Walking upright has given our leg veins a difficult task. Although they lack the strong muscular lining of arteries, they must constantly return a large volume of blood to the heart. The movements of the legs act as a pump to push the blood upward while flimsy valves stop gravity from pulling it back down.
However, over time these valves often begin to fail. The blood then begins to pool in the deep veins of the leg, stretching the vein wall and injuring its lining. This situation is called venous insufficiency. Typically, the legs begin to feel heavy, swollen, achy, and tired. Varicose veins, a condition closely related to venous insufficiency, occur when veins near the surface of the skin are damaged. They visibly dilate and become distorted, resulting in a cosmetically unpleasant appearance.
Varicose veins affect women about two to three times as often as men. Occupations involving prolonged standing also increase the incidence of venous insufficiency. Pregnancy and obesity do so as well because the increase of pressure in the abdomen makes it more difficult for the blood to flow upward.
No homeopathic remedies have been shown to be effective for the treatment of this condition.
In one study, a partly homeopathic remedy for venous insufficiency failed to prove conclusively effective. This 24-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 61 people with varicose veins evaluated the effect of a remedy containing Meliotus offic, Aesculus, Hamamelis, Carduus marianus, Lycopodium, Lachesis, and Arnica and Rutin.1 (While some of these ingredients were included at homeopathic potencies, others were taken at small dilutions, making them herbal therapies rather than true homeopathic remedies.) For 24 days, the participants took 20 drops of the remedy or placebo. The tested treatment failed to achieve significant effects on most standard measures of disease severity.
In another double-blind trial, 130 people undergoing surgery for varicose veins were given homeopathic Arnica 5x or placebo.2 No comparative benefits were seen.
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for varicose veins, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
Homeopathic Calcarea carbonica may be used for people with painful varicose veins who also have the following symptom picture: easy fatigability, cold hands and feet, generally flabby musculature, a tendency toward being overweight, and a taste for sweet foods. Anxiety and a propensity to become overwhelmed by life are also part of the picture.
Homeopathic Hamamelis is sometimes used when varicose veins are relatively large, easily damaged or torn (leading to bleeding), and tender to the touch. The legs have a purple or mottled appearance. Bleeding hemorrhoids may accompany the vein problems in the legs.
For herbs, supplements, and other alternative treatments that may be useful for this condition, see the Varicose Veins article.
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the Homeopathy Overview.
1. Ernst E, Saradeth T, Resch KL. Complementary therapy of varicose veins-a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Phlebologie. 1990;5:157–163.
2. Ramelet AA, Buchheim G, Lorenz P, et al. Homoeopathic arnica in postoperative haematomas: a double-blind study. Dermatology. 2000;201:347–348.
Last reviewed September 2014 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 9/18/2014