Before we discuss the possible role of essential oils for varicose veins, we must first discuss what varicose veins are and what the medical profession says about how serious they are and what we can or should do about them in conventional medicine.
Appearance and Prevalence of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins appear as bulging, bluish cords just beneath the surface of the skin. Their primary appearance is in the the legs and the feet. When inflamed, varicose veins become tender to touch and can hinder circulation, sometimes causing swollen ankles and itchy skin. Varicose veins are a common condition that has a hereditary component. This condition does not affect the sexes equally – women are at least twice as likely as men to develop them. Overall, they affect just under a quarter of Americans.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Before we can understand the possibilities of essential oils for varicose veins, we need to look at what causes them. Veins are the vessels which carry oxygen depleted blood around your body and back to the heart (arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the body). To push blood back to the heart, veins rely mainly on surrounding muscles and a network of one-way valves. As blood flows through a vein, the cup-like valves alternately open to allow blood through, then close to prevent back-flow.
In varicose veins, the valves do not work properly — allowing blood to pool in the vein and making it difficult for the muscles to push the blood “uphill.” Instead of flowing from one valve to the next, the blood continues to pool in the vein, increasing venous pressure and the likelihood of congestion while causing the vein to bulge and twist. Because superficial veins have less muscle support than deep veins, they are more likely to become varicose.
Any condition that puts excessive pressure on the legs or abdomen can lead to varicose veins. The most common pressure inducers are pregnancy, obesity, and standing for long periods. Being sedentary also may contribute to varicosity, because muscles that are out of condition offer poor blood-pumping action.
The likelihood of developing varicose veins also increases as veins weaken as we get older . Genetics also plays a role, so if other members of your family have this problem, there is an elevated possibility that you will also develop the problem.
Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?
When blood pools in a vein, it can clot.This can cause phlebitis, a superficial clot that can be painful, but usually not life threatening. Varicose veins are also sometimes the first stage of a more serious condition – what starts as varicose veins may progress to swelling in the legs. Over time, the veins can also cause hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, usually by the ankle. Ultimately, in such cases, a patient can develop painful, sometimes debilitating venous leg ulcers, so we really should take varicose veins seriously!
Spider veins are less pronounced than varicose veins, mainly because they are much smaller. They are caused by the same mechanisms that cause varicose veins – faulty valves in the veins causing blood to back up and the veins to swell.
Spider veins can cause ulcers, which form when the vein doesn’t drain, depriving your skin of oxygen. These can be difficult to treat. They can also cause phlebitis (as noted above) and even thrombosis in some cases. One key difference with varicose veins is that spider veins often appear in the face as well as the legs.
Regular Treatments for Varicose and Spider Veins
My first statement here MUST be – ALWAYS TALK TO A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL – that’s the only way you’re safe and with guaranteed standards of medical care. Having said that, – Unless you are experiencing pain or other adverse symptoms, spider and varicose veins don’t usually require treatment. If you have symptoms or would like the veins removed for aesthetic reasons, treatment options are available. Here are a few options:-
- Support stockings: Compression stockings put pressure on your veins and relieve discomfort.
- Sclerotherapy: This common treatment is used for spider veins and varicose veins. In this procedure, a doctor injects a chemical into your veins, causing them to seal shut. With blood flow stopped, the vein becomes scar tissue and eventually fades.
- Laser treatments: This procedure uses a laser to send bursts of light through your skin and into your vein, making the vein fade.
- Surgery: Various surgical techniques are generally reserved for the largest and most unsightly veins.
How Can Essential Oils for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Help?
What we are looking for here are essential oils for varicose veins – oils that act as powerful astringents (An astringent substance is a chemical compound that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues), and which improve blood circulation. The oils below have been selected for these properties:-
Essential oils for varicose Veins: Helichrysum
This anti-inflammatory essential oil is great for not only calming down inflamed tissue, but for promoting blood circulation as well. Since varicose veins are an indication of poor circulation, this essential oil helps to alleviate the problem thus helping to reduce existing varicose veins and preventing the development of new ones.
Essential oils for varicose Veins: Chamomile
Chamomile promotes circulation and acts as an astringent, helping to contract blood vessels. German chamomile is the preferred variety because it contains azulene – a compound that gives the oil its deep blue color and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The oils causes perspiration and therefore helps to cool and detoxify the body.
Essential oils for varicose Veins: Cypress
Cypress oil is another powerful anti-inflammatory agent that assists with improving blood flow. The oil also has astringent properties which leads to the contraction of blood vessels, which stimulates the flow of blood and promotes the contraction of skin, muscles, hair follicles and gums.
Essential oils for varicose Veins: LemonGrass
Lemongrass is another excellent astringent and is also useful in fighting cellulite and fungal infections. Lemongrass essential oil encourages blood circulation, inhibiting blood from pooling and becoming stagnant. This healing essential oil also keeps veins healthy and strong by keeping the blood vessels dilated, providing smooth transportation of blood.
Essential oils for varicose Veins: Clary Sage
Clary Sage oil has astringent properties. It does not only strengthen your gums, but also strengthens and tones the skin, muscles and hair follicles, preventing hair loss and making you look and feel younger. It functions as an antioxidant in this way by tightening up the skin that might be sagging due to the activity of free radicals present in the body. And that’s why it helps with varicose veins!
Essential oils for varicose Veins: Geranium
I love the smell of this essential oil above almost all others! Apart from being a powerful astringent, It’s also a powerful cicatrisant, so it helps the scars and other spots on the skin to fade and vanish. It facilitates blood circulation just below the surface of skin and also helps promote a uniform distribution of melanin. This is a really great oil for the skin.
Essential oils for varicose Veins: Lemon
The health benefits of lemon oil can be attributed to its stimulating, calming, carminative, anti-infection, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, sleep inducing, and antifungal properties. Of course, it’s astringent properties are ideal for helping with varicose veins.
This truly beautiful oil (on which we’v written a full article is another powerful astringent, but like geranium oil, it’s also a civatrisant. When applied topically, it can makes the scars and after marks of boils, acne and pox on the skin fade at a much faster rate. This also includes the fading of stretch marks, surgery marks, and fat cracks associated with pregnancy and delivery of children.
How to Apply Essential Oils to Varicose Veins
One of the very best methods is to massage the oils into your legs, which will greatly improve blood-flow and allow the oils to penetrate your skin easily.
• Use a couple drops of an essential oil with a carrier oil and massage the affected area upward towards the torso.
• Do this twice a day, every day (it feels like a luxury, not a chore and so you’ll look forward to it. Get your husband or wife to help and it’ll be even better!).
Another method is to use a compress. To make a compress, soak a clean cloth or towel in either warm or cool water and wring out the excess water. Alternate warm and cool compresses to reduce the appearance and pain associated with varicose veins.
• Apply five drops of essential oil and apply the compress directly to the area affected by varicose veins.
• Elevate your legs for ten to fifteen minutes, using a bed or a stool
• Do this twice a day every day,
And that’s it! If you’ve enjoyed this article, please like and share.