Natural Health

Q. I have thread veins appearing around my nose and across my cheeks. What can you recommend to clear these, or minimise their appearance?

Natural Health

A. This type of vein is common, although typically on the legs — but they can occur anywhere on the body or face. Mostly, they are superficial, but in a few cases these thread, or spider, veins can cause discomfort or other issues.

As with most skin problems, treatment is internal and external. A. Vogel’s Venaforce contains a gastro-resistant formulation of horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) so the tablet won’t break down in the stomach (where it won’t irritate) but in the small intestine where it won’t have an irritating effect.

Horse chestnut restores tone and elasticity to the circulatory system and reduces swelling. It is prescribed by natural practitioners for varicose veins and similar conditions.

To treat the thread veins externally, I like JASON Natural Cosmetics vitamin K crème plus. Vitamin K promotes healthy circulation and strengthens the capillaries. This formula was created to treat broken capillaries on the face and dark circles under the eyes.

Venaforce and vitamin K crème plus are available from health stores or www.hereshealth — €11.20 for 30 tablets and €29.99 for 57g.

Q. Is it true that Boswellia herb can be used as an alternative to ibuprofen for pain relief? If so, how do I use it as an interim measure for headaches? Do I take two tablets every four hours, as for conventional tablets?

A. Boswellia, also known as Indian Frankincense, is produced from the gum of the Boswellia serrata tree. It can be used in place of conventional, over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory pain medication such as ibuprofen, particularly if your headaches are tension-related.

The active ingredient in Boswellia is Boswellic acid, which supports the vascular system by relieving inflammation and restriction of the blood vessels. Take 300mg of Boswellia, three times daily to treat an intense headache — take the first dose when you feel the pain coming on.

For ongoing pain relief for sports injuries, menstrual cramping, arthritis, etc, halve this to 150mg, three times daily. In the case of a chronic musculoskeletal condition, or to preempt menstrual pain, take this supplement as a preventative measure.

While this herb has been shown in the lab to be as effective as ibuprofen, but without the side-effects, remember that it just dulls the pain.

It does not treat the root cause of your headaches. Uncovering the reason for your headaches is still crucial to your long-term health. Solgar’s standardised, full-potency Boswellia resin extract costs €22.02 for 60 x 100mg vegecaps from health stores.

Relaxation training, biofeedback, tai chi, and yoga all help where injury or stress cause ongoing headaches.

Results from a small, clinical trial indicated that a 15-week programme of tai chi was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of tension headaches when compared to a control group.

Acupuncture is effective at dealing with chronic headaches. In a review of two large trials in people with tension-related headaches, researchers found that acupuncture, along with pain relief, was more effective than using pain relief alone.

It is also worth considering the possibility of food intolerance when it comes to headaches. Working through an elimination diet can be a simple (and cost-effective) way of identifying, or ruling out, potential triggers in your diet.

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