Varicose Veins (Holistic)

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About This Condition

Standing up or sitting down for long spells can cause the veins in your legs to bulge and become more visible. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Try a beneficial flavonoid

    Take 1,000 mg a day of hydroxyethylrutoside to reduce the size of varicose veins associated with pregnancy

  • Compress and elevate

    Relieve the symptoms of varicose veins by wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs frequently

  • Get a checkup

    Visit your doctor to find out if your varicose veins may be the result of a more serious venous condition


About This Condition

Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins close to the surface. They can occur almost anywhere but most commonly occur in the esophagus and the legs.

Veins, which return blood to the heart, contain valves that keep blood from flowing backward as a result of gravity. When these valves become weak, blood pools in the veins of the legs and causes them to bulge. These enlarged vessels are called varicose veins. Standing and sitting for long periods of time, lack of exercise, obesity, and pregnancy all tend to promote the formation of varicose veins. Sometimes varicose veins are painful, but elevating the affected leg usually brings significant relief.


Symptoms of varicose veins may include a dull pain, itch, or heavy sensation in the legs. The sensation is worse after prolonged standing and better when the legs are elevated. Varicose veins typically appear on the legs as dilated, tortuous veins close to the surface of the skin, and may look blue. Advanced varicose veins may cause ankle and leg swelling or skin ulcers.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Keeping the legs elevated relieves pain. People with varicose veins should avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time and should walk regularly.


What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Supplement Why
1 Star
Butcher’s Broom
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with butcher’s broom may be helpful for varicose veins.

Oral supplementation with butcher’s broom or gotu kola may also be helpful for varicose veins.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
Taking hydroxyethylrutoside may help reduce the size of varicose veins associated with pregnancy.

A controlled clinical trial found that oral supplementation with hydroxyethylrutosides (HR), a type of flavonoid that is derived from rutin, improved varicose veins in a group of pregnant women. Further research is needed to confirm the benefits observed in this preliminary trial. A typical amount of HR is 1000 mg per day.

1 Star
Gotu Kola
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with gotu kola may be helpful for varicose veins.

Oral supplementation with butcher’s broom or gotu kola may also be helpful for varicose veins.

1 Star
Horse Chestnut
Refer to label instructions
Horse chestnut seed extract can be taken orally or applied topically treat varicose veins.

Horse chestnut seed extract can be taken orally or used as an external application for disorders of venous circulation, including varicose veins. Preliminary studies in humans have shown that 300 mg three times per day of a standardized extract of horse chestnut seed reduced the formation of enzymes thought to cause varicose veins. Topical gel or creams containing 2% aescin can be applied topically three or four time per day to the affected limb(s).

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
One trial found that supplementing with proanthocyanidins improved the function of leg veins in people with widespread varicose veins.

A small, preliminary trial found that supplementation with 150 mg of proanthocyanidins per day improved the function of leg veins after a single application in people with widespread varicose veins. Double-blind trials are needed to determine whether extended use of proanthocyanidins can substantially improve this condition.

1 Star
Witch Hazel
Refer to label instructions
Witch hazel may be applied topically to treat varicose veins.

Although witch hazel is known primarily for treating hemorrhoids, it may also be useful for varicose veins. Topical use of witch hazel to treat venous conditions is approved by the German Commission E, authorities on herbal medicine. Application of a witch hazel ointment three or more times per day for two or more weeks is necessary before results can be expected.