Say “neigh” to varicose veins
Q: I just turned 30, and I noticed I’m getting varicose veins. Are they dangerous? Should I be worried?
Dr. Wright: Varicose veins may be painful sometimes, but are generally harmless. But you may be able to slow down their progression considerably.
Horse chestnut is an herbal remedy that has proven very useful for relieving the symptoms and slowing the progression of varicose veins. According to Medline Plus (a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine): “Horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE) is widely used in Europe for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a syndrome that may include leg swelling, varicose veins, leg pain, itching, and skin ulcers. Although HCSE is traditionally recommended for a variety of medical conditions, CVI is the only condition for which there is strong supportive scientific evidence.” You can find horse chestnut seed extract at your local natural food store or compounding pharmacy.
Although some worry that varicose veins may lead to abnormal clotting–sometimes called “deep vein thrombosis”–this complication is quite unusual except with trauma or long periods of inactivity, such as long flights on airlines. Fortunately, guarding against this is simple, and has many, many other health benefits. Use one tablespoonful of cod liver oil or other fish oil daily. This reduces any tendency you may have towards abnormal clotting (as well as reducing your over-all risk of cardiovascular disease in general). Fish oil should always be accompanied by the “mixed tocopherol” form of vitamin E.