Ask The Pharmacist: Natural remedies for varicose and spider veins

Q: I have such bad varicose veins in my legs that I hide them from my husband. I never wear shorts either. Are there vitamins that can make them disappear? — T.G. Dallas, Texas

A: Millions of women in the world would celebrate if you could just take a pill to get rid of those unsightly veins that crawl all over your legs. Varicose veins arise sometimes when your leg veins aren’t strong enough to pump the blood back up to your heart so it pools in your legs. It’s not that easy. This may surprise you, but veins that swell in your rectum are called hemorrhoids! The remedies I share below may be able to relieve hemorrhoidal pain too.

Prevention of vein problems is much easier than treatment. Avoid standing in one place for long periods of time the way that pharmacists, hairdressers and cashiers do. Stretch or take a walk periodically and invest in elastic support hose. Those are sold at pharmacies and medical supply shops. Exercise because it gets your blood flowing while strengthening your calf muscles. Best of all, by losing weight, you take the burden off the fragile blood vessels in your legs. Also, make sure your hormones are balanced since high estrogen may be partially to blame.

Before taking supplements, visit a physician who specializes in vein diseases or “phlebology” because varicose veins may indicate bigger problems including heart disease, deep vein thrombosis or venous insufficiency. Specialists offer procedures that can dramatically improve the appearance of “varicosities” as they are called. Find a doctor at this Web site: acpsite.net.

Below are some natural supplements that are sold without prescription. Consult your physician, especially if you have kidney, liver or bleeding disorders or take medications that interact with grapefruit (citrus).

Hesperidn: An antioxidant found lemons and oranges that is also sold as a dietary supplement. Hesperidin can strengthen the blood vessel walls which reduces swelling and easy bruising. It’s useful for hemorrhoids as well as leg varicosities. Hesperidin and it’s sisters rutin and quercetin are fabulous antioxidants so they do great housekeeping on your cells.

Diosmin: This is derived from hesperidin and found in numerous over-the-counter vein and hemorrhoidal formulas. It’s used widely in Europe and may improve circulation, reduce sensations of leg heaviness and prevent night cramps. A few small studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect of diosmin, especially when combined with hesperidin.

Bromelain extract: From pineapples, this supplement helps to break down fibrin which is what collects around the varicose veins causing lumps and bumps.

Horse chestnut extract: The active ingredient in this herb is called “aescin” and it may block enzymes that would otherwise damage delicate capillary walls. Researchers think that it might reduce leg pain and swelling.

Other considerations for vein and circulatory health include B vitamins, rutin, Gotu Kola and Butcher’s Broom.

Did you know?

The popular blood pressure pill “verapamil” is a drug mugger of vitamin D so supplement.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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