Many people believe that tomatoes can act as a topical remedy for varicose veins — but this popular myth is supported by no clinical evidence. 

Varicose veins affect around 20% of Americans, with especially high rates among people who are older, overweight, or pregnant. Although varicose veins are common, there are many misconceptions about how to treat them.

A quick internet search can yield a wide range of unfounded cures and ineffective elixirs. Let’s discuss one of the most common treatment myths tomatoesand why they can’t actually cure varicose veins. 

How did the tomato myth get started?

People who suffer from varicose veins are prone to feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their veins, which can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety. Additionally, varicose veins can cause a great deal of discomfort, since they have a tendency to ache and itch. With so many unpleasant symptoms, it’s no wonder why people with varicose veins are looking for a fast home remedy for their condition. 

Unfortunately, tomatoes are not the answer. Despite the lack of clinical evidence, many people with varicose veins believe that the topical application of tomatoes can reverse the growth of varicose veins. The tomato myth has led people to tape sliced tomatoes to their arms and legs, sometimes for hours, in an attempt to shrink their varicose veins. 

The exact origins of the tomato myth are murky, but the legend is based in some semblance of logic. Flavonoids, an organic compound found in tomatoes, can help to strengthen the walls of blood vessels. Additionally, tomatoes’ natural acids can slightly improve blood flow. However, neither of these properties are powerful enough to reverse the growth of varicose veins. 

People who are convinced that topical tomatoes improve varicose veins might experience momentary relief from itching and aching due to the cold, damp pressure of the tomato slices. But this effect isn’t specifically because of tomatoes. In fact, applying a cold washcloth to varicose veins could lead to the same brief relief with no tomatoes harmed in the process. 

Treating varicose veins the right way

There are plenty of pseudoscientific “cures” for varicose veins out there from topical tomato taping, to lathering your skin with vinegars and oils. But if you’re looking for a way to improve vein health, a miracle tomato isn’t the answer. Instead, you can work to minimize the conditions that lead to varicose veins. Losing excess weight, lowering high blood pressure, and exercising regularly can all contribute to improved blood flow and healthier veins. Additionally, eating a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables can help you to strengthen veins and lower the risk of obesity. 

While a healthy lifestyle is helpful, it’s never 100% effective in preventing varicose veins. If you have a genetic predisposition to varicose veins, or if you already have significant varicose vein growth, you may need clinical treatment. Minor surgeries, such as sclerotherapy, micro-phlebectomy, and endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) can get rid of varicose veins effectively, quickly, and with almost no pain.  

With the right treatment, living with varicose veins is optional. For an effective way to get rid of varicose veins once and for all, visit us at VEINatlanta. With vein specialists located across the Atlanta Metro, VEINatlanta offers clinical vein treatments that actually work. For a free virtual consultation, contact us today.