Ayurvedic treatments, dietary changes and lifestyle modification appear to work by strengthening the walls of veins and other vessels. They primarily relieve symptoms of aching, heaviness, and swelling in the legs and ankles. The main line of treatment is to pacify aggravated Vata ana Pitta dosha and Rakta dhatu (blood tissue). Ayurvedic treatments include internal herbal health supplements and external treatment procedures.
Ayurvedic herbal health supplements for internal use
Ayurvedic herbal health supplements helps to maintain healthy lifestyle, reduces the pressure effects, relives pain and inflammation, and maintains normal tone of venous walls and their functions.
Ø Common herbal preparations which are effective in varicose veins are Triphala guggulu, Punarnavadi guggulu, Chandraprabha vati, Manjishtadi vati, Arogyavardhini vati.
Ø Other herbs which can be used are Pure Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Kanchanara (Bauhinia variegata), Nagakesar, Triphala, Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
Ø Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) and Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) are highly recommended to improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
Ayurvedic external treatments
Ø Abhyanga (Gentle massage / Application of oil) – Daily application of medicated oils like Pinda oil or Prasarini oil, around the affected part helps reduce inflammation, pain and improves circulation.
Ø Parasurgical procedures -
- Siravedhana (Venesection) reduces local engorgement of pressure, helps in better circulation, preserves vein valve competency and elasticity of vein walls.
- Jaloukavacharana (Leech therapy) is a blood letting therapy with leech application on the affected part. This therapy improves blood circulation, declines pressure on veins and surrounding areas, so elastic recoiling of veins are maintained and prevents over dilatation. The leech’s saliva has anticoagulant, antibacterial and anaesthetic effect.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes in Varicose Veins
Diet Recommendations in Varicose Veins -
- Prefer to include more of cooked, warm and unctuous food in your diet.
- Foods that are naturally sweet is good to be included in diet.
- Diet should be rich in proteins, fibres, vitamins and minerals but low in fat, low sugar and salt.
- Protein rich diet is important for building up the tissues.
- Increase fibre intake if you are suffering from constipation as straining while passing the stool can build up pressure and aggravate varicose veins. Avoid refined carbohydrates and red meat, as these are constipating.
- You can include fish in your diet but cut down on red meat as much as possible.
- Try to eat timely meals daily.
- Consume nutritious diet with fresh fruits, legumes, whole grains, especially, buckwheat, millet, foods which are high in fiber and rich in vitamins which can restore health to your veins.
- Blackberries and cherries help heal varicose veins.
- To disperse build-up of a protein that makes skin near varicose veins hard and lumpy, try eating more garlic, onion, ginger, and pineapple, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that promotes break-up of fibrin.
- Vitamin A, which speeds varicose ulcer healing, is found in cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potato, winter squash and leafy greens such as collards.
- B vitamins, which help maintain strong blood vessels, are found in all seasonal fruits, lassi (yogurt drink), whole grains, lentils, pulses (legumes) and dhals.
- Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which aid circulation, promote healing of sores and strengthen vein walls to prevent dilation, are found in melons, grapes, pomegranate, lemon, lime and other citrus fruits.
- Rutin, one of the bioflavonoids used routinely to treat varicose veins, is present in citrus fruits (especially on the white area inside the rind), apricots, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, rose hips and buckwheat.
- Vitamin E, which helps to improve circulation, reduce susceptibility to varicose veins and relieve pain, is found in almonds and almond oil.
- Lecithin, which helps to emulsify fats and improve circulation, is found in tofu and garlic.
- Zinc, which assists with healing and collagen formation, is found in pumpkin seeds and sweet, fresh fruits.
- Amalaki (Indian gooseberry / Embelica officinalis) and other citrus fruits are essential since Vitamin C deficiency is a primary cause of varicose veins, which is necessary formation of collagen in connective tissues and essential in maintanence of integrity of intercellular cement in many tissues particularly capillary walls.
- Garlic and ginger can break down the protein content in the body and distribute it evenly. This increases the protein supply to the lower limb region. Hence, the condition of varicose veins can be prevented.
- Onion helps in the proper assimilation and distribution of protein in the human body. It is said to increase inner strength.
Lifestyle Changes in Varicose Veins -
- Simple exercise regularly helps to keep leg muscles toned, improves blood circulation and drainage of blood from the legs and helps prevent varicosities. Walking and swimming are good. Also certain inverted yoga postures such as the Sarvangaasana (shoulder stand pose), Halaasana, Shirasasana (head stand pose), Viparitakarani and Pawanmuktaasana are helpful in restoring the normal drainage of blood from the legs.
- Crepe bandage application helps to prevent excess dilatation of vein and ulcer formation making a support for better circulation.
- Weight should be kept under check. Control over weight.
- Avoid use of high heel footwear as it stops normal muscle contraction in the lower leg, affecting circulation.
- Keep your legs elevated while sleeping. This helps gravity to ease backpressure on the veins at night. You can place wooden block below the cot to elevate the bed.
- Avoid stationary long standing or continuous sitting for long periods. Take frequent breaks to stretch and exercise your legs as often as possible to restore circulation and reduce pressure build-up.
- If you are pregnant, sleep on your left side rather than on your back. This minimises pressure from the uterus on the veins in your pelvic area. It also improves blood flow to the foetus.
- Quit smoking. It may contribute to high blood pressure, which can aggravate varicosity.
- Gentle oil massage daily will help to improve circulation and helps the skin, muscles and veins to regain their elasticity.
- Do not cross your legs when sitting to prevent blood from pooling.
- Avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs.
- Avoid contraceptive pills.