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Can alternative medicine help my swollen veins?

Thrombophlebitis is a condition characterised by inflammation in a vein near the surface of the skin, usually in the leg. Another feature of this condition is the formation of small blood clots around the site of inflammation.

Typical symptoms of thrombophlebitis include swelling, redness and tenderness in and around the affected area. Thrombophlebitis can occur as a result of injury to a superficial vein and is more common in people who suffer from varicose veins.

A major component of the tiny blood clots that occur in thrombophlebitis is a blood protein called fibrin. The body breaks down fibrin naturally in time, but certain foods such as garlic, onions, cayenne pepper and ginger have the ability to accelerate this process.

These foods can therefore help to relieve the symptoms of thrombophlebitis and you should therefore include plenty of them in your diet.

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Spotting and preventing thread veins

If you have a job where you are standing for most of the day - hairdressers and teachers take note - the increased pressure on your legs could trigger the condition. Vitamins C, E and K are all essential for maintaining good skin health.

Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant which protects the skin and is also essential for protecting cell membranes. This strengthens the capillaries making thread veins less likely. Vitamin E can be found in olive oil, peanuts, leafy green vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals.

You can also help yourself by wearing stockings! Dr Rachael Morris-Jones, a dermatologist for Vichy Laboratories, says, 'If you are in a 'high risk group' for developing thread veins - like teaching where you are on your feet all day - you can try to prevent them by wearing something that compresses your legs such as support stockings from the pharmacy.'

Compressing the legs boost the blood flow back up to the heart, reducing blood pressure in the legs which cuts your risk of thread veins.

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