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
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.