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No, mixture of toothpaste and onions not remedy for varicose veins

A Facebook post shared in Nigeria in December 2020 gives detailed instructions on how to “get rid of” varicose veins using a mixture made of toothpaste and other common household ingredients. 

It lists the ingredients – Colgate toothpaste, onions, Vaseline, honey and cinnamon powder – and says: “Mix all ingredients together and apply on the affected vein, scrub by giving those vein little pitch allow to stay on skin for 1 hour wash off. Repeat after 3 days.”

Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins, according to the US-based Mayo Clinic. The veins in your legs most often become “varicosed” because “standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body”, says the clinic.

Smaller varicose veins are commonly called spider veins. They require less invasive treatment and disappear faster than larger varicose veins, says the American Academy of Dermatology Association

Dermatologists advise a variety of treatments, including compression and laser therapy. But could the unusual mixture promoted on Facebook get rid of varicose veins too?

Not scientifically proven

Onions are known to be a source of flavonoids and some research shows they may play a role in the prevention and treatment of varicose veins.

However, experts told Africa Check there is no scientific proof that a mixture of toothpaste, onion and other ingredients could be used to get rid of varicose veins. 

“There is no scientific basis for this mixture. We do not use this combination to treat varicose veins. In severe cases, we mostly carry out surgery. In milder cases, we advise the use of crepe bandages or long stockings,” Samuel Agaja, professor of surgery in the faculty of clinical sciences at the University of Ilorin in western Nigeria, told Africa Check.

He advised people with varicose veins to see a surgeon who can prescribe an appropriate treatment, rather than using untested therapies.

Lohfa Chirdan, professor of surgery at the University of Jos in central Nigeria, said varicose veins could not be treated using concoctions like this

“Compression stockings are recommended to improve blood circulation in the legs. For severe cases, the patient might undergo a surgical procedure called stripping.” 

Save your toothpaste for the purpose for which it is intended, and see a doctor if you are concerned about varicose veins. – Catherine Olorunfemi


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