The Best Herbs For Preventing & Relieving Spider Veins
Many women in their late-20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s are concerned about some form of leg condition– whether that’s cellulite, varicose veins, or the slighty-more-subtle spider veins that pop up when a group of dilated veins appear close to the surface of the skin, looking like spider webs or tree branches. Spider veins are caused when vein valves do not open to allow blood to leave the veins, which in turn causes it to pool in the veins and swell. Sitting or standing for long periods of time, aging, and sun exposure are all elements that can effect the appearance of spider veins, which are often attributed to poor or insufficient circulation (either hereditary or environmental). Here are a few herbs that can be taken as supplements, teas, and tinctures to mitigate the effects.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
According to WebMD, “The chemicals in red raspberry might have antioxidant effects and help relax blood vessels. They might also cause muscles to contract or relax, depending on the dose and the muscle involved.” This is the theory behind red raspberry’s use in easing labor and delivery, as well as other applications in the arena of reproductive health. “Some women use raspberry leaf for painful periods, heavy periods, morning sickness associated with pregnancy, preventing miscarriage, and easing labor and delivery.” Red Raspberry Leaf Tea has a flavor profile similar to black tea, and according to Wellness Mama, it is naturally high in magnesium, potassium, iron, and B-vitamins, all of which make it a powerful herb to support overall vein health.
Horse Chestnut is widely regarded as a powerful circulation herb, frequently consumed in capsules as a supplement. Horse chestnut seed and leaf are used for treating both varicose veins and swollen veins (phlebitis), and horse chestnut “extract” is used for treating a blood circulation problem called chronic venous insufficiency, which is often at the root of spider vein formation. Treating the cause of this chronic venous insufficiency (in addition to wearing compression stockings during long-haul flights or long periods of sitting or standing) will help alleviate symptoms (and slow the expansion of) spider veins and their associated problems.
Ginger is known to herbalists as a “blood mover”– from stimulating digestion to building heat, its primary effects are to get things moving. This makes it a great nutritional supplement to support circulation, especially in the lower extremities. Try adding fresh, grated ginger to a citrus smoothie for a powerful antioxidant punch, or incorporate it into baked goods for a comforting, aromatic twist on classics like Apple Pie or Bundt Cake. Regularly drinking ginger tea is also helpful. Ginger when taken in a concentrated form can also help break up fibrin, a blood protein that builds up in areas where veins are impaired.
Resveratrol and Grape Seed Extract
Grape Seed Extract is a supplement made from grape seeds whereas resveratrol is a potent polyphenol made from the skin of red grapes. While often used interchangeably, these two supplements pack a host of circulatory benefits that protect against oxidation and other damage incurred from aging– but each has a profile of benefits that can be nuanced depending on what issue you are supplementing for. Grape Seed Extract can be taken for high blood pressure, swelling, and chronic venous insufficiency, whereas resveratrol bolsters circulation itself to improve blood flow conditions that can cause these problems. (Resveratrol restores the integrity of endothelial cells so that blood could flow normally– as a result, it also has protective effects in higher brain functioning in aging populations; Grape Seeds are rich in powerful antioxidants and natural plant compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which have the ability to destroy free radicals in the body and thus prevent premature aging.)
A high-antioxidant maritime pine bark often taken in supplement form, pycnogenol is useful in sealing capillaries and stopping the outflow of blood into tissue that causes swelling. Recent peer-reviewed studies also revealed that pycnogenol improved venous tone amongst users with chronic venous insufficiency over a period of three month use, and significantly decreased visible clusters of spider veins in those who complied with supplementation protocol.