Varicose veins, and their milder cousin’s spider veins, are enlarged, bulging, blue or purple veins usually in your legs and feet. When they are at their worst, they are painful, otherwise they are mostly an annoying cosmetic concern. Essential oils work well to prevent varicose veins altogether and to stop them from getting worse when they are still small.
Varicose Veins – Causes
Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood from your limbs towards your heart. Those in your legs must transport this blood against gravity, upwards to your chest. But varicose veins result when:
- Your veins are not elastic enough, so they cannot snap back to their normal size following periods of heavy blood flow, for example, during exercise.
- The valves in your veins are weakened, so they cannot prevent blood from flowing back towards your feet with gravity. This causes it to pool in your lower legs and feet.
- Your blood circulation is generally sluggish, or become sluggish because you stand or sit for too long without moving.
- You are overweight or pregnant, which increases the amount of blood in your body.
- Female hormonal imbalances such as during pregnancy, menopause, or while taking a contraceptive pill – all relax vein walls and reduces their elasticity.
These are the contributory factors that essential oils will have to tackle. Oils are not a miracle cure for large varicose veins. Medical treatments focus on closing those veins while oils must try to promote blood flow and vein health.
Still, oils work well to prevent varicose veins altogether, to stop them from getting worse when they are still small, and to improve blood flow and vein health enough to tighten and improve the appearance of small to medium-size ones.
Essential Oils to Improve Varicose Veins
Clary Sage is a favorite to improve blood flow. In one study, researchers used it successfully to reduce menstruation cramps caused by strangled blood flow, blended with marjoram, cinnamon, ginger, and geranium.1
Rose Oil also improves blood flow, and has also tested to be effective to improve blood flow in menstruating college girls, especially when mixed with lavender and clary sage.2
Cypress Oil is used to shrink swollen blood vessels, improve blood circulation, combat fluid retention, and as a mild pain reliever. This makes it ideal for varicose veins, as it may shrink the veins, improve the blood flow, and prevent blood pooling.
Geranium Oil helps blood vessels contract, which is useful for bulging varicose veins.
Ginger Oil can improve blood flow so well that it can even be used to lower blood pressure.3 You can also consume ginger root as it improves your circulation by lowering blood pressure and thinning the blood.
Frankincense Oil can also lower blood pressure by improving blood circulation, and it is believed to balance estrogen production.
Basil Oil improves blood circulation and serves as an analgesic for painful varicose veins.
Calamus Oil improves blood circulation, especially if it is inhaled.
Cassia Bark Oil improves blood circulation and tightens blood vessels.4
Cinnamon and Cedarwood Oils are on many aromatherapists’ favorites list for contracting blood vessels and promoting blood circulation.
Yarrow Oil is popular to increase blood flow, contract blood vessels, and attack inflammation in the circulatory system that can cause swelling of blood vessels.
Lemongrass Oil contracts blood vessels and can relieve the pain of painful varicose veins.
Cold Compress for Varicose Veins
Cold compress may provide temporary relief from pain and burning. So you could try doing the following:
- Pour one liter of cold water into a bowl and add five drops of cypress oil (it’s best to dilute the essential oil first in a tablespoon of carrier oil of your choice).
- Make a cold pad and apply it to the area of your varicose veins. Sit with your legs elevated while you do this for several minutes every evening. You can do it in front of the television if you like.
Essential Oils Foot Bath for Varicose Veins
If your varicose veins are on your feet and ankles, do something similar to the cold compress as follows:
- Pour five liters of cold water into a bucket and add 20 drops of cypress oil (it’s best to dilute the essential oil first in a tablespoon or two of carrier oil of your choice).
- Sit with your feet in the cold water for several minutes. If the veins are painful, use 15 drops of cypress and five drops of basil oil.
A Varicose Vein Massage Blend
Mix the following:
- 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil or other base oil
- 10 drops of cypress oil
- 10 drops of frankincense oil
- 10 drops of clary sage oil
Mix them and store them in a clean glass bottle. Massage the affected area with this blend twice a day. Massage on both sides of the veins, rather than across them. You can either use your hands, or a body brush. Massage towards your heart, because that is where you want the blood to go. Start all the way at your feet and massage upwards.
Food-Grade Oils for Varicose Veins
If you can find food-grade ginger and cinnamon oils, you can make some tea and add the oils to it. One drop per two mugs should be sufficient. They are also good in fruit smoothies. Alternatively, make ginger tea or cinnamon tea and add the appropriate oil.
Time is a Great Healer
Be patient and apply your chosen treatment consistently. After a few weeks, you will see the veins starting to shrink as the pooled blood flows more rapidly upwards and the veins start to contract.