Beware Phony Treatments for Spider and Varicose Veins

It is inevitable that for any medical condition, theories will pop up for how to treat these conditions with home remedies, with cheap and practical solutions that “really work.” Most are schemes hatched by snakeoil peddlers, with no medical background, who are seeking to make some easy money by either pitching a product that can be put together in their home kitchen or can gain them followers (and advertising revenue) on social media. While some phony treatments will just make users look a little foolish, some can even be hazardous to your health.

1. Tomato Slices. Apparently, there is a myth that tomatoes will remedy varicose veins if you slice them and put the slices on the capillaries, then wrap the area with a bandage. This is not true. Putting food on your legs will not cure spider veins. But you may smell like a salad.

2. Garlic and other herbal remedies. This time, the myth goes that the garlic should be consumed daily to remedy poor circulation and reduce inflammation (although one “remedy” does suggest making a paste out of minced garlic and alcohol and spreading it on your legs). Now, perhaps if you have varicose veins and are worried about attracting the attention of vampires, then by all means, paste away. But otherwise, this is nonsense. Garlic may have some useful benefits as part of any well-balanced diet, but it is not a medicine any more than a tomato, and it will not “cure” spider or varicose veins.

The same is true for herbals such as witch hazel and horse chestnut, which are purported to effectively treat venous insufficiency and prevent leg cramps and swelling of the ankles and varicose veins but actually do nothing. Horse chestnut can even be toxic if prepared at home.

3. Cold showers. While cold water or ice packs can help reduce swelling in the legs, thereby reducing pressure on your legs, the coolness won’t cure your spider veins. But it may help swollen legs feel better after a long day.

4. Supplements. The supplements industry is huge. And of course, it is enticing to imagine that taking natural herbs and vitamins can keep you in the peak of health or even, dare to dream, cure what ails you. However, taking supplements, even the popular Vitamin K and butcher’s broom, will not “cure” spider or varicose veins. In fact, supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so there is no oversight on what gets put into them and how much, and studies are often not conducted on their effects or their general safety. Always be careful when taking supplements, and consult your doctor to see what would be of any benefit.

5. Apple cider vinegar and natural oils. This is a popular one, that apple cider vinegar is a miracle potion that can keep you from ever visiting a doctor again. While it may have good dietary benefits when taken in small doses, it won’t fix your spider or varicose veins. Similarly, proponents rave about the miraculous restorative effects of oils such as emu oil and castor oil, but sadly, these claims are untrue. Notice the pattern here. Food or herbs or spices may be beneficial dietary components, but they won’t fix you, weather you consume it or rub it onto your skin.

6. Food can’t cure veins, but yoga can. No, yoga can’t “cure” veins. Low impact yoga may help with overall health, has been known to reduce blood pressure, and can help maintain a healthy body weight.

7. Aloe Vera is a proven natural cure. Aloe vera is good for protecting cuts while they heal, and it has cooling properties that can soothe the skin. But spider veins and varicose veins aren’t problems of the skin; they are problems of the veins and a sign of a venous disorder. No topical rub or cream can remove your problem veins.

There is no “cure” for spider or varicose veins. By avoiding a visit to a doctor or vein specialist, you could even be jeopardizing your health by allowing a medical condition to worsen.

Treatment for spider and varicose veins includes laser treatment and sclerotherapy, respectively, which remove existing problem veins but do not magically eliminate the condition. If you are susceptible to spider or varicose veins, which come from a weakening of the venous walls, there is no potion to reverse these effects. There is no one “type” of person who is prone to spider and varicose veins, and if you’re genetically predisposed to them, chances are good that you will get them in your lifetime.

However, to maintain optimum venous health, you can reduce the risk of worsening the condition by maintaining a healthy blood pressure, which means regular low-impact exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and staying away from foods that can increase blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy weight to avoid additional strain on the blood vessels.

If you have more questions about real vein treatments or are ready to consider laser treatment or sclerotherapy, visit us at or contact us at 760-944-9263.