Updated: Mar 2
The word ‘Varicose’ means dilated or swollen. When backflow of blood in the veins make them abnormally swollen, twisted and dilated, this condition is called Varicose veins.
Varicose veins are commonly seen in the veins of the legs.These veins are blood vessels which carry deoxygenated blood from the legs towards the heart. To prevent the backflow of the blood, they have structures called valves.
Due to causes like strenuous activities which involve continuous standing, weight bearing, long distance walking, these valves become weak which cause blood flow in reverse direction causing swelling and dilation in the veins.
Conditions like obesity,diabetes,pregnancy and hypertension can also lead to varicosity in veins.
Symptoms of Varicose veins
Pain and fatigue in the legs
Heaviness in the calf area
Discolouration and spider veins (in appearance) in the legs and feet
Burning sensation or itching
In severe conditions, it can lead to Varicose ulcers and eczema.
Treatment of Varicose veins with Ayurveda
Complete and permanent cure for Varicose veins is difficult to achieve. This is because the valves in the veins which have become weak and tortuous cannot be repaired. However, with Ayurveda treatment varicose veins can be effectively managed and further damage can be prevented.
Varicose veins are referred to as “Siraja Granthi” in Ayurveda, with “Siraja” referring to the veins and tubular structures in blood flow and “Granthi” implying a cyst-like swelling.
It is thought to be caused by intensified pitta dosha around blood vessels, as well as impaired kapha and vata dosha at the bulging spot, resulting in tridoshic imbalance and abnormal blood clots.
Sada (numbness), Ayasa (fatigue), Gratitha Sira (engorged veins), Krishnarakta Sira (blue discoloration in the veins and skin), and Toda (pain) are all common symptoms of varicose veins (continuous aching in the lower legs).
What are the treatment options for Varicose veins in ayurveda?
Ayurveda treatment for Varicose veins can be through Shamana chikitsa (with medicines) and Shodhana chikitsa with Panchakarma therapies in more severe cases.
Basti (Bowel cleansing therapy),Raktamokshana (Leech therapy) and Siravyadha (Bloodletting) therapies are found to be very effective Pachakarma therapies.
Internal medicines like Kaishora guggulu and triphala guggulu are widely used. Herbs like Eranda, Guduchi and Punarnva reduce inflammation and help blood flow.
Other herbs like Sariva, Manjista and Mandookaparni are also used for purification of the blood. Kashayas made of these herbs are highly beneficial in this condition.
Triphala churna can be taken to regulate the doshas which in turn will help ease the pressure off the affected veins.
Leech therapy for varicose veins
Leeches have long been used to treat varicose veins. When leeches are connected to the body, they are thought to bite the skin, however it is a harmless bite. A leech’s bite is said to be anesthetic, which explains why the bite is painless.
The leech remains attached to the skin for 20 to 40 minutes. The saliva of leeches is claimed to offer blood-thinning characteristics, which help avoid clotting while also thinning any existing clots. The ultimate consequence is improved blood and nutrient circulation throughout the body.
The pressure of blood accumulating on the lower area of the feet is lessened when the leeches suck the blood. Bleeding may continue for a few hours after the leech has been removed from the body, although this is not dangerous.
It is critical, however, that you remove the leeches after the specified amount of time has passed, especially if they do not fall off as they should when pleased. Because of the blood it has consumed, the leech has grown quite large at this stage.
The leeches are usually applied near the source of the problem to securely and rapidly relieve the strain. This procedure is used by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat severe varicose veins since it is safe. The veins in the legs return to normal after leech therapy, and they can comfortably convey deoxygenated blood. There are no negative side effects or complications associated with this treatment.
Leech therapy is a must-try natural treatment for varicose veins since it eliminates the problem before it becomes worse. It is a treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective and is utilized by numerous institutions and Ayurvedic practitioners.
Other lifestyle changes which help in managing and preventing Varicose Veins are
Moderate exercise specifically leg raises.
Wearing pressure stockings to help good venous blood circulation.
What are Varicose ulcers?
A varicose ulcer is a venous ulcer which is formed at the location where the vein is bulged due to the backward flow of the deoxygenated or the impure blood. This spot sometimes opens up as an open sore and becomes a wound or an ulcer. Patients with Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) may be more vulnerable to this condition.
What is the recommended Food advice for Varicose veins?
Foods to avoid:
Vitamin K aids normal blood flow and clotting functions. Vitamin K also protects blood vessels from swelling and fracturing by strengthening their walls and thus is extremely beneficial in varicose veins. Vitamin K deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of varicose veins, according to research. K1 and K2 are the two types of this vitamin. Broccoli, lettuce, and spinach are high in the K1, whereas meats and fermented foods and cheese are high in the K2.
Avocado, Beetroot, Asparagus, Rosemary , ginger, cherries, Buckwheat and Pineapples. Food items rich in Flavonoids called rutin and anthocyanins like Apples, Blueberries, Blackberries, Blackcurrant, Grapes, Capers, Black olive, Raspberries are highly recommended. Astringent and bitter tasting foods having healing effects on Varicose veins.
Bioflavonoids: Bioflavonoids give foods their brilliant colours and help to prevent varicose veins from developing. Choosing a diet rich in bioflavonoids can help with vein insufficiencies. The more colourful your food is, the better your health will be. Add dark leafy greens, as well as red and yellow foods, to your meals to improve vein health.
Raw Nuts & Seeds: Nuts are high in niacin and vitamin B3, which are important for blood flow and preventing circulation disorders, as well as antioxidants.
Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids and fibre include hemp, sunflower, flax, and chia. They are also high in anti-inflammatory proteins, which aid in the removal of cholesterol and the improvement of blood flow.
Fiber: Soluble fibre aids in constipation prevention. Constipation increases the pressure on your veins, which can lead to the development of varicose veins later on. Insoluble fibre also aids in cholesterol reduction. Oats, apples, flaxseed, carrots, berries, and barley are high in fibre, which can help to prevent varicose veins and keep veins healthy.
Vitamin C: Berries, citrus fruits, and peppers are high in vitamin C, which helps to build blood vessels and protect membranes from free radical damage. By boosting circulation, lowering inflammation, strengthening vein walls, and enhancing general health, vitamin C can help avoid varicose vein development symptoms.
Garlic is a natural blood thinner that has been utilised for ages in medicine. It has been found to be the finest food for maintaining a steady flow of blood via veins. It helps with digestion and nausea alleviation. It’s also regarded as an excellent way to improve blood circulation.