Varicose veins, which affect some 12 million people in America, can lead to health complications and often present aesthetic challenges. However, many health practitioners have suggested natural remedies have beneficial effects and may help avoid surgery.
Natural therapies work by strengthening veins thereby reducing leakage from vessel walls.
In particular, moderate muscle-toning exercise or yoga help veins preserve their natural shape, while the cholesterol-lowering effects of exercise may act to boost vein health from within.
Herbal supplements, such as horse chestnut extract are also commonly used to treat varicose veins.
Studies have shown the active component in horse chestnut called aescin appears to block the release of enzymes that damage capillary walls, according to the alternative health section of About.com, an informational website.
Other natural remedies include grape seed and pine bark extracts which contain antioxidant complexes that appear to strengthen the connective tissue of blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
Meanwhile, Holistic Online, a natural health website, recommends eating fresh fruits, whole grains especially buckwheat and millet, as well as garlic, onions, ginger, cayenne pepper and fish.
Those suffering from varicose veins are also well advised to avoid red meat, fats and refined carbohydrates as well as sugar, salt, alcohol, cheeses and ice cream.
Finally, oriental medicine techniques such as acupuncture and acupressure can help prevent varicose veins form getting worse, while reflexology and massage may alleviate discomfort associated with the condition.