Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins become increasingly common as we get older, and are a visible reminder of the changes that occur in our circulatory system as we age. Although unsightly, they are not always painful.


  • Veins in the legs may appear knotty, lumpy swollen
  • The affected areas may ache and become painful and puffy, especially after standing for long periods
  • The congested veins appear blue due to the low oxygen levels in the blood returning to the heart


  • To overcome the effects of gravity, the veins that carry the blood from the feet and legs back to the heart contain valves that prevent blood pooling at the bottom of the limbs. If the valves become damaged, this mechanism fails, and the veins become congested and swollen, resulting in the characteristic appearance and symptoms of varicose veins
  • Pressure on the blood vessels is increased by standing up for long periods of time, pregnancy and being overweight
  • Some people may also experience varicose veins as a result of genetic factors or due to injury to the region damaging the blood vessels
  • Haemorrhoids are varicose veins in the anal region, and are caused by pressure to those blood vessels, for example due to pregnancy or from Constipation causing straining to occur
  • Deficiency of vitamin C or bioflavonoids (which are essential for the health and functioning of the capillaries) may also contribute to the development of varicose veins

Nutritional & Herbal Support

  • Taking grape seed extract may help to improve the health of the capillaries and other blood vessels, and improve peripheral circulation. Grape seed is specifically indicated for people with varicose veins
  • Ginkgo supports peripheral circulation, and may have mild benefits for people with peripheral arterial disease
  • Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood vessels and circulation
  • Bioflavonoids enhance the absorption and utilisation of vitamin C, and also have their own roles in the maintenance and integrity of the blood vessels

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • Severe, recurrent or persistent Circulatory Problems may be indicative of underlying disease, and require medical investigation. Seek medical advice immediately if a varicose vein turns red or becomes severely painful or swollen
  • Regular exercise is important for healthy circulation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) on most days of the week, after seeking your doctor's approval
  • The blood vessels are very susceptible to Free Radical Damage, so eat plenty of nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables to ensure that you are consuming adequate vitamin C and E and a wide variety of other antioxidants
  • Lying with the legs elevated against a wall promotes blood flow to the heart, and may help to relieve the swelling and congestion of varicose veins
  • Ensure any Wounds on the legs and feet are tended to quickly and appropriately; if necessary ask your healthcare professional to arrange for the dressings to be changed for you
  • Herbalists recommend spicy foods such as ginger and cayenne pepper to promote peripheral circulation
  • Don't smoke - aside from other detrimental effects, it promotes Free Radical Damage and further exacerbates Circulatory Problems

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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