Veiny legs? You’re not alone in wondering how to treat varicose veins. More than 50 percent of women over 50 suffer from varicose and spider veins, the unsightly and often painful blue lines that appear on legs and feet and tend to worsen as we get older.
Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to prevent—and even reverse—your varicose and spider veins right at home. Don't hide your legs this summer; instead, try these natural cures for varicose veins right at home.
Pop pine bark extract. Pycogenol (a.k.a. pine bark extract) contains high levels of plant compounds that thwart capillary leakage and control inflammation, reducing varicose veins and the aching, tightness, tiredness, swelling and discoloration that often accompany them, shows a New York University study. With your doctor’s okay, take a daily 50 mg. dose (such as Nature’s Way Pycnogenol, $16, Amazon.com).
Take a one-minute walk. Mayo Clinic researchers say even super-short strolls reduce pressure on the legs and increase circulation, keys to keeping blood from pooling and breaking small veins in the lower leg and ankles! Bonus: Walk more and you’ll also reduce your risk of painful peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when fatty deposits clog arteries in your legs.
Fill your salt shaker with garlic powder! “Excess sodium can make swelling in your legs worse—and swelling can cause tiny breaks in the walls of the capillaries, creating spider veins,” explains Valencia Thomas, M.D., a dermatologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The fix: Flavor your food instead with garlic powder, which is research-proven to reduce inflammation that contributes to leg swelling and pain.
Massage your muscles. Rubbing your legs in upward strokes with your hands or a dry brush improves blood flow for up to 72 hours, a recent University of Illinois study shows. And the better your circulation, the less likely you are to have spider and varicose veins.
Try a $10 fix. If you suffer from achy, veiny legs, standing for long periods can worsen vein problems and increase sore symptoms. The fix: Inexpensive knee-length compression stockings, says Dr. Thomas. The stockings’ elastic fibers gently push blood up from the ankles and redistributes it more evenly up the leg, preventing veins from swelling, aching and breaking. One option: Nurse Mates Compression Stockings (from $10 on Amazon.com).