood returning to your heart. These problems include blood clots and the resulting diversion of blood flow. In such cases, the affected leg may swell considerably which may be serious. Urgent medical attention is needed.


Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins

Although there is no cure for varicose veins, there are quite a few natural remedies for varicose veins that are very effective in reducing some of the symptoms, such as the pain and the swelling. Some of these natural remedies can also help to strengthen the vein walls and prevent the condition from worsening.

Below we will look at using herbs, essential oils, nutritional supplements, and homeopathy to treat varicose veins.

Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins - Herbs

Quite a few herbs are effective natural remedies for varicose veins. They include:
  • Horse Chestnut: Horse chestnut has been used traditionally to treat varicose veins. This herb contains a compound called aescin, which helps to strengthen capillary cells and reduce fluid leakage. Be sure to use a standardized extract that contains 16 - 21% aescin (do not use the raw herb). Recommended dosage is 100 mg daily.
  • Witch Hazel: Witch hazel is an astringent and can be used both internally and topically for various skin conditions, including varicose veins. Internally, use a tincture of witch hazel or make a tea of the herb. Just steep one to two teaspoons of dried witch hazel leaves in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes. You can drink two to three cups a day.

    Externally, use witch hazel water (water extract of the herb) to topically treat varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Simply wipe the affected area with a cotton ball that has been dipped in the extract.
  • Butcher's broom: This herb contains two anti-inflammatory compounds, ruscogenin and neoruscogenin, that constrict and strengthen veins. Butcher's broom has long been used to treat hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Take a standardized extract that contains 9 - 11% ruscogenin. Recommended dosage is 200 mg daily.
  • Bilberry: Bilberry helps circulation by stimulating new capillary formation, strengthening capillary walls and increasing the overall health of the circulatory system. You can take 80 mg three times per day, standardized to contain 25% anthocyanoside. ** DO NOT take bilberry if you take a prescription diuretic.**
  • Ginkgo: This herb is a popular treatment for all circulatory problems. In Germany, ginkgo is widely used by doctors to treat varicose veins. To use this herb, you need to get a 50:1 extract, and take up to 120 mg twice a day.
  • Gotu kola: Several studies show that this herb is effective in treating circulatory problems in the lower limbs, including venous insufficiency, and varicose veins. Recommended dosage is 200 mg two to four times per day, standardized to contain 10% asiaticosides.


Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins - Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements that make good natural remedies for varicose veins include:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is important for healthy vein walls. Recommended dosage is 500 to 1000 mg two to three times per day.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a natural blood thinner which promotes blood flow and reduce inflammation of the veins. Recommended dosage is 400 IU a day.
  • Grape Seed Extract: GSE contains proanthocyandins which are bioflavonoids that reduce leakage in veins, improve circulation, and lessen swelling in the legs. Recommended dosage is 200 mg a day. Similar flavonoids can be found in pine bark, cranberry, hawthorn, cherries, and blueberry.


Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins - Aromatherapy

Several essential oils can be used for massage or in a foot bath to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins.

To have a foot bath for varicose veins, fill one bowl with hot water and another bowl with cold water with a few ice cubes added. To the bowl of hot water, add 2 drops of geranium. To the bowl of cold water, add 2 drops of lavender. Put both feet first in the cold water for 5 minutes, then put them in the hot water for 5 minutes. This can stimulate blood circulation and prevent varicose veins.

You can also use the following recipe to make a varicose vein preventative massage oil. To 2 tablespoons of carrier oil, add:

  • 5 drops of Peppermint
  • 10 drops of Cypress
  • 5 drops of Lemon
  • 10 drops of Geranium

Use the oil to massage your feet and your legs.


Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins - Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies are also effective natural remedies for varicose veins. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions of use on the label.
  • Arnica montana: This remedy is for swollen veins that look bruised and are painful to the touch. The legs tend to ache all over and feel worse with movement, but better when lying down.
  • Calcarea carbonica: This remedy is indicated for people with painful varicose veins who are easily fatigued and have poor circulation, with cold hands and feet. People who need this remedy tend to be overweight. They may also have a taste for sweets.
  • Hamamelis: This remedy is for large varicose veins of the thighs and the legs. The legs may appear purple or bruised and have stinging pain. The veins may become itchy. People who need this remedy may also have bleeding hemorrhoids.
  • Pulsatilla: This remedy is for swollen veins in the legs that feel heavy and warm at night, and ache. Symptoms are worse with warmth and better with cold. Pulsatilla is a common remedy for varicose veins that occur during pregnancy.


Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins - Diet

A high fiber diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds is recommended for people with varicose veins. In addition, eat foods that are rich in the following:
  • Copper: Copper strengthens the walls of blood vessels. Examples of foods rich in copper are: whole grains, nuts and seeds, shellfish (especially cooked oysters), and lean red meat.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E-rich foods include wheatgerm, soybeans, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Rutin: Rutin is a bioflavonoid that may shore up the walls of veins and help them function better. Buckwheat is rich in rutin. You can use buckwheat flour in pancakes or breads, or eat Japanese buckwheat noodles (soba).
  • Proanthocyandins: As mentioned above, these are bioflavonoids and can be found in berries such as blueberries, cranberries, and cherries.

Related Topic

Natural Hemorrhoid Remedies


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
Duke, J.A., The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002).
Worwood, V.A., The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991). (

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