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Phlebitis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein, the vessels responsible for carrying de-oxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart.

Common sites for phlebitis are in the lower and upper legs and is often a complication of varicose veins. It can also occur in response to an injection into the vein (such as an intravenous drip) or much more rarely in some forms of cancer.

In phlebitis swollen, bulging or thread like blue coloured veins are often clearly visible either protruding from the skin or on the surface and they may feel hard and lumpy to the touch. It may appear as a cluster of lumpy nodules or as a swollen line running along the length of the vein. The early stages of phlebitis usually begin with pain and tenderness in a leg with some redness running in a line along the course of the vein. Other symptoms can include a burning, warmth or itching in the area and a low grade fever. Phlebitis is more likely to occur in those who are obese, lead a sedentary lifestyle, smokers, in those with a family history of venous problems, take hormonal medications or have had an injury to the area.

Superficial phlebitis is not considered a serious condition but it may indicate the likelihood of developing more serious venous conditions. When the veins are inflamed and blood is not flowing properly, blood becomes congested and pools in the veins in the areas between the valves. This stagnant blood may cause infection in the veins and can ultimately lead to destruction of the cells and tissues surrounding the veins. Clots can also break away and travel through the blood vessels to the lungs causing a very serious condition called a pulmonary embolism.

Healing objectives are to remedy the veins that are varicosed and improve the blood flow through them. Ensure that blood flow is not pooling as this can lead to varicose ulcers and death of tissues.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Eat plenty of warming and blood moving herbs and spices such as chilli, turmeric, ginger, horseradish, mustard, black pepper, coriander, cumin, cardamon, cinnamon and the like.

Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, chives contain anti-clotting agents that will help to keep blood thin and flowing more easily.

Eat plenty of foods containing bioflavonoids such as cherries, blueberries, grapes and fresh lemon juice daily.

Avoid refined carbohydrates, sugary foods and processed foods generally as they tend to lead to inflammatory states within the body and blood vessels and also thicken the blood and other fluids (as well as generally lowering overall health and immunity).

Smoking greatly impairs blood circulation and restricts blood vessel walls making circulation more difficult.

Eliminate salt form your cooking.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Remedies such as cayenne (chilli powder) help to keep the blood moving and far less likely to clot or pool. Start by taking a quarter of a teaspoon of powder in a little warm water each day and increase the dose to 2 times daily then 3 times daily over a couple of weeks.

Take a cup of buckwheat tea daily to improve the elasticity and health of the veins.

Sip a cup of dandelion root tea daily.

Cardiovascular tonics such as hawthorn flowers and berries together with ginkgo, gotu kola, oats, marigold flowers and nettles would make en excellent daily drink, improving both blood flow and vessel health. Use equal parts of each of the dried herbs and make a daily amount in a pot using 3 tablespoons of the mix and filling the pot with boiling water. Strain off the liquid throughout the day. This mix can be taken long term.

Sponge some witch hazel or other astringent herbs such as lady's mantle, oak bark, horse chestnut, bayberry bark, cransebill, herb robert or tormentil tea or tincture over the areas to shrink and tone the veins. Repeat regularly.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Pressure stockings can help to prevent the blood from pooling and help to push the blood along the veins. Make sure you check with your doctor or health care provider that they are not too tight as this can cause further problems.

Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a glass, add some baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) until the fizzing stops then fill the glass up to half with water and drink one glass daily. It should taste more or less like water. This recipe is taken from earthclinic.com

Regular gentle massage can help to drain the blood from the veins and prevent the veins from inflaming. Add a few drops of some specific healing essential oils such as Helichrysum and Cypress to 50ml of base oil for added therapeutic effect.

Alternating hot and cold packs over the affected areas will help to pump the blood along and tighten and strengthen the vein walls. Hot and cold showers will have the same effect.

Raise the affected leg whenever possible to help the blood to flow back towards the heart. Consider raising the foot of your bed  (slip a few books under the legs of the bed) at night for the same effect.


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