Cardiovascular System Herbal Protocol


Illness/ Disease Definition

  • Elated, dilated, tortuous veins whose valves are congenitally absent or scant or have become incompetent; this condition usually occurs in the legs.
  • Varicose veins are enlarged superficial veins in the legs.

Etiology (causes)

  • Inadequate support of vein walls due to heredity, obesity, aging, and posture.
  • Increased resistance to the free flow of blood back into the trunk due to pregnancy, thrombosis, tumors, or tight clothing.


Varicose Veins are a common problem that affects between 10% and 20% of the population.  Incidence increases with age, and it is most common in people older than 50.  In addition, varicose veins are four times more common in women than in men.

Allopathic Treatments

Allopathic treatments do not cure varicose veins, they only relieve symptoms.

  • Wearing elastic stockings (support hose)
  • Elevating the legs – by lying down or by using a footstool when sitting.
  • Surgical removal of the veins
  • Injection therapy
Signs and SymptomsBody System Afected
Phlebitis (inflammation of vein)
Pain (not always)
Purple Spider Veins

 Actions needed: Vascular Tonics, Circulatory Stimulants, Astringents, Anti-inflammatories, Emollients and Demulcents

Crataegus spp.  
Antispasmodic, Astringent, Diuretic, Hypotensive, Sedative, Tonic (Vascular), Vasodilator
Zanthoxylum americanum      
Alterative, Anodyne, Antirheumatic, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Hepatic, Irritant, Stimulant (Circulatory), Tonic
Gingko biloba      
Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Bitter, Neuroprotective, Nutritive, Relaxant, Stimulant (Circulatory), Stimulant (Uterine), Tonic (Vascular), Vasodilator
Achillea millefolium            
Anti-hemorrhagic, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antipyretic, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Bitter, Carminative, Cholertic, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Hemostatic, Hepatic, Hypotensive, Peripheral Vasodilator, Styptic, Tonic (Vascular), Vulnerary
Aesculus hippocastanum         *Tincture  
Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Bitter, Diuretic, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Tonic (Vascular)
Hypericum perforatum    
*oil for external use only  
Anti-depressant, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Expectorant, Nervine Relaxant, Tonic (Nervine), Vulnerary
Symphytum officinale  
*external use only  
Anodyne, Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Demulcent, Emollient, Expectorant, Hemostatic, Refrigerant, Vulnerary
Calendula officinales
Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Astringent, Aperient, Cholagogue, Demulcent, Diaphoretic, Emmenagogue, Emollient, Immuno-stimulant, Lymphatic, Vulnerary
Hamamelis virginiana  
*external use only  
Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Hemostatic, Sedative, Tonic
Stachys officinalis
Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Anticatarrhal, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-tumor, Aphrodisiac, Astringent, Bitter, Carminative, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Hypotensive, Nervine Relaxant, Sedative, Tonic (Vascular), Vulnerary


Topical Salve: Calendula, Comfrey, Wood Betony, Witch Hazel Bark, St. John’s Wort Oil

Tincture:  One Part each: Hawthorn, Prickly Ash, Gingko, Yarrow, Horse Chestnut.  Take up to 5ml of tincture three times a day

For External Use: 80ml Distilled Witch Hazel, 10ml Horse Chestnut tincture, 10 ml Comfrey tincture.  Apply liberally as needed to ease irritation and discomfort.


  • Calendula- Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding. 
  • Comfrey- Do not take internally. Do not use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not give to young children. Limit external application of mature leaves to intact skin to 10 days.
  • Gingko- Do not use if pregnant.  Use caution if taking blood thinners.
  • Hawthorn- High doses can cause low blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and sedation. May interact with various medications. Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid driving and other hazardous activities until you know how this herb affects you.
  • Horse Chestnut- Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding.  Use caution if taking blood thinners.  Do not use if you have a bleeding disorder.  May turn urine red.
  • Prickly Ash- Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant. Do not use while taking Antabuse, aspirin or other drugs containing salicylates, or blood thinners.
  • St. John’s Wort- May reduce the half life of some medications.  Please check all drug interactions. Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding. 
  • Witch Hazel- Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding.  Do not use internally.
  • Wood Betony- Do not use if pregnant (may stimulate uterus).  Use with caution- may cause liver damage or upset stomach.
  • Yarrow- Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding.   Long term use can lead to photosensitivity and rashes.  Use with caution if you’re drinking alcohol, taking CNS depressants, Antabuse, blood thinners,  or drugs that lower blood pressure.

Recommendations for Diet and Lifestyle


  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Drink Water


  • Vitamin A: 10,000 IU/day
  • Vitamin B Complex: 10 to 100 mg/day
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: 1 to 3 g/day
  • Vitamin E: 200 to 600 IU/day
  • Magnesium: 800mg to 1200mg/day
  • Zinc: 15 to 30mg/day

Lifestyle Recommendations:

  • Avoid tight, restrictive clothing. 
  • Gentle exercise, such as walking and stretching.  (More vigorous exercises that involve repeated impact can exacerbate varicose veins.)
  • For at least 10 minutes each day, rest with your legs higher than your head.  (Alternatively, you could elevate the foot of your bed 6 to 12 inches to promote venous return from the legs while you sleep.)

References & Resources:

Foundations of Medicinal Herbalism, Teresa Boardwine RH.

Jolene’s Herbalism Pages.

Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman, FNIMH

The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines, Charles W. Fetrow, Pharm.D. & Juan R. Avila, Pharm.D.

The Merck Manual of Medical Information: Home Edition, Robert Berkow, M.D. & Mark H. Beers, M.D. & Andrew J. Fletcher, M.B., B.Chir. , 1997.