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Varicose veins refer to the condition in which the veins of the legs become varicosed, i.e. they appear swollen and bulging and can be made out from the outside. Varicose veins may be dark in color or may retain their original color. They are always painful. In case of prolonged varicose veins, there could be skin peeling and skin ulcers in certain affected parts of the legs.
Varicose veins are caused due to excessive pressure caused on the legs or the abdomen. These are brought on by advancing age, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes and a host of other factors. Some deficiencies in the diet may cause the loss of elasticity of the veins, which may make them varicose. Also, standing for a long time, engaging in physical activity that puts more strain on the legs, wearing constrictive clothing and total lack of exercise can make the veins varicose.
This condition is more or less a vata problem. People with a predominance of vata dosha seem to suffer more from this problem.
(1) Useful Herbs for Varicose Veins
1. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
The indigenous Indian herb, brahmi, is perhaps the best Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins. It provides the necessary nutrients required for the proper toning of the veins and makes them less tortuous. Brahmi is taken in conjunction with some mineral supplement like Jasad bhasma.
2. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Among its many advantageous properties, garlic also has effects in the treatment of varicose veins. Garlic can break down the protein content in the body and distribute it evenly. This increases the protein supply to the lower limb region. Hence, the condition of varicose veins is avoided.
3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Like garlic, ginger too breaks down and distributes the protein in the body.
4. Onion (Allium cepa)
Onion helps in the proper assimilation and distribution of protein in the human body. It gives inner strength. Chomping on one onion everyday can help to solve the problem of varicose veins permanently.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Varicose Veins
If the diet of the person is deficient in certain nutrients, then it may cause the skin to lose its elasticity. This would lead to the condition of varicose veins. For this reason, people must take good dietary care so as to provide the body with the essential nutrients. The following are some points to remember: –
– Include whole food grains in the diet, instead of synthetically polished ones. Whole grain wheat and millet are good.
– Fresh fruits are very much needed, since vitamin C deficiency is a prime cause of varicose veins. Amalaki and other citrus fruits must be had in good amount.
– Have a protein-rich diet, which is necessary for building up the tissues. You must have one egg daily, a glassful of milk, meat, legumes and other protein-rich food. But avoid red meat.
– Protein tends to accumulate in fixed pockets in the body. Hence to distribute this protein properly, you must consume garlic, onion, ginger and pineapple.
– Fish must be included in the daily diet.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Varicose Veins
Ayurveda prescribes the Brahmi as the drug of choice for the treatment of varicose veins. Brahmi is used for four continuous weeks to get permanent benefits. It is taken in doses of 10 to 20 milliliters twice a day. Along with brahmi, the Jasad bhasma is also prescribed. This bhasma has three benefits – (i) it is a rich source of the mineral zinc, (ii) it helps in healing and blood clotting through the formation of collagen and (ii) it helps in the concentration of vitamin E in the blood. Other popularly prescribed medicines are Chandraprabha vati, Nagarjunabhra rasa and Punarnavadi guggulu, among others.
There are some Ayurvedic oils available for local application to seek temporary relief. These are Prasarini taila and Chandanabala taila. But care must be taken never to massage any oil directly on the varicose veins, as it would increase pressure on them.
Yogic exercises can treat varicose veins without any medication. The best exercises for this condition are Halasana, Pawanmuktasana and the Sarvangasana. Simple exercises like walking, swimming, cycling and stretching the legs while sitting on a chair also help.
(4) Home Remedies for Varicose Veins
1. Have a mixture of carrot and spinach juice daily. This will solve the vitamin deficiencies in the leg.
2. Apply a mudpack on the leg in the night and wash it off in the morning.
3. Wearing stockings at night helps, but do not wear tight jeans in the daytime.
4. Have an alternating hot and cold hipbath daily.
5. Apply an oil containing vitamin E as its major component onto the legs. But take care not to rub it too deeply into the legs.
6. Have a wholesome diet rich in proteins and vitamin C.
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