Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I am young, but already I am developing varicose veins. I think it is because I habitually cross my legs all day. Is there any way to get rid of the varicose veins that are already appearing on my thighs?
A: A varicose vein in traditional Chinese medicine is primarily due to weakness in your muscle tone, which is governed by your spleen and digestive organs. Assuming that this is not a congenital condition that you inherited from your parents, several elements may be involved. Of course, crossing the legs prevents proper blood circulation to the lower legs, thus causing pooling of blood. There must also be weakness and flaccidity in the leg muscles, because it is the leg muscle pumping actions that usually help pump the blood back into the body.
I suggest you strengthen your lower leg muscles, loose weight (if you are overweight), elevate your legs daily, and strengthen your digestive system. A good supplement is hawthorn berries; these strengthen your spleen, invigorate blood circulation, and strengthen the cardiovascular system, as well as lower your cholesterol. Also, incorporate more of the following into your diet: figs, plums, prunes, bamboo shoots, cucumbers, and persimmons. Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, oily foods, and standing for long periods.