Alison Cullen is a Nutritional Therapist with a special interest in Phytotherapy.
Ali will endeavour to give the best advice based on the information provided. However, it is always advisable to have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor or health care practitioner to obtain a diagnosis of any health matter which is concerning you.
Q I have varicose veins now on both legs. The doctor tells me I need surgery and am awaiting a hospital appointment. Is there anything I could use so I don’t have to have the operation. I am not overweight, I now drink a least 10 glasses of water a day and I don’t smoke or drink. What else can I do to help myself? The vein seemed to come on when I had my daughter, now nearly 21
A Pregnancy is a common factor in starting up varicose veins. The best treatment is a combination of the following:
1. Take Horse Chestnut (Aesculus). This helps to strengthen the veins so that they don't dilate and sag. This should not be used during pregnancy.
2. Whilst you're waiting for the tablets to take effect (usually you'll see the first improvements within the first 1 to 2 months, then things get progressively better), rub an Aesculus gel into your legs twice daily, with an upwards motion.
3. Lie with your legs raised (e.g. on your bed with your feet up on a pillow, or on the sofa with your feet on the arm of the sofa) for 20 minutes daily.
4. Try to get some walking exercise, 10 to 20 minutes daily. Gentle walking will do fine.
Q I really need to give up smoking but I’m not sure what would be best to do. Can you help, please?
A Depending on how much you smoke, how long you've smoked for, and how badly you want to give up, there are various methods, e.g. cutting down gradually, or giving up cold turkey. You can discuss these with your doctor or your pharmacist - pharmacies are really well geared up to help with quitting smoking these days.
The key thing to remember is that nicotine kicks up your blood sugar levels, so when you stop you get real slumps and your body craves the nicotine to kick your blood sugar back up. So a good way to make it easier for yourself is to support your blood sugar level. This means eating (not heaps, just a snack like some dried fruit, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, some crackers, things like that) every 3 to 4 hours, to give yourself plenty of energy. Take a tonic such as Floradix too, to keep your energy up. Try to avoid too much caffeine and refined sugar, because they push your blood sugar up and then it crashes and you'll crave a cigarette again. Drink plenty of water, because this helps your energy and also calms your nerves.
Take a vitamin B complex, because this is excellent for your nervous system, and try a combination extract of Passiflora and Avena sativa, which helps calm you down. There's also a flower essence, Craving Essence, which you can take if the desire for a cigarette gets too much. Good luck with it.