Vasculitis Natural Treatment: 10 Natural Remedies to Explore

Vasculitis is a condition where the blood vessels experience inflammation. This can lead to thickening of the vessel wall, poor blood flow, and damage to the blood vessels. Vasculitis of the legs causes swelling, aches, and pains, and can be very debilitating. In severe cases, vasculitis leads to organ damage or aneurysms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While conventional medicine often treats vasculitis with corticosteroids, complementary medications, or surgery, there are also natural remedies that you can turn to. Oftentimes, less severe forms of vasculitis may not need steroids. Moreover, natural remedies can be great complements to conventional medicine, helping soothe the affected area and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

In this article, we will explore 10 natural vasculitis treatments, their effectiveness, but also their limitations.

10 Natural Remedies for Vasculitis

From the scientifically supported benefits of compression socks to lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments, here are 10 natural remedies you can use to manage symptoms or as a complement to conventional medical treatments. Keep in mind that specific remedies may be more relevant for vasculitis in certain areas than others (e.g., compression socks help with symptoms of vasculitis of either the legs or feet).

1. Wear Compression Socks

Thanks to how graduated compression socks stimulate blood flow in the limbs, they offer an easy and effective tool to manage vasculitis symptoms, according to clinical research. Applying graduated pressure on the lower limbs, these socks help push blood out of the legs and back to the heart. This prevents swelling and blood and fluid pooling at the periphery. Medical research also suggests that compression socks can help reduce inflammation - the primary way vasculitis manifests.

Since most vasculitis-associated swelling is caused by problems in blood flowing through the veins, compression socks could reduce your vasculitis-associated discomfort. Vim & Vigr’s graduated compression garments also provide added support to the joints and lower legs when walking and/or spending prolonged periods of time on your feet. They can also prove extremely helpful at soothing aches and pains, massaging the muscles.

In cases of exercise-induced vasculitis, which can often cause minor injuries like irritated skin and minor swelling, compression socks are an ideal form of treatment and prevention of vasculitis or purpura (small blood pools beneath the skin), according to one study. Runners and walkers can rely on them to prevent further inflammation and swelling.

Discover running & walking compression socks.

cotton compression socks

2. Switch to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is the key cause of vasculitis. Therefore, anything we can do naturally to avoid excessive inflammation is beneficial, especially dietary changes. An anti-inflammatory diet is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation. One scientific study found that vasculitis could potentially go into remission if you eliminate foods that cause inflammation – especially if you have hypersensitive vasculitis. Anyone suffering from vasculitis can benefit from a discussion with a dietitian to understand what dietary changes to make.

Typically, an anti-inflammatory diet includes:

  • Whole, minimally processed foods
  • Added electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium, which can come from leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, bananas, or avocados
  • Avoiding processed foods, raw seafood, or undercooked meat
  • Reduced intake of caffeine, sweetened beverages, and alcohol

People with diabetes or kidney problems need to speak to a doctor about specific requirements to restrict sugar or carbohydrates.

3. Talk to Your Doctor About Herbal Supplements

There is a strong connection between the immune system and vasculitis, since vasculitis occurs when the body unexpectedly starts to attack one’s blood vessels. This is why supplements could be with a natural treatment for the symptoms of vasculitis. Supplements are mostly useful when treating vasculitis in combination with conventional medication. Potentially helpful supplements include:

 

  • Vitamin C & E - one clinical study found that supplementing the diet with Vitamin C & E reduced inflammation in people with vasculitis.  
  • Calcium - to counteract the negative effects of taking corticosteroids, calcium can benefit bone health for vasculitis patients being treated with corticosteroids, according to medical research. You should discuss calcium supplementation with your doctor first.
  • Vitamin D - Vitamin D deficiency is common in people suffering from poor immune system function. Be sure to check your vitamin D levels and discuss supplementation with a medical professional.
  • B vitamins
  • Apple cider vinegar - may be beneficial for the digestive system.

Additionally, some patients may prefer to use herbal supplements or simply add immunity-boosting ingredients like turmeric, garlic, or echinacea to their diet. There are also a variety of herbs that can have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, but there is not enough scientific evidence to know if they can benefit vasculitis patients.

4. Increase Your Intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Clinical research has found that supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids can reduce blood vessel inflammation. These fatty acids are also generally recommended in auto-immune disease patients. You can increase your intake with supplements, but natural ways to add them to your diet include consuming oily fish, like salmon and mackerel.

Relax and soothe sore feet with compression socks.

cotton compression socks for vasculitis

5. Prioritize Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Antioxidant-rich foods are beneficial for reducing the risk of diseases and protecting the immune system and your health overall. Antioxidants can be found in many fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash for beta-carotene, or watermelon and papaya for lycopene.

It is advisable to discuss using antioxidant-rich foods in parallel with an anti-inflammatory diet to ensure there are no conflicts. Consult with your doctor or a dietitian.

6. Support Your Gut Health with Probiotics

2022 study discusses that poor microbiome health may be linked to vasculitis. Patients with this vasculitis have been found to have dysbiosis (or a gut with more bacteria that cause inflammation or immune system problems). Looking after your gut health could improve your symptoms. Natural remedies to improve gut health include increasing your intake of curcumin, pectin, glutamine, and many other foods, according to one study. Speak to a dietitian about supplementing with probiotics or making dietary changes to improve your gut health to treat vasculitis.

7. Manage Your Stress

There are positive benefits to lowering stress levels and exploring mindfulness techniques for both mind and body, especially in individuals with vasculitis. The Vasculitis Foundation discusses that lowering stress levels, cultivating a positive attitude, exploring gratitude, and practicing slow breathing strategies are natural ways to help reduce the impacts of vasculitis.

Moreover, high stress levels are linked to high blood pressure and subsequent possible circulatory complications. To support a healthy cardiovascular system, build effective behaviors that help lower stress.

8. Exercise Regularly

The Vasculitis Foundation also states that regular exercise is a great natural treatment that supports a healthy blood flow and cardiovascular system, which could reduce your vasculitis symptoms. It has also been shown to reduce stress levels and improve overall well being. Therefore, where possible, vasculitis patients may benefit from an improvement in circulation (especially if also wearing compression socks while exercising or afterwards to aid recovery).

However, pace yourself and check with your doctor before starting an exercise regime if you have no previous experience.

Boost stability, muscle support and vascularization by wearing compression socks during and after workouts.

moisture wick nylon compression socks

9. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol

Tobacco greatly increases your risk of developing vasculitis, according to a major study. Overall, stopping smoking is essential to stop further damage to the blood vessels.

Although not that common, alcohol-related vasculitis has been reported in various studies. Reducing alcohol intake is recommended for anyone suffering with auto-immune diseases.

10. Stay Hydrated

Maintaining good levels of hydration helps keep healthy blood flow throughout the body. The more dehydrated you get, the more the blood thickens, which can lead to it pooling in the extremities to cause swelling and pain. This makes vasculitis symptoms worse (especially in the hands, feet, and legs).

Understanding Vasculitis

As a rare condition, vasculitis leads to an inflammation of the blood vessels and has been strongly linked with issues with the immune system. Here are essential facts about vasculitis that you should know.

What is Vasculitis?

Vasculitis refers to an inflammation of the blood vessels, which can cause their walls to thicken. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through them, which causes problems throughout the body, including organ damage in severe cases.

Luckily, vasculitis is quite rare. However, the Mayo Clinic states that it can affect anyone, with age groups over 50 being more at risk. Sometimes, working out can put you more at risk (this is called exercise-induced vasculitis, which tends to occur after vigorous exercise in hot conditions).

Vasculitis of the legs occurs when the lower limb blood vessels become inflamed, and mild cases are common after exercise. It manifests itself through red and purple dots on the skin (petechiae), or larger ones (purpura) that look like bruises. Patients also experience pain and swelling.

Stimulate blood flow in the lower limbs with compression socks.

What are the Symptoms of Vasculitis?

Depending on what type of vasculitis you are suffering from, symptoms can vary, but they typically include the following for everyone:

  • Fever and headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Aches and pains

People who suffer from vasculitis of the hands and feet can experience numbness or weakness in the affected areas. Swelling or hardening is also common. Those who have vasculitis of the legs will suffer from pain and swelling in the lower limbs because of blood pooling in the veins without its usual ability to flow freely throughout the body.

How is Vasculitis Typically Treated?

Vasculitis treatment is focused on controlling inflammation as well as determining and treating the underlying conditions that have led to the vasculitis.

If you experience symptoms such as red and / or purple dots, numbness, unusual swelling, and pain, you should visit your doctor so they can assess your medical history and perform necessary tests to establish whether you suffer from vasculitis. Then, a common treatment is with corticosteroids. Side effects may be common, however, so you need to discuss this with your doctor.

Other medication can be prescribed along with corticosteroids to control inflammation and allow for lower doses of corticosteroids. This depends on the type of vasculitis you have and on the severity of your condition. Finally, vasculitis could sometimes cause an aneurysm, which needs surgery to reduce the risk of it rupturing. Blocked arteries may also need surgical treatment so blood flow can be restored in the affected area.

FAQs About Natural Treatment for Vasculitis

Why Consider Natural Treatment Options for Vasculitis?

Conventional medicine treatment for vasculitis uses corticosteroids, associated with drugs that are immunosuppressive (to fight against the body’s auto-immune process, which triggers the inflammation). While this can work in the short term, corticosteroids might be damaging to your health in the longer term – so talk with your doctor about your options. Some studies have found them to have adverse effects on the metabolic and endocrine systems, on digestion, or even on bone health. However, supplementing corticosteroids with natural treatments could improve your healing journey.

For short-term use in severe cases of vasculitis, corticosteroids could be a good option. Additionally, less severe vasculitis can be managed quite well with natural treatment options, which should hopefully reduce the need for more drastic treatment and medication.

What Are the Limitations of Natural Remedies for Vasculitis?

Although natural remedies can provide relief from vasculitis symptoms, it is important to understand that they do not provide a cure for the condition. They are not 100% proven to work effectively. Finally, in cases of more severe vasculitis, surgery and conventional medical intervention will be unavoidable.

Natural remedies for vasculitis can work in tandem with conventional medicine to help manage and provide relief. Good-quality compression socks, for example, improve peripheral circulation and can help reduce inflammation in the lower limbs. Vim & Vigr medical-grade compression socks also help soothe the aches and pains associated with vasculitis, while any of our other socks are ideal for wearing when you exercise (providing added joint support, protection from cuts and grazes, and breathable comfort). You can discuss using complementary natural remedies like these with your doctor.

Can You Treat Vasculitis without Steroids?

Although corticosteroids are the accepted conventional medicine treatment for vasculitis, many patients prefer to turn to natural remedies to manage their condition. This is effective, up to a point. It is important to understand that more advanced vasculitis cases may need steroids and complementary drugs to treat vasculitis. In severe cases of vasculitis, patients may need surgery to unblock their arteries or remove aneurysms (a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel).

If you use conventional medicine treatments for vasculitis, you can also resort to natural remedies as complementary therapy. Many doctors prescribe compression socks to boost peripheral blood flow, while lifestyle changes to naturally treat vasculitis (like quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, improving hydration levels, or taking up regular exercise) are all going to have a positive impact on your health and reduce symptoms of vasculitis.

References

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022). Vasculitis - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Read it here.

Sunderkötter, C., Bonsmann, G., Sindrilaru, A., & Luger, T. (2005). Management of leukocytoclastic vasculitis. The Journal of dermatological treatment, 16(4), 193–206. Read it here.

Moñux, G., Serna-Soto, M., Plá-Sanchez, F., Zamorano-León, J. J., Segura, A., Rial, R., Freixer, G., Zekri-Nechar, K., Hugo-Martínez, C., Serrano, J., & López-Farré, A. (2021). Compression stockings attenuate the expression of proteins associated with vascular damage in human varicose veins. Journal of vascular surgery. Venous and lymphatic disorders, 9(2), 428–434. Read it here.

Espitia, O., Dréno, B., Cassagnau, E., Didier, Q., Quillard, T., Nicol, C., Le Bouch, Y., Planchon, B., & Pistorius, M. A. (2016). Exercise-Induced Vasculitis: A Review with Illustrated Cases. American journal of clinical dermatology, 17(6), 635–642. Read it here.

Lunardi, C., Bambara, L. M., Biasi, D., Zagni, P., Caramaschi, P., & Pacor, M. L. (1992). Elimination diet in the treatment of selected patients with hypersensitivity vasculitis. Clinical and experimental rheumatology, 10(2), 131–135. Read it here.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2023). Vasculitis – Causes and Risk Factors. NHLBI.NIH.gov. Read it here.

Harper, L., Nuttall, S. L., Martin, U., & Savage, C. O. (2002). Adjuvant treatment of patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis with vitamins E and C reduces superoxide production by neutrophils. Rheumatology (Oxford, England), 41(3), 274–278. Read it here.

Homik, J., Suarez-Almazor, M. E., Shea, B., Cranney, A., Wells, G., & Tugwell, P. (2000). Calcium and vitamin D for corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 1998(2), CD000952. Read it here.

Pisaniello, A. D., Psaltis, P. J., King, P. M., Liu, G., Gibson, R. A., Tan, J. T., Duong, M., Nguyen, T., Bursill, C. A., Worthley, M. I., Nicholls, S. J., & Di Bartolo, B. A. (2021). Omega-3 fatty acids ameliorate vascular inflammation: A rationale for their atheroprotective effects. Atherosclerosis, 324, 27–37. Read it here.

Ried, K., Travica, N., Dorairaj, R., & Sali, A. (2020). Herbal formula improves upper and lower gastrointestinal symptoms and gut health in Australian adults with digestive disorders. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 76, 37–51. Read it here.

Vasculitis Foundation. (n.d.). Self-Care – Promoting Well-Being. Vasculitis Foundation. Read it here.

Vasculitis Foundation. (n.d.). Living Well – Physical Wellness Program. Vasculitis Foundation. Read it here.

McDermott, G., Fu, X., Stone, J. H., Wallwork, R., Zhang, Y., Choi, H. K., & Wallace, Z. S. (2020). Association of Cigarette Smoking With Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis. JAMA internal medicine, 180(6), 870–876. Read it here.

Basu, P., Russell-Goldman, E., Nazarian, R. M., & Das, S. (2020). Alcohol-Associated Immunoglobulin A Vasculitis: A Case Report and Review of the Literature. Dermatopathology (Basel, Switzerland), 6(4), 288–293. Read it here


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