Edema treatment using herbs can reduce the swelling that occurs as a result of accumulation of fluid in the tissues. The fluid can fill the tissues so much that the area can appear swollen and feel tight and painful. Edema most often occurs in the feet, legs and ankles, although it can happen anywhere in the body, including the internal organs, such as lungs. There are several types of edema: anasarca edema, which is generalized swelling all over the body; dependent or peripheral edema, which is swelling in the legs, ankles and feet; peri-orbital edema, which is swelling around the eyes; corneal edema, which is swelling of the cornea in the eye; and pre-eclampsia, which is a problem that occurs in approximately 5% of pregnant women that results in high blood pressure, edema and protein in the urine.
Symptoms of edema include swelling of the area affected, such as lower legs, abdomen, face, unexplained weight gain, puffiness in the face, tightness of rings on the fingers or of shoes on the feet, an enlarged abdominal girth and pitting edema (the persistence of indentation of the skin after pressure is applied) and shortness of breath.
Edema can be caused by conditions that affect protein levels in the blood. Kidney disease, liver disease, malnutrition, injury or surgical procedures and hormonal imbalances are examples of such conditions. Other causes can be heart failure, sedentary lifestyle and too much salt in diet. Swollen ankles & fingers are common in hot weather.
Edema is often a symptom of a serious underlying problem, such as AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, congestive heart failure or diabetes. If swelling is uncomfortable or stays longer than a day or two, see your doctor.
- Juniper this herb will stimulate activity of the kidneys so excess fluid can be eliminated. Chew 5 dried juniper berries carefully on the first day, then six on the second day, increasing in this manner until the eleventh day for a total of 15 berries. At this point start decreasing one berry each day until the 22nd day, ending again at 5 berries. Alternatively, add 3-1/2 ounces of crushed juniper berries to 1 bottle of white wine. Let it stand for 24 to 48 hours and filter out the berries. Drink 4 ounces before lunch and dinner as an effective edema treatment.
- Horsetail - this herb is a natural diuretic and increases the excretion of extra fluid. Drink the tea to aid minor edema. Boil 2 grams dried herb in 2 cups water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink 2 cups a day. Avoid drinking just before bedtime.
- Horse chestnut - use for treatment of leg edema.
- Parsley another natural diuretic good for edema treatment, parsley can be eaten in large amounts or taken as a tea or supplement to flush out the kidneys. The seeds are more diuretic than the leaves.
- Yarrow this herb not only stops bleeding, but helps the body rid itself of excess fluid. Follow the directions on the label for the best results.
- Cleavers - diuretic and tonic. Take as liquid extract or infusion.
- Stinging nettle the tea of this herb is very nourishing to the body and supports the internal organs. It also stimulates the kidneys to excrete excess fluid from the body.
- Watercress this herb tones the liver and cleanses the blood. It is a diuretic and can help break up kidney and bladder stones as well.
- Globe artichoke - stimulates the liver. Take tablets, capsules or liquid extract.
- Hawthorn drink 3 cups of hawthorn tea a day to improve vascular tone and increase the output of urine.
- Dandelion this herb is a natural diuretic and tonic to the system. Pour 1 cup of water over 1 tablespoon of herb. Steep the liquid for 20 minutes and strain before drinking. Take three times per day.
- Meadowsweet - works as diuretic. Take as liquid extract or infusion. Drink 3 - 4 cups of infusion a day.
- Corn silk - take as liquid extract or infusion for diuretic effects.
- Butchers broom - a good edema treatment reported in studies to reduce lower leg edema in women who suffered chronic vein problems.
- Rosemary - treat bloating by drinking 3 cups of Rosemary infusion a day - infuse 3 grams dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink.
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