The twisted and enlarged veins are defined as varicose veins. The veins that are most commonly affected are those in the legs but any superficial vein may also become varicosed. The veins of legs are the most affected ones because on standing and walking upright, there is an increase in the pressure of the lower body.
Due to varicose veins, there are cramps in the legs due to improper blood circulation. The ulcerated varicose lesions cause more pain to the sufferers. So immediate attention should be paid in the beginning itself to prevent future complications.
Some people think that varicose veins and spider veins are common but there is a mild variation.
What are the symptoms of Varicose Veins?
The signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Veins become blue and dark purple in colour.
- Veins appear twisting and bulging, which look like cords in legs.
- An achy or heavy feeling in the legs.
- Worsened pain after standing for a long period of time.
- Itching around veins.
- Burning sensation, throbbing, swelling and muscle cramping in the lower legs.
- Skin discolouration around a varicose vein.
What are the causes of Varicose Veins?
Weak or damaged valves in the heart can cause varicose veins. The role of arteries in the body is to carry blood from the heart to the rest of the tissues and the role of veins is to return blood from rest of the body to the heart to recirculate the blood. To return blood to the heart, the veins in the legs work against gravity.
The muscle contractions in the lower legs act as pumps and the role of elastic veins is to help blood to return to the heart.
Varicose Veins according to Ayurveda:
In Ayurveda classics, varicose veins can be co-related with the signs and symptoms explained for Siragranthi (obstructive circulation). Due to Vataprokopa nidana (causative factors that increase Vata dosha) such as excessive physical exertion, straining etc., the vitiated vata enters the siras (veins) causing sankocha (constriction), sampeedana (squeezing) and vishoshana (act of drying up). All these factors produce round and protruded granthi (cyst) in the siras (veins), manifesting the condition of siragranthi (varicose veins).
Excess intake of foods that occlude channels such as yogurt, deep fried foods, heavy non-vegetarian foods, junk foods, aerated drinks etc., excess work, long walk, weight lifting exercises etc. lead to the development of varicose veins.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Varicose Veins:
The internal medications of varicose veins are primarily aimed at pacifying the Pitta dosha and medicines having raktshodhak (blood purifying) property. At the same time, the accumulation of rakta (blood) and vitiation of Vata dosha in the siras (veins) leads to dilation of veins. Patients feel great relief in the local shotha (swelling) and local congestion by sirvyadham (venesection) when done repeatedly. Vatanulomaka aushadhas (those which promote regular movement of Vata) are also prescribed.
The line of treatment of gout arthritis is applicable here also.
Herbs that are useful for varicose veins are:
- Eranda (Castor roots): Castor roots are highly effective in relieving pain and inflammation.
- Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia): This herb is useful in high Pitta conditions and vitiated blood due to high Pitta.
- Sariva (Hemidesmus indica): Sariva is also useful in the treatment of high Pitta conditions.
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia): This herb is popularly known as ‘Amrita’ or elixir of life. It helps in relieving infection and inflammation.
Some of the Home Remedies for Varicose Veins are:
- Karanja (Pongamia pinnata): Take 10 ml of fresh juice of karanja leaves, 10 ml castor oil, 5 ml honey and mix well. This mixture should be taken on an empty stomach for 21 days. This remedy is effective in the partial correction of the blood circulation in the varicosed area.
- For Local Application: Take fine powder of the herbs Vacha (Acorus calamus), Turmeric and Tulsi leaves (Ocimum sanctum) in equal quantity and mix well. To this mixture, add aloe vera juice and make a fine paste. This is applied on the affected area and the paste is retained for 1-2 hours. Apply this paste for 15-20 days regularly as it relieves the aching pain of varicose vein.
- Massage: In varicose veins, vata dosha is impaired. Vata dosha plays a key role in blood flow. An Ayurvedic massage focuses on stimulating pressure points to improve the body’s internal balance. So, massaging with ayurvedic oils is a great remedy for varicose veins.
Diet and Lifestyle:
Diet: An anti-inflammatory diet heals and prevents varicose veins.
- Ginger and garlic are the two best anti-inflammatory foods. They are also a rich source of anti-oxidants, anti-cancer elements and boost the immune system as well. So, include ginger and garlic in the diet.
- High -sodium diet damages the arteries so it should be avoided.
- Include leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, almonds, lentils, flaxseeds, apples, grapes etc.
- Include citrus fruits such as amla in the diet as it helps in revitalizing the fatigued and varicosed vein.
- Spicy, tea/coffee, non-vegetarian food should be strictly avoided.
- Include fresh fruits, whole grains such as millets, oats etc. and proteins in the diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If your job makes to stand for long hours, make sure to sit for a while, in between.
- While sleeping, you can keep pillow beneath the feet as it helps in keeping the feet elevated and ensures that there is proper blood flow in the legs.
- Moderate exercise not only helps in making the muscles strong but it also keeps the blood vessels in good shape.
- Wearing varicose vein socks is also a good way of treating varicose veins of feet and legs.
Yoga: Yoga naturally manages varicose veins symptoms as some yoga poses that involve stretching helps in relieving swelling and soreness in legs and improve blood circulation as well.
Some of the best Yoga poses for varicose vein treatment include:
- Standing forward pose
- Fish pose
- Mountain pose
- Wind relieving pose
Thus, there are variety of options available in Ayurveda for holistic cure. Ayurveda treats varicose veins by eliminating the root cause and therefore prevents its recurrence.
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