What are Varicose Veins?
The veins in the body are responsible for returning blood that has been distributed by the arteries back to the heart. The blood distributed to the arms and legs would get backed up and remain in the limbs were it not for a series of valves in the veins that prevent backflow. When these valves malfunction, though, the blood does in fact pool up, enlarging the veins and producing bulging, rope-like features on the skin. This condition is known as varicose veins, and they may be caused by pregnancy, obesity, menopause, aging, prolonged standing, straining that accompanies chronic constipation, and having a hereditary predisposition to the condition. When one has varicose veins, they not only must contend with their unappealing appearance, but they also risk experiencing pain, heavy sensations in the legs, ankle swelling, eczema, and even permanent discoloration of the skin. Varicose veins are more common in women than in men.
How can I treat Varicose Veins?
Traditional Chinese medicine considers varicose veins to be the result of weak muscles and connective tissues, which are governed by the spleen/stomach network. Treatment focuses on supporting healthy digestive function, and along with acupuncture, herbal therapy, and massage, can be addressed with a high-fiber diet of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Appropriate foods include buckwheat, millet, fish such as salmon, citrus fruits (with the rind), apricots, blueberries, cherries, onions, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Other remedies include drinking a tea of yarrow, horse chestnut, ginger, and prickly ash bark three times a day for a month, as well as topically applying witch hazel cream twice daily. Positioning the legs above the head can drain blood in swollen veins; try lying on the floor with the legs resting on a chair or against a wall for 5 minutes, twice a day.
What should I avoid in my lifestyle for Varicose Veins?
Things to avoid when treating varicose veins include overeating, foods with preservatives, red meats, simple carbohydrates and refined sugars, excessive amounts of fat, cheeses, ice cream, salt, alcohol, smoking, and prolonged standing or straining.
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