After the arteries and capillaries deliver nutrients to the cells, the veins return the blood to the heart and lungs for “recharging.” Veins are larger than arteries, and can easily suffer from inflammatory damage, especially in cases of poor circulation or blood stagnation. Varicose or abnormally dilated tortuous veins are usually found in the legs, resulting from the high venous pressure and relatively poor tissue support for the superficial veins.
Ayurvedic sage Dr. Mana points out that the elasticity of the vein depends on a normal expansion-contraction cycle controlled by the nerves (Bajracharya, 1988). If there is a constant dilation from pressure or neurological incompetence, the failure to expand and contract causes the tissue to dry out and lose elasticity. The resulting lack of motion allows the blood to stagnate. Histological studies show that chronic venous insufficiency and varicose vein formation are characterized by a loss of contractile strength in the tissues, and by an increase in secretion and collagen deposits (Pappas, 1998). Consequently, the treatment goals for venous insufficiency are threefold:
• To restore the elasticity and tone of the venous walls.
• To remove blood congestion and exudate sludge.
• To restore neurological competence.
To treat simple spider veins, I use a tincture of stoneroot, butcher’s broom rhizome (Ruscus aculeatus), horse chestnut seed (Aesculus hippocastanus), and gotu kola. These herbs seem to directly heal and restore elasticity to the venous walls and remove inflammation (Murray 1991). Apply the tincture directly to the affected area twice per day, then apply any good anti-inflammatory cream over this, and the veins will usually begin to gradually disappear over several months, if not too advanced. The same compound can be taken internally. I recommend about 35-45 drops three times per day. Diosmin, derived from Sweet Orange, can also be used internally. To remove blood congestion, I recommend the moving blood herbs mentioned in our earlier discussion about moving the blood. To strengthen neurological force, I usually add a small amount astragalus root to these formulas.
Often varicose veins happen as a result of being pregnant (creating downward pressure on the veins), or just standing for a long time every day at your job. In these cases, in addition to the remedies just mentioned, using support hose for about one hour after a long day at work, to constrict the veins, helps keep them healthy.