Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, painful veins that have filled with an abnormal collection of blood. The function of the veins is to convey blood back to the heart. Veins are tubes which will collapse if they are not filled with blood. The thick outer-most layer of the vein is made up of collagen. Beneath this are bands of smooth muscle, this layer is generally thin as veins do not function primarily in a contractile manner. The interior of the vein is lined with endothelial cells. Within the vein there are one-way flaps called valves whose function it is to prevent blood flowing back and pooling in the lower extremities.
Although varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body, generally the term refers to the superficial veins in the legs. When the veins become enlarged the valves no longer function properly with the result that the blood pools in the veins and the legs become congested, swollen and inflamed. This prevents both the delivery of adequate nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and the removal of wastes resulting in the veins turning purple, cranberry or dark blue in color and beginning to bulge. The legs may feel hot and heavy and become sensitive to pressure.
Factors contributing to the development of varicose veins include heredity, prolonged standing or sitting, heavy lifting, insufficient exercise, constipation, insufficient fluid intake, faulty diet, extremes of temperature, poor circulation, prolonged bed res, consumption of alcohol or spicy foods, obesity and pregnancy. It is also thought that wearing constricting clothing or hosiery, high heels or other unsuitable shoes can be contributing factors. Sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time is a problem as it can restrict proper blood flow into and out of the legs. Strenuous physical exertion or injury can damage a valve in a vein or cause blood clots that permanently destroy valves in the veins and impair circulation.
Conventional treatment is usually conservative. The person affected will be asked to avoid excess standing, elevate their legs when resting or sleeping, and to wear elastic support hose. Some of the things that may be recommended include: Surgery such as vein striping and ligation (removal of the varicose vein), or sclerotherapy of the veins (injecting with a solution that causes scarring, which closes the vein). Vein stripping is a very extensive procedure, and it is usually reserved for those who are experiencing a lot of pain or who have skin ulcers.
Walking is often considered to be one of the best ways to treat varicose veins. Exercises that elevate the legs is also considered to be beneficial. Exercise improves lymphatic drainage, muscle tone and increase muscle size. Larger, more developed muscles exert more pressure on the veins, encouraging the flow of blood back toward the heart. Compression hose or stockings can also be helpful. Regular massage of the feet and legs can help to improve or prevent varicose veins. Deep breathing exercises can also be helpful as they increase circulation aiding the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the affected areas.
The use of essential oils can be very helpful with this condition both when used on their own or in conjunction with other medical treatments. Essential oils such as clary sage, cedarwood, cypress, frankincense, geranium, ginger, juniper, lemon, myrrh, neroli, peppermint, rose, rosemary and yarrow can be very helpful in restoring good circulation to the areas with varicose veins.
Best Methods of Use:
- Alternating warm and cool compresses will stimulate circulation, help relieve inflammation and swelling, and ease pain. For warm compress add 5 drops of your essential oil blend to 1 liter of warm water and for cool compress add 5 drops of your essential oil blend to 1 liter of cool water. Pour water into a glass bowl and add the essential oils. Blend well. Soak a clean cloth in the water and apply the compress to the affected areas. Follow with cool compress. Elevate legs for 15 minutes. You can follow this with the massage oil if you wish.
- Massage Oil. Gently massage the affected area upward toward the heart twice a day. 21 — 30 drops of essential oil blend combined with 50 ml carrier oil or cream.
- Warm baths help to improve circulation. Add about 8 drops of essential oil diluted in a little carrier oil and swish around the bath.
- In addition looking at one’s diet may be helpful. A diet high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E and garlic are often recommended.
Hemorrhoids are swollen or varicose veins in the rectum or lining of the anus, causing pain, itching and sometimes bleeding. This is a very common condition especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus. The pressure causes the veins to bulge and expand, making them painful particularly when sitting. Other possible causes include heredity, chronic constipation (causing straining during bowel movement), incorrect lifting of heavy loads and obesity. In some cases they may be caused by other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis. Internal hemorrhoids occur just inside the anus, at the beginning of the rectum. External hemorrhoids occur at the anal opening and may hang outside the anus.Symptoms of hemorrhoids include: Anal itching, anal ache or pain, especially while sitting; bright red blood on toilet tissue, stool, or in the toilet bowl; pain during bowel movements or one or more hard tender lumps near the anus.
Essential oils such as cedarwood, clary sage, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, juniper, myrrh, patchouli, rose, tea tree and yarrow can be very helpful in improving circulation, soothing pain and promoting the regeneration and healing of the tissue.
Best methods of use include:
- Daily sitz bath with essential oils can help to help decrease discomfort, stimulate circulation and promote healing. Add about 8 drops of essential oil blend to a little carrier oil and swish in the bath.
- Soothing oil or ointment to be applied during the day as needed. 10 to 12 drops of essential oil combined in 25 ml cream, gel or ointment.
Blends for Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids
|2 drops of Geranium||2 drops of Cypress||2 drops of Cypress||3 drops of Cypress|
|2 drops of Lemon||2 drops of Juniper||2 drops of Juniper||3 drops of Geranium|
|1 drop of Rosemary||1 drop of Peppermint||2 drops of Yarrow|
|1 drop of Yarrow|