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Strenghten your vein and improve your circulation

A leg to stand on

Good news for those who hate support hose: If you want to be poolside next summer sans your varicose veins, there are now several natural treatments to try.

In addition to lifestyle changes such as weight loss and exercise, these natural herbal medicines can offer relief by strengthening your veins and improving your circulation.

  • Horse chestnut extract. This is the most effective herb for treating varicose veins because it contains aescin, a compound that tones veins, reduces their permeability, and reduces swelling. People with bleeding disorders, or those taking aspirin, coumadin, or other blood thinners, should not use horse chestnut. Also, pregnant or nursing mothers should also avoid this supplement.
  • Grape seed extract. Grape seeds contain a natural antioxidant called proanthocyanidins that strengthens connective tissue. High concentrations of proanthocyanidins can also be found in pine bark extract.
  • Butcher’s broom. Butcher’s broom can prevent inflammation and improve circulation, but should not be used by those using alpha blockers or by anyone taking MAO inhibitiors.

Since there are certain restrictions with each one, these supplements are obviously not for everyone, but for those who can use them they are certainly a better alternative to the more traditional treatment of a surgeon’s scalpel. Consult a physician knowledgeable about natural treatments to find out if you can safely try these herbs.



Q: I have just been diagnosed with early stage cataracts, and while surgery has not been recommended for me yet, I don’t want to let it get to that point if I can help it. Are there natural treatments that might stop my cataracts’ progression?

JVW: There are two nutrients that can be especially useful to you in your quest to delay or possibly avoid surgery.

N-acetyl-carnosine eyedrops has been shown in clinical studies to stop the progression of cataracts, and in many cases reverse them at least partially. The drops are sold under the brand name Can-C eyedrops.

Hachimi-ji-ogan tablets, a combination of Chinese botanicals, has been used for centuries in cataract treatment. A study of people with early cataracts in Japan, showed use of Hachimi-ji-ogan lessened the cataracts in 60 percent of participants. It is sold as a formula called Clinical Nutrients for the Eyes.

You should also be aware of a product that I developed along with Dr. Alan Gaby in 1993 and recently updated. Ocudyne 2005 contains several sight-saving nutrients, including lutein, zeaxanthin, selenium, riboflavin (vitamin B12), ginkgo biloba, zinc, taurine, bilberry, quercitin. It can go a long way in helping your overall eye health.

All are available through natural food stores, compounding pharmacies, or the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary.


What are…varicose veins?

Varicose veins form when valves along the veins weaken and blood begins to pool, causing the veins to enlarge. Although this can happen along any vein in the body, it mostly affects the leg veins, since they work against gravity, carrying blood back to the heart. Varicose veins are usually bluish purple and appear raised or gnarled.

More than 60 percent of people in the United States have varicose veins and it is mostly women over age 40 that develop them. Pregnancy, hormonal changes during menopause, weight, prolonged sitting or standing, chronic constipation, age, and heredity all play a role in the formation of varicose veins.

Yours in good health,
Amanda Ross
Editorial Director
Nutrition & Healing