BlogCan Plant-Based Medicines Battle Vein Disease?
Foods you eat every day directly impact your circulation. A diet filled with fruit, veggies, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats will keep your heart in great shape and your arteries free of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up). Does diet affect your veins, too?
The answer is no. Venous disease doesn’t hinge on diet like the heart and arteries do. But studies show the following two food medicines can help your veins.
Diosmin is a flavonoid, a plant chemical found primarily in citrus fruit like lemons, oranges and key limes. It’s used to treat blood vessel disorders including varicose veins and poor circulation (venous stasis) in the legs. Studies show diosmin combined with hesperidin, another plant chemical found in citrus fruit, helped to heal leg ulcers caused by poor circulation.
Researchers believe diosmin works by lowering inflammation and restoring diseased veins back to health.
You may wonder if drinking orange juice every morning or enjoying key lime pie for dessert will provide enough diosmin to treat diseased veins. Sadly, no. You can’t eat or drink enough citrus fruit to equal the amount of diosmin in a supplement.
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) diosmin supplements and one prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called Vasculara.
Horse chestnut extract
Horse chestnut is a towering, deciduous tree that grows up to 75 feet tall. It produces white flowers with red or yellow accents. The tree also produces a poisonous fruit, unlike the edible chestnuts from the beech tree family.
Extract from the tree’s seeds and leaves is used to treat varicose veins, swollen veins and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Studies show aescine, the extract’s active component, improves poor circulation, leg pain, swelling, itching and water retention by reducing inflammation, increasing the tone of veins and lowering the release of CVI-related enzymes. One review of 17 studies even suggests horse chestnut extract may be as effective as compression stockings.
Horse chestnut extract is available over the counter. Since studies have not shown its long-term effects, we recommend you speak to your healthcare provider before taking it.
Obesity and vein disease
We know extra weight leads to a myriad of health problems from high blood pressure to diabetes. But did you know it can affect your vein health, too? Obesity raises your risk for varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Studies suggest too much weight interferes with the body’s ability to dissolve blood clots and promotes blood pooling in the legs. Talk to your healthcare provider about lifestyle changes you can make to avoid obesity and lose weight.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your veins is seek a consultation with a vein specialist. Only a healthcare provider who specializes in venous disease can accurately diagnose your symptoms and go over the best treatment options for your issues. Call to schedule an appointment with VEINatlanta today.
VEINatlanta’s board certified vein specialists in Atlanta have successfully treated more than 12,000 patients. We have 3 convenient locations around Atlanta to serve you.