Some people view herbal treatments for varicose veins as an “alternative therapy” to traditional varicose vein treatment. However, an increasing number of natural practitioners, as well as some phlebologists and vascular surgeons, are realizing that the best varicose vein treatment may be a combination of traditional and natural treatments. Combining both approaches into one is sometimes referred to “complementary medicine.”
Horse Chestnut For Varicose Vein Treatment
The most utilized herb for varicose vein treatment is an extract from ground horse chestnut seed (Aesculus hippocastanum), sold in powder, tablet, and capsule form. The active ingredient in this extract is known as aescin, which is actually a group of closely related triterpenoid saponins (terpenes) that are thought to work synergistically. In other words, it’s best to take the extract from the whole plant rather than one single isolate since you’ll get the harmonizing effect!
Aescin, as a varicose vein treatment, is thought to attack the problem of varicose veins on multiple fronts! First, it serves as a vessel toner, i.e. it firms up the veins and vein valves so they are less likely to fail. In this way, even veins that are starting to go can be firmed up and sometimes saved. Second, aescin reduces the leakage of blood and other fluids through the vessel walls. This reduces edema (swelling) and can help restore fluid balance. Third, aescin is thought to prevent the formation of tiny holes in vein and capillary walls, often seen in people with varicose veins. Fourth, and not least, aescin serves as a good inflammation reducer, often a recurring problem in people with varicose veins.
If you do want to try horse chestnut for varicose veins, the pill form seems to work better than the cream form for most people. However, if you have a particular vein that is stinging, pulsating, or hurting, you might want to try the horse chestnut cream in that specific area in addition to the pills. The recommended dosage in pill form is a standardized 100 mg (milligrams) of aescin per day. It is best to take 50 mg in the morning and 50 mg in the evening. Time release capsules work best of all. It is important to buy horse chestnut extract that specifically states aesculin, a poison similar to warfarin, has been removed.
Ginkgo Is Another Popular Natural Treatment For Varicose Veins
Ginkgo biloba stimulates peripheral circulation in the legs and feet by dilating the veins while also reducing the overall stickiness of circulating platelets. Ginkgo also strengthens the vein walls which helps to reduce the back flow of blood in the legs as it fights against gravity to head back to the heart. Vitamin C is supposed to strengthen the effectiveness of Ginkgo and vice versa so you might try combining these supplements. An effective dose of Ginkgo for varicose veins is 40 mg, three times a day.
The Magic of the Combination of Traditional Therapy and Herbs
In most people who have varicose veins, they have some veins that are completely beyond repair while others may can be saved. In those varicose veins that are beyond repair, they may be already causing major health issues or about to do so. In these veins, traditional varicose vein treatment like laser therapy and sclerotherapy relieve the symptoms and prevent serious medical complications that could arise from the grossly deteriorated veins. On the other hand, herbal treatment can sometimes reverse the damage in veins that have just started to deteriorate and prevent new veins from heading down this same destructive path.
A Very Important Tip If You Do Take Herbs For Varicose Veins
If you schedule any type of traditional varicose vein treatment, such as endovenous laser treatment (ELT) or sclerotherapy, you should ALWAYS be sure to tell your doctor about your herbal treatments when they ask if you are on any medications (as all doctors at Metro Vein Centers do!). The reason they ask is to make sure there will be no complications during your varicose vein procedure(s). They may need to adjust something during the varicose vein treatment to account from your medication or you may have to temporarily go off the medication in order to have the procedure safely.
Herbal supplements are basically medicine that comes from Mother Nature instead of the pharmacy. As such, they too can have an effect on your varicose vein treatment just like prescription drugs or over the counter medications. For example, horse chestnut thins the blood like prescription blood thinners and this may be important during a varicose vein treatment! So, be sure to tell you doctor about your herbal treatments and be as precise as possible about what herbs you are taking and how much you are taking. Keep in mind too that some herbal supplements have other ingredients besides the main advertised ingredient. In these cases, it may be best to take the supplement bottle to your doctor so he or she can read the entire ingredient list.
Traditional varicose vein treatment can easily combine with herbal treatment to accentuate your overall varicose vein treatment plan. Just be sure to let your vein doctor at Metro Vein Centers know when you check in!