Varicose Veins
323 Case Studies
42 Member Stories
23 Research

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins develop due to weakened valves in the veins of the legs. Varicosity describes a condition in which the veins of the legs become swollen and bulging beneath the surface of the skin. Varicose veins may be dark in color or may maintain their original color. The color ranges from a mild purplish-red to an almost navy blue. They're nearly always painful. In the event of prolonged varicose veins, they could come with skin peeling, and skin ulcers may be seen to grow.

Varicose veins are caused as a result of excess pressure brought to bear on the thighs or the abdomen. These are caused by advancing age, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes, and many other variables, which might include genetic or epigenetic factors as varicose veins often run in families. Standing for extended periods raises pressure on leg veins and encourage varicose veins.

Some diet deficiencies can cause the loss of elasticity of the veins, which might make them varicose. Reputation for prolonged periods, engaging in physical activity that puts more strain on the legs, wearing constrictive clothing, and complete lack of exercise can give rise to varicosis. Symptoms include veins that appear dark blue or purple, swollen, and twisted beneath the skin. Some people don't have any symptoms. Mild symptoms may include heaviness, burning, aching, fatigue, or pain in the thighs. Symptoms may worsen after extended periods of immobility and include swelling of the knees and feet and itching straight over the vein. More severe symptoms include leg swelling, dry, thinned skin, inflammation,  calf pain, and skin changes, such as color changes, scaling and open ulcerous sores, or bleeding after a minor injury.

See: Bulging Hand Veins Causes and Treatment

Ayurvedic view of varicose veins

From an Ayurvedic perspective, varicosis is a condition betokening a vitiation of Vata dosha from the rasa and rakta dhatus and extending in their upadhatus. Consequently, treatment efforts are directed toward pacifying Vata dosha and might include dietary, medicinal, yogic, and other steps. Varicose veins are primarily a Vata disorder, brought on by an imbalance in Vyana Vata, which generates increased pressure, which affects the valves and elasticity of their veins.

Vata is characteristically dry, moving, and demanding. It is the mind-body operator (dosha) that governs movement in the body, for example, the motion of the blood through the veins and arteries.

Vyana Vata, among the sub doshas of Vata, is responsible for hauling oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body's cells through the blood vessels. Additionally, it modulates the flow of oxygen-poor blood in the body's cells back into the heart through the veins. To push blood back into the heart, surrounding muscles and one-way valves come into play. The valves alternately open to permit blood through, as blood flows through a vein and then close to prevent the blood from flowing backward.

When Vyana Vata is out of balance, excessive dryness contributes to hardening and loss of elasticity of these valves and the veins. At the same time, a rise in blood pressure dilates the vein, and the valves no longer seal properly, which makes it difficult for the muscles to push the blood back to the heart. Rather than flow from one valve to another, blood collects in the legs' superficial veins, which have less muscle support than the deep veins. The result is varicose veins just beneath the surface of the skin.

As a secondary variable, when the blood has collected in the veins, an imbalance in Ranjaka Pitta may result in ulcers in the varicose veins. Pitta dosha is sharp and hot by nature and modulates metabolic and hormonal function. Among the sub doshas of Pitta, known as Ranjaka Pitta, maintains the purity of the blood. Ranjaka Pitta exists in the liver and the spleen and is responsible for blood composition and the supply of nutrients to cells and tissues through the blood. If Ranjaka Pitta is out of equilibrium, the blood can become impure or is mixed with digestive toxins to be slow and thick, leading to ulcers in varicose veins. Please consult your doctor if you become aware of the look of ulcers.

Varicose veins are primarily caused by poor circulation as regulated by Vyana Vata. Its secondary complications such as ulcers are due to impurities in the bloodstream (as regulated by Ranjaka Pitta).

Any illness that puts excessive pressure on the thighs or abdomen can lead to varicose veins. Standing for long intervals, hormonal alterations during pregnancy and menopause, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, heavy lifting, chronic constipation, tumors, and excessive physical activity can place extra pressure on the thighs. Dietary deficiencies or loss of skin elasticity may also add to the problem.

See: Ayurveda Vata Diet - Vata Pacifying Diet

Vyana Vata and Ranjaka Pitta imbalance

Why do Vyana Vata and Ranjaka Pitta go out of balance?

In Ayurveda, most disturbances begin with faulty digestion. Many factors, such as lifestyle, psychological stress, and eating the wrong foods for your body type or season, can cause the doshas to go out of equilibrium. Whenever the doshas are out of balance, they soon disturb digestion, with the result that food can't be properly digested. The undigested food turns to the poisonous sticky substance called ama. Ama is the main cause of many ailments.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment Of Indigestion

Varicose veins treatment in Ayurveda

From an Ayurvedic perspective, varicose veins occur due to a vitiation of Vata dosha from the rasa and rakta dhatus and extending in their upadhatus. Treatment efforts are directed toward pacifying Vata dosha and might include dietary, medicinal, yogic, and other steps.

- Ayurvedic Diet: In general and concerning the person's constitution, a Vata-pacifying diet program is usually implemented. Such a diet should consist of whole food grains rather than processed or shiny ones. Whole grains should be strongly emphasized, with wheat and millet viewed as especially beneficial. Fresh fruits are needed since vitamin C deficiency is a prime contributing factor to the severity of varicose veins. Therefore, Amalaki and other citrus fruits high in this vitamin should be consumed in sufficient quantities. The diet needs to be protein-rich and should incorporate an egg each day along with a glassful of milk, together with legumes and other protein-rich foods (although red meat should be avoided). Garlic, onion, lemon, and ginger needs to be consumed every day to digest high protein diet (but other pungent tasting foods and condiments should be avoided). For non-vegetarians, fish ought to be included in the daily diet. A generous quantity of water should be consumed every day.

- Herbal medication: Useful Ayurvedic herbs include Amalaki, Arjuna, Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Guduchi, Guggul, and Shatavari - and most notably, even though it not of Ayurvedic provenance, HCSE (Horse Chestnut Seed Extract) taken orally and a topical application.

- Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri): The native Indian herb, Brahmi, might be the most effective Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins. It supplies the necessary nutrients needed for the appropriate toning of the veins and makes them less tortuous. Ayurveda prescribes the Brahmi as the medication of choice for treating varicose veins. Brahmi is employed for four continuous weeks to acquire permanent benefits. Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) is taken together with some mineral supplements such as Jasad bhasma. This bhasma has three benefits -- 

- it is a rich source of the mineral zinc, 

- it assists in healing and blood flow through the creation of collagen 

- it helps in the concentration of vitamin E in the blood. Other popularly prescribed medications taken with Brahmi are Chandraprabha Vati, Nagarjunabhra rasa, and Punarnavadi Guggulu, amongst others.

- Garlic: One of its many valuable properties, garlic also has effects in treating varicose veins. Garlic can break down the protein material in the human body and disperse it evenly. This raises the protein source to the lower thoracic area. (Dosage: 6 to 15 g. daily)

- Ginger: Much like garlic, ginger also breaks down and distributes the protein within the body. 

Onion (Allium cepa): Onion will help in the proper assimilation and distribution of protein in the human body. It provides inner strength. Munching on a single onion every day can help solve the problem of varicose veins.

- There are Ayurvedic oils available for local application to find temporary relief. These are Prasarini taila and Chandanabala taila. Mahanarayan oil (whose primary plant component is Shatavari) is help to be especially useful, as are both Brahmi oil and Carrot Seed essential oil (usually mixed with some carrier oil). Sahacharadi oil is also believed to be of great benefit. Great care must be taken to not massage any oil right on the varicose veins, as it would increase pressure on them. A simple application is sufficient, with no pressure being exerted. For external treatment, apply oils very gently over the affected veins. Massage the affected leg avoiding the vein - contrary to the direction of the hair.

- Horse Chestnut Seed extract (HCSE, Aesculus hippocastanum): Horse chestnut extract is widespread in Europe in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and varicose veins. It's been repeatedly proven to reduce leg pain and improve circulatory function in people with this issue. It's as powerful as support stockings are in removing fluid in the lower legs and is a synergistic cardiovascular aid nutritional supplement that enhances your circulatory structure and function (Dosage is standardized to 50-100 mg twice per day )

- Yoga asanas & physical exercise: Useful postures include Virasana (hero pose), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand, should be practiced for 10 minutes per day if possible), Shavasana (corpse pose), Halasana (plow pose), Kapotsana (pigeon pose - alternate lying posture), Bhujangasana; (cobra pose), and Pawanmuktasana (wind-relieving pose).

One especially beneficial maneuver is to get the person to elevate their legs while lying on their back. This should be performed four or more times per day for 20 minutes. Exercise the toes by extending and bending (forward and backward).

- Lifestyle changes: Steps taken in a person's lifestyle to pacify Vata dosha will assist the sufferer in beating varicosis. The occasional Vata dosha is brought into balance by maintaining a regular schedule. Plan your meals at the same time daily, as then your digestive system will be more efficient and powerful. To enhance circulation in most seasons, do a daily ayurvedic oil massage that comes in various formulations for men and women. These blends of jojoba and sesame oil with 15 powerful herbs assist the skin, veins, and muscles to recover their elasticity. A daily oil massage is also an important means to equilibrium Vyana Vata, purify toxins, and enhance digestion.

Simple exercises such as walking, biking, swimming, and extending the legs while sitting on a seat also help. Avoid too vigorous exercise and, after any exercise, requires a short period of relaxation. Avoid bathing in overly-cold water.

Daily exercise is vital for improving circulation and reducing varicose veins. Inverted yoga poses can be particularly valuable in restoring the normal flow of blood from the legs to the center. Elevate your legs when sitting for extended periods, and take regular breaks to restore flow. Do not sit or stand for extended amounts of time. If you have to stand for quite a while, shift your weight from one leg to another every few minutes. If you have to sit for long intervals, stand up and move around or take a brief walk every 30 minutes. Don't cross your legs when sitting to prevent blood from pooling. Avoid tight clothing that tightens your groin, waist, or legs.

See: Brahmi Health Benefits & Side Effects

Summary

Ayurveda views varicose veins as a Pitta dosha imbalance. The Ayurvedic treatment takes a holistic approach with digestion, herbals, detox, diet, yoga, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Rejuvenation herbal food supplements help improve circulation and help prevent the build-up of impurities in the veins. These formulations help revitalize the organs and tissues, the deterioration of which causes premature aging, and can be a component in varicose veins. Herbal food supplements that help with inflammation and ulcers can be effective.

See: Ayurvedic Diet

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