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( By Dr. H.K.Bakhru )

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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a condition in which the veins become enlarged, dilated or thickened. They have diminished elasticity and there are variations in the thickness of the vein wall. A varicose portion of a vein may affect the whole length or be localised to portions only.

Veins are thin-walled vessels through which the impure blood is carried back to the heart. They usually have valves which regulate the flow of blood towards the heart. Varicose veins can occur in any part of the body but generally appear on the legs. The veins of the legs are the largest in the body and they carry the blood from the lower extremities upwards towards the heart. The direction of circulation in these vessels is largely determined by gravity. Though there are no mechanical obstacles to blood-flow, it is usually the incompetence of the valves which leads to an increase in pressure in the veins.

Varicose veins have an unsightly appearance and can be dangerous. A blood clot within a large, greatly dilated vein may break away and move towards the heart and lungs, causing serious complications. Varicose veins are about thrice as common an occurrence in women as in men. This disease is rare in underdeveloped rural societies.


The first sign of the varicose veins is a swelling along the course of the veins. This may be followed by muscular cramps and a feeling of a weight and weariness in the affected leg, particularly at night, due to blood condition. In some cases, the normal flow of blood towards the heart may be reversed when the patient is in an upright position. This results in veinous blood collecting in the lower part of the legs and the skin becomes purplish and pigmented, leading to what is known as varicose eczema or varicose ulcers. Both conditions cause severe pain.


There is evidence to show that those whose work involves much standing such as dentists, barbers and shop assistants, are more subjected to this disease than those engaged in other occupations. While standing erect, the venous blood from the feet has to return to the heart against the force of gravity. Other bad habits which can lead to the formation of varicose veins are crossing the legs, wearing tight clothing and too much sitting.

A varicose condition of the veins also results from sluggish circulation due to various factors such as constipation, dietetic errors, lack of exercise and smoking. Pregnancy may cause varicose veins due to increased pressure in the pelvis and abdomen, which slows down the flow of blood from the lower extremities to the heart. Women usually suffer from this condition in the early years of child -bearing. Obesity can also cause varicose veins.

Dietary Cure

The modern medical treatment of either a surgical operation or injections do not hold out hopes of a cure, as they do not even treat the basic cause. By surgically removing one affected vein, other veins may get affected.

For proper treatment in a natural way, the patient should, in the beginning, be put on a juice fast for four or five days or on an all-fruit diet for seven to ten days. A warm water enema should be administered daily during this period to cleanse the bowels and measures should be taken to avoid constipation.

After the juice fast or the all-fruit diet, the patient should adopt a restricted diet plan. In this regimen, oranges or orange and lemon juices may be taken for breakfast. The midday meal may consist of raw salad of any of the vegetables in season with olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Steamed vegetables such as spinach, cabbage carrots, turnips, cauliflower and raisins, figs or dates may be taken in the evening. No bread or potatoes or other starchy food should be included in this diet , as otherwise the whole effect of the diet will be lost.

After the restricted diet, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet,of three basic food groups, namely seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits. About 75 percent of the diet should consist of raw vegetable and fruits. All condiments, alcoholic drinks, coffee, strong tea, white flour products, white sugar and white sugar products should be strictly avoided. A short fast or the all-fruit diet for two or three days may be undertaken every month, depending on the progress being made.

The alternate hot and cold hip bath will be very valuable and should be taken daily. The affected parts should be sprayed with cold water or cold packs should be applied to them. A mud pack may be applied at night and allowed to remain until morning. A hot Epsom salt bath is also very valuable and should be taken twice a week.

The patient should undertake outdoor exercises like walking, swimming , cycling, take sun baths and do deep breathing exercises.