Spider veins occur when tiny veins below the surface of the skin congregate, causing red, blue or purple discolorations. Most common on the legs and ankles, spider veins cause no symptoms and do not pose any health risks. If you find them unsightly, you can cover them with cosmetics, use home remedies to get rid of them, or talk to your doctor about a special injection that diminishes their appearance. In many cases, spider veins disappear on their own after a few months, but several home remedies can expedite the process.
The herb ginkgo biloba helps to strengthen the tissues that form vein walls, enhances tissue oxygenation and improves circulation, making it a useful remedy for treating spider veins. In the book “Natural Remedies: Nondrug Healing Strategies That Work Best,” the Prevention Health Books Staff recommend taking 40 mg of ginkgo extract three times a day until spider veins disappear. Look for a 50:1 standardized ginkgo extract for the best results, as this type provides the most medicinal benefit.
Witch hazel, a soothingly astringent herbal extract, makes an effective external treatment for spider veins. The German Commission E, the panel of experts that suggest herbal treatments to that country's equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration, endorses witch hazel for treating varicose veins. In his book “The Green Pharmacy,” herbalist James A. Duke recommends soaking a cotton ball in witch hazel extract, and then applying it directly to the affected area a few times a day until spider veins diminish. You can purchase distilled witch hazel extract at drugstores and natural food stores.
Horse chestnut strengthens veins that have lost their elasticity, which can help to reduce the appearance of spider veins. In the book “Prevention's Ultimate Guide to Women's Health and Wellness,” Elizabeth Crow recommends taking 250 mg of standardized horse chestnut extract daily until your spider veins disappear. Horse chestnut extract is widely available in natural health stores. Topical creams containing horse chestnut may also help to get rid of spider veins when applied to the affected area on a regular basis. Use the cream and extract together for the best results.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, a common home remedy for varicose veins, may also help to diminish the appearance of spider veins by increasing circulation to the affected area. In her book “Smart Medicine for Healthier Living,” Janet Zand suggests saturating a cloth with apple cider vinegar and applying it as a compress directly to your spider veins. Allow the cloth to remain in place for 15 to 20 minutes, and then remove. Repeat the process once or twice a day for at least one month, or until you can no longer see the veins.
- Aetna Intelihealth: Spider Veins
- “Natural Remedies: Nondrug Healing Strategies That Work Best”; Prevention Health Books Staff; 1999
- “The Green Pharmacy”; James A. Duke; 1998
- “Prevention's Ultimate Guide to Women's Health and Wellness”; Elizabeth Crow, Prevention Health Books, Susan J. Blumenthal; 2002
- “Smart Medicine for Healthier Living”; Janet Zand, Allan N. Spreen, James B. LaValle; 1999