October 12, 2021
When first experiencing symptoms of vein disease, many people prefer to explore their options before considering treatment within a medical clinic. This often involves researching what they can do to help ease the symptoms of their varicose veins at home, or even to get rid of them altogether – and while there are some things that can help, there is also a great deal of misinformation out there.
At the UK Vein Clinic, while we do encourage our patients to implement an exercise plan and a healthy diet to help with symptoms, there are a number of at-home remedies we don’t recommend. These supposed solutions are often branded as ‘natural’ and usually involve ingredients that you would typically find around the house. Unfortunately, these tend to be ineffective at best and harmful at worst.
To help debunk some of these, here are 5 of the most popular at-home ‘remedies’ we found online.
The claim: Apple cider vinegar is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals in the body. It’s also said to improve blood flow and circulation, and reduce the size of varicose veins in the legs.
How it’s used: The process involves applying the vinegar directly to the affected area. Some sources also recommend drinking some apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water to ‘cleanse’ the body of accumulated toxins.
The claim: The vitamins and minerals in cayenne pepper make it a strong ally against circulation disorders. It reduces the bad cholesterol that accumulates on the walls of the arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. This promotes the strengthening of the veins and keeps the blood moving.
How it is used: A popular method is to add a teaspoon to a cup of hot water. There are also several recipes that explain how to create ointments people can apply to the skin.
The claim: Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, as part of a balanced diet, garlic can improve blood circulation and help reduce the swelling and discomfort of varicose veins.
How it is used: People often use an olive oil and garlic mixture and apply it to their legs with a gentle massage. Some also prefer to ingest it, for example in a salad dressing.
The claim: This is a popular water used in the USA, Japan and Canada, due to its supposed astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. According to the claim, it stimulates blood flow and can be used to treat sunburn, varicose veins and damaged skin.
How it is used: Witch hazel is usually directly applied to the affected area, and is also available in different forms, such as liquid, gel, soap, or topical pad.
The claim: The most commonly used essential oils for varicose veins include lavender, horse chestnut, ginger, grape vine, mint and chamomile. They all promise to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and increase circulation.
How it is used: Topical use on affected areas.
Importantly, there is no medical proof that any of these home remedies can prevent or cure vein disease. Prevention through diet and regular exercise remains our first recommendation, with medical treatment remaining the only way to effectively treat varicose veins once they have developed.
Concerningly, these supposed treatments can cause other issues like skin irritation and gut problems. They can also cause people to delay seeking effective medical treatment, which means the condition can go untreated for a longer period of time, potentially putting the patient at risk of developing a more serious condition.
Essential oils, for instance, could potentially provide relief from some of the varicose vein symptoms, but since they cannot heal the underlying cause, they don’t serve as a real or long-term solution. Despite being considered as low-risk natural products, they should also be used safely, following professional recommendations.
Seeking an assessment from a medical professional is essential for effectively treating varicose veins. To find out about same-day treatment options, you can read about them here or learn more about our vein specialists here.
Take our two-minute diagnostic test to see if you could benefit from varicose vein treatment.
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