Swollen ankles and feet, puffy eyes and a general feeling of heaviness — yes, you may have edema. And no, you don’t need to be pregnant to get it!
Edema, in simpler terms, is water retention. Water tends to accumulate between cells in your soft tissue and can occur due to many conditions. Edema on its own is not a disease but is a sign of an underlying disorder that should be checked and treated. Edema can occur due to kidney disease, pregnancy, allergic reaction, lymph node tumor, liver disease and certain types of medications, such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids.
Types of Edema:
There are different types of edema affecting different parts of the body. They are categorized as:
- Pitting: When you apply pressure on the skin and an indentation forms, it is known as pitting edema.
- Non-pitting: When you apply pressure and no indentation occurs, it is referred to as non-pitting edema.
While there are home remedies for edema, you should never ignore it. In fact, while you are using edema home remedies, make it a point to consult a doctor, so that you know the underlying cause. Home remedies can give you relief from edema but cannot cure the disease that causes it.
Home Remedies for Edema:
There are several home remedies for edema and for most of these, you require simple ingredients that are found in almost all homes. So you should not have a problem following these edema remedies.
Grind flaxseeds and sprinkle it on your food. Not only will this ease the edema, it will also provide your body with many beneficial nutrients. If you find the taste of flaxseeds not up to your liking, you can easily get flaxseed oil and apply it on the affected part.
2. Mustard Oil:
There is nothing more soothing than a nice massage with some warm oil. So, get cracking and warm up some mustard oil and use gentle circular motions to apply it on the affected part of your body. This will stimulate blood and lymph flow, helping excess water to drain out from the soft tissue. You can also add two teaspoons of the oil in a glass of warm water and apply the water on your body.
3. Fennel Seeds:
Boil 500 ml of water and add a teaspoon of sugar. Add 12 gm fennel seeds to the water and allow it to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the water and consume it every day to alleviate the swelling from your feet and ankles.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Many people consume apple cider vinegar as a daily tonic. It can also help with edema. You can consume it or apply it on the affected part of your body. If you are applying it, make sure you massage it for 5 minutes, so that it enters your skin. It will not only ease the swelling, but also alleviate the accompanying pain.
5. Coriander Seeds:
Add 2 tsp coriander seeds to some water and boil. Reduce the water by half and strain the liquid. Consume the entire liquid in one go. Alternatively, you can boil 100 gm of the seeds in 2 liters of water for about 10 minutes. Strain and use the liquid to soak your legs and ankles.
Extract one glass cucumber juice and consume it every day. Not only will it ease the edema, it also will help to flush out toxins from your body.
7. Dandelion Tea:
Dandelion is a natural diuretic and it can eliminate excess water from your body. To make dandelion tea, bring a cup of water to boil. Remove it from the heat and add fresh dandelion to it, about a teaspoonful. Let the dandelion steep for about 7 minutes before straining. Drink the tea. You should be looking to consume about two to three cups of the tea every day to get effective results.
8. Comfrey and Coltsfoot:
Both these herbs are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with water retention. Boil about four cups of water and add two teaspoons of each herb. Boil the water further for about 5 minutes and strain. Dip a washcloth into the warm liquid, squeeze out excess liquid from it and place it on the swollen part of your body. Continue doing this until the liquid gets cold. You should be looking to use this edema remedy three times a day for best results.
9. Tonic Water:
It may sound strange, but this home remedy for edema can help if your feet are swollen due to water retention. The quinine in tonic water helps to ease the swelling. Soak your feet in some tonic water and you will be amazed at how soothing it feels!
10. Grapefruit Essential Oil:
There is nothing more soothing than a cozy, warm bath. Soaking can ease the swelling, but when you add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil, you will be in heaven. Alternatively, you can mix the oil with a little bit of olive oil and massage the affected area. Make sure you use circular motions while massaging.
11. Epsom Salt:
Run a bath and add Epsom salt to it. Be liberal when adding the Epsom salt. It will not harm you in anyway. It will ease the swelling and also help alleviate the soreness and pain. You will find the bath soothing and relaxing.
12. Ginkgo Biloba:
This herb helps to boost blood circulation by relaxing constricted blood vessels. Take dried ginkgo biloba leaves and add them to boiling water. Remove from the heat and allow the leaves to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and consume.
13. Horse Chestnut:
This plant not only improves blood circulation, but also helps to reduce swelling, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to increase permeability of capillaries, so that excess fluid is reabsorbed by the body. You can easily get horse chestnut oil from a health food store and apply it onto the affected parts of your body. Use circular motions during application.
14. Tea Tree Oil:
This potent oil can help reduce localized edema. Mix the oil with some margosa leaves or margosa (neem) oil and apply it on the affected part of your body. It will ease the edema and also help reduce the pain, if any.
Feet and ankles can get swollen due to prolonged sitting. The best way to get excess fluid out is by being physically active. It will stimulate the fluid to work its way back towards your heart and will ease the swelling.
One of the best home remedies for edema undoubtedly is elevation. Elevate the affected part for around 30 minutes. This helps to drain the excess fluid. Look to do it about three times a day. Usually, when it comes to your feet, you can place a pillow under them.
The best drink to consume when suffering from water retention is water! Many people assume that if they drink water, the edema will worsen. On the contrary, if your body gets dehydrated, the edema will become worse. So, consume a lot of water to get your kidneys active. This will not only decrease edema, but will also help prevent it.
18. Parsley Tea:
Steep two teaspoons of dried parsley in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Strain and consume. You should be looking to drink about three cups of parsley tea every day. Parsley is a natural diuretic and helps in removing excess fluid from the body. However, if you are pregnant, this is not the drink for you.
19. Juniper Berries:
Juniper berries improve the working of your kidneys and also have a diuretic effect on your body. You can get these berries in the form of a tincture. Add 15 drops of the tincture to a glass of water and consume three times a day for best results.
20. Corn Silk:
Corn silk is a potent diuretic and you should use it with care—do not overdo it. Dry the corn silk and steep a tablespoon in a cup of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drink this ‘tea’ three times a day and not more. Also, refrain from drinking before you retire to bed or you will keep getting up in the night.
21. Dandelion Root, Nettle Leaf, Oat Straw, Corn Silk and Fennel Seeds:
Mix two teaspoons of dandelion root and half teaspoon each of fennel seeds, oat straw, nettle leaf and dried corn silk in a cup of boiling water. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for about 20 minutes. Strain and consume two cups a day. It will ease fluid retention and help reduce swelling. One of the effective herbal remedies for edema.
22. Molasses and Aniseed:
In 250 ml of boiling water add half tablespoon of molasses and one tablespoon of aniseed. Continue boiling until the mixture reduces by half. Divide the liquid into four parts and drink throughout the day. It will ease the edema, as long as it is not caused due to an underlying health problem.
23. Barley Water:
If you are pregnant and have edema, this is the home remedy to try. Take some barley in a bowl, add sliced pieces of fresh lemon and pour boiling water over it. Cover and allow the water to cool. Strain and consume as many times as you feel. Barley water tastes bland, so add some honey and a pinch of salt to improve the flavor.
Loaded with antioxidants, garlic can also ease the tenderness and pain that come with edema. Munch on two cloves of garlic to reduce the discomfort. Remember, garlic also helps the body in resorbing excess fluid. So it can ease the swelling as well.
Pineapple contains high levels of chlorine that stimulate the kidneys to flush out excess fluid and toxins from the body. So, one of the best and tastiest ways to ease your edema is to consume fresh pineapple.
As strange as it may sound, cabbage leaves have the ability to help the body absorb excess fluid. So place a couple of cabbage leaves on the affected part of your body and secure them with a bandage. The leaves will help reduce the swelling in a jiffy.
27. Cucumber and Potato:
Just like cabbage leaves, cucumber and potato too can help the body absorb excess fluid. Cut cucumber into strips and place them over the affected area. Then place peeled, slices of potatoes over it and secure the two vegetables with a bandage. Let them stay overnight and do their work. You’ll wake up edema free!
28. Stinging Nettle:
Stinging nettle is a natural diuretic and has been used to treat water retention from medieval times. You can brew a tea of stinging nettle and consume it two or three times a day. It helps to alleviate edema quite effectively.
29. Bitter Gourd:
As unappetizing it may sound, this edema home remedy extremely beneficial in treating edema. Use a paring knife to remove the skin of the bitter gourd and remove the seeds in the center. Cut into small pieces and soak for 30 minutes in water. Add some salt to the water. It will help remove excessive bitterness. Run the bitter gourd pieces through a blender. You can add honey or salt and pepper to make it more palatable. Strain and consume the juice.
30. Margosa Leaves:
Margosa, also known as neem or Indian lilac, has many medicinal properties and one of them is easing edema. Toss a handful of the leaves into boiling water. Remove from heat and allow the leaves to steep for about 20 minutes. Strain and consume. The tea will be bitter, so add a little bit of honey.
A Word of Caution
When you have edema, reduce your salt intake immediately. You should be looking to consume less than 2100 mg of salt on a daily basis. Avoid foods with high salt content and this includes processed foods as well. Some of the herbal diuretics can throw your natural salt balance into chaos. So be extremely careful when using these herbs.
Your edema can get worse if it is too cold or hot. So avoid taking hot showers and baths. Some people like to use the sauna as a way to detoxify their bodies. If you have edema, saunas will not do you any good. During cold weather, make sure you wear warm clothing. Couple these measures with home remedies and you should notice your edema getting better.