Long before modern medicine, people with health issues turned to herbs and other strategies for their various ills. Some of those older remedies have proved to be more than old wives’ tales, while others have not been supported by research. Here’s what you need to know about one of those remedies – using apple cider vinegar for varicose vein treatment – courtesy of Dr. Tif Siragusa, at Siragusa Vein and Laser, in Nashville.
Varicose veins and vein disease occur because the tiny flaps of tissue inside the vein, called valves, stop functioning properly. Valves prevent blood from flowing backward in the pause between heartbeats. As a result, blood pools in the veins, especially of the lower legs, and the veins become distended and tortuous. While many people have no symptoms, others experience leg pain, swelling, burning, and itching. Badly distended veins can be an esthetic issue as well. In severe cases, the skin over a vein may break down and lead to ulcers, especially in those who have diabetes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The idea behind apple cider vinegar (ACV) is that it improves blood flow and circulation. It is also supposed to cleanse the body of accumulated toxins. The most common recommendation is to apply undiluted ACV to the skin over the varicose veins and massage it into the skin twice a day. Many proponents also recommend drinking two teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water twice a day. The treatments should be continued over a period of several months. ACV has antioxidant properties and can combat free radicals – damaging molecules that affect the body’s cells.
Research on Apple Cider Vinegar
There is little research to support the use of ACV for varicose vein treatment. However, one small study examined 80 patients with varicose veins. Half the patient’s applied fabric wraps soaked with ACV to their legs for 30 minutes each morning and night while the legs were kept elevated. Patients who used ACV had less pain, itching, cramping and swelling at the end of the study. However, they still had varicose veins. Elevating the legs is one of the conservative therapies used in treating varicose veins, so it is difficult to determine whether the elevation or the ACV was responsible for the improvement in symptoms.
Medical Varicose Vein Treatment
While there is unlikely to be any harm in the use of ACV for varicose veins, vein treatment includes other options. Sclerotherapy, for example, causes the veins to collapse and stick together so they are no longer visible. Endovenous ablation seals off leaky veins and eliminates the swollen, tortuous appearance. Microphlebectomy removes the varicose vein entirely. All of these procedures can be performed by a vein doctor like Dr. Siragusa. They are outpatient procedures performed in the office or a vein center and do not require a general anesthetic.
If you have vein disease or varicose veins and want to improve your health and appearance, please contact us. Dr. Siragusa can assess your condition and make recommendations for the appropriate treatment.