Varicose Vein Natural Remedies : The Latest Evidence Based Studies

Varicose Vein Natural Remedies : The Latest Evidence Based Studies

The Real Deal About Varicose Vein Natural Remedies

This article is the latest, scientific review of the peer-reviewed medical evidence of home remedies for varicose veins. It is based purely on scientific data including rigorous Cochrane reviews.

Cochrane reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in health care and recommended health policies. They are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Cochrane reviews are included in this analysis.

This is the most up-to-date evidence based medical information comparing varicose vein supplements, natural treatments and home remedies. These treatments are often controversial because of the lack of rigorous data to support their recommendation.

In this article, no one will be trying to sell you a product, a pill, or pushing advice that hasn’t been extensively studied and reviewed by nationallty recognized physician venous experts. Our credentials in treating varicose veins must also be considered for you to discover the truth.

The following article will also discuss exactly what varicose veins are. We will discuss the noninvasive  options for treatment of varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Many people do not know the difference between varicose and spider veins.

Why Do We Get Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the large, ropey and often tortuous veins that are usually located in your legs. Spider veins are the tiny visible veins or your skin that appear as if you drew them with a pen. Spider veins are considered cosmetic unless they bleed.

Varicose veins are genetic in origin. Your heredity determines whether you will develop varicose veins. If one parent has varicose veins, your chance of developing them is nearly 50%. If both of your parents have varicose veins, then your chance of getting them is 90%.

Varicose Vein Natural Treatment or Home Remedies

Home remedies for varicose veins include a number of unproven nostrums. People want to know if a pill, poultice, massage, or supplement can help with their venous problem. In other words, everyone wants to know if there is anything that they can do to prevent or slow down their genetic predisposition for developing more abnormal veins in the future.

Many people often try self- help home remedies without much success.  However, scientific evidence is growing. There is more evidence supporting the use of flavonoids in treating chronic venous disease. There is ongoing research into many possible health benefits including vein treatment.

Scientific Reviews Showing Varicose Vein Flavonoid Treatments Really Work

Peter Gloviczki MD, professor of vascular surgery at the Mayo Clinic, is a highly respected authority in the field of treating venous disease. He is world renown and highly regarded for his work in the field of venous disease and research.

In May of 2015, Dr. Gloviczki gave a talk at the International Vein Conference in Miami where the scientific basis and evidence of treating venous disease is stressed. Evidence based medicine is important to distinguish whether treatments really work or not.

In most vascular surgeon’s opinion, Dr. Gloviczki is the number one expert in venous disease in the world. He has the credentials and respect of the medical world’s varicose vein authorities. He has extremely impressive credentials in clinical practice, vascular societies, and professional vascular journals. I have included a resume of some of his achievements to support the credibility of the recommendations of this article.

Peter Gloviczki, MD  was elected the 2012-2013 President of the Society for Vascular Surgery.  Dr. Gloviczki is the Chair Emeritus of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Gloviczki is the past president of the American Venous Forum, International Union of Angiology, Vascular Disease Foundation,and the Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society.

Dr. Gloviczki has been the Editor-in-Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Perspectives in Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. He served as the Associate Editor of International Angiology and Angiology. He has also co-edited five books. He is also the editor of three editions of the Handbook of Venous Disorders, and the Atlas of Endoscopic Perforator Vein Surgery.

In May 2011, he authored in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, the definitive article which is widely accepted as the consensus article on the treatment of venous disease.  It has been cited over 328 times by in the scientific literature. The article is entitled, “The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum.”

The topic that he about spoke this year was the nonsurgical, conservative treatment of chronic venous disease. Most of the discussion was based on the scientific evidence supporting the use and efficacy of venoactive drugs and specifically flavonoids.

The FDA and the European Food Safety officially classify flavonoids as food supplements. They are not approved as pharmaceutical drugs. They are derived mainly from plant sources such as citrus fruits and are the main source of the rich color in berries.  They have known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties when studied in vitro (outside of animals).

How Do Flavonoids Work?

According to Dr Gloviczki’s review, flavanoids are claimed to increase venous tone and capillary permeability. Capillary permeability is the ability of fluid and molecules to pass through the wall of a blood vessel.

They are also said to work on white blood cells, which help fight infection and substances that your body recognizes as harmful or foreign to it. It can affect the inner lining of your veins, which is called the endothelium.

Flavonoids are used to treat pain from varicose veins. They decease swelling from the reflux of blood in veins and help in the healing of venous ulcers.

How Do You Get Flavonoids?

The only prescription supplement presently available in the United States contains the flavonoid called Diosmin. The medicine’s brand name is Vasculera. It is manufactured by Primus Dermatology in Arizona.

It has been used successfully in Europe and has been used in treating hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the anal tissues. It can take four to six weeks for this to start working. The Relief study was conducted in twenty-three countries for over two years. It showed increased quality of life in those who completed this Relief trial. It was was published in 2002 in Angiology.

There are dozens of flavonoids available that you can order over the internet.  Amazon has a multitude of choices in different price ranges that start at $12.97 for two months worth of this “food supplement”.  Search under the generic term, diosmin.

Show Me the Evidence!

Much of the research and use of flavonoids comes from Europe where they have been used for over two decades. European countries use homeopathic supplements much more than we do in the United States.

The research that has been done on venoactive drugs includes 44 randomized controlled trials. There were 4413 participants. Flavonoids were studied in thirty-four of these. These studies included a Cochrane Review from 2005 by Martinez, MJ et al. This Cochrane review found that Diosmin and Hesperidin were the most effective venoactive drugs that they studied.

This study also found that it benefits swelling due to venous disease and reflux. The committee that did the review classified their effectiveness as Grade 2B. In terms of evidence, based medicine that means the quality of evidence was moderate and further evidence is needed to positively affect the confidence of the findings.

The studies often had insufficient follow up for analysis. Therefore, the recommendations are weak with moderate quality evidence proving its efficacy.

Grading evidence helps provide confidence in recommending a treatment when considering the risks, benefits, burdens and costs. Confidence in studies is also based on whether the studies were blinded, whether they were compared to placebo, or possibly subject to bias.

A more recent Cochrane review from 2012 demonstrated the efficacy of horse chestnut extract. There were 17 randomized controlled trials vs. placebo. Varicose vein itching and swelling from varicose vein disease was positively affected. One of these studies showed that it was equally effective to compression support stockings. The adverse effects were mild and infrequent.

In a recent article in the American Journal of Phlebology in 2014, quality of life using flavonoids was improved after thirty days when flavonoids were used. This was a randomized controlled trial or a double-blinded placebo-controlled trial considered of good design by many.


Flavonoids have been used for many years in Europe successfully to treat venous disease. The two most beneficial effects were improvement of swelling and improvement in the healing of ulcers caused by chronic venous disease. More studies are needed to prove their degree of effectiveness.

Other home remedies such as grape seed, pine bark, helichrysum oil, St. John’s wort, marigold, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, garlic, butcher’s broom, witch hazel, and olive oil have no scientific proof of efficacy. You could just as well ask Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies to make a poultice for your aching veins as use these nostrums.

No medicine, supplement or diet will make your varicose veins go away or get smaller. If you are serious about getting rid of your veins, you need to seek out professional help.

You must know that bulging varicose veins will not go away if you use these remedies. They will only get worse over time. Insurance companies are becoming much more strict covering vein treatments. Your financial responsibility for covering more of the cost will become greater over time.

Vascular surgeons dedicated to treating varicose vein disease. They are your best bet for a successful outcome to become free of your unwanted veins.

Check the qualifications of your vein doctor closely. Not all doctors are the same. Do not just pick the varicose vein office that is closest to your house.

The sooner you have your veins treated, the better. Insurance companies are cutting back on varicose vein treatments by restricting the size of your veins and the type of treatments that they will cover. Deductables are increasing rapidly.

Why put it off any longer?

Call us at 724-969-0600 or contact us here to learn more.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.