15 Home Remedies for Edema

Woman bandaging patient with edema on their leg

The swelling of extremities is not only uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it tends to disrupt your typical daily routine and interrupt sleep as well. Getting relief from edema is something which those who have experienced it consider a major priority. Many home remedies for edema can bring quick relief and are already in your kitchen.

Please note that although these are effective remedies for treating the symptoms of edema and eliminating certain types of edema, there are other types of edema which are related to liver, kidney, and other systemic issues and you should consult a healthcare professional for advice and treatment related to these more serious conditions.

1. Flaxseeds

Among the top home remedies for edema are flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation. In addition, flaxseeds aid in detoxification, which helps to remove toxins related to swelling and water retention.

What to do:

  • Add ½ tsp of ground flaxseeds to a glass of warm water.
  • Drink this twice daily.
  • In addition, you can use flaxseed oil to massage the area a couple of times per day.

2. Lower Salt Intake

several different types of salt

Lowering your salt intake is probably one of the first considerations to keep in mind when dealing with edema. High amounts of sodium tend to cause you to retain more water. Limiting your sodium intake to less than 2300 mg (about 1 tsp) can significantly reduce edema.

What to do:

  • Besides limiting and/or replacing salt with other herbal seasonings in your cooking, avoid prepackaged snacks and fast food, which tend to have ENORMOUS amounts of sodium in them.
  • Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables in place of canned versions in order to limit salt intake as well.
  • Avoid eating out as often as possible.

3. Exercise

Exercise is one of the essential remedies for treating edema. Those with a sedentary lifestyle are at a much greater risk of developing and continuing to struggle with edema. Physical exercise both reduces the intensity of the symptoms and can even reverse the condition altogether by encouraging greater circulation in the extremities.

What to do:

  • For every hour spent sitting, you should spend 3 to 5 minutes walking.
  • Walk or cycle 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week.
  • Stretching and yoga can help improve circulation.
  • Swimming is another activity which can greatly help with swelling and circulation at the same time.

4. Potassium

Because potassium deficiency is a major contributor to edema, making sure that you have enough potassium in your diet is one of the most logical home remedies for edema. Though potassium does not contribute directly to edema, it helps to regulate sodium in your bloodstream, so low potassium tends to allow sodium to get out of control.

What to do:

  • Be sure to include plenty of tomatoes and tomato juice in your diet along with raisins, bananas, white beans and kidney beans.
  • Ripe mangos are high in potassium as is green papaya. Not sure about green papaya, then try out a Thai salad recipe with green papaya.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Eliminating edema is also possible using apple cider vinegar. Being high in potassium, ACV helps to replenish depleted potassium levels. In addition, ACV has anti-inflammatory effects to help reduce pain and swelling fast.

What to do:

  • Mix 1 to 2 tsp of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water.
  • Drink this mixture twice daily.
  • As an alternative, you can also mix equal parts of ACV and warm water and soak a clean cloth in the mixture.
  • Wrap the saturated towel around the affected area and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.
  • Repeat this second remedy several times a day.

6. Elevating Limbs

This is one of the least expensive and simplest home remedies for edema. Elevating limbs above the level of the heart helps to clear the swelling out of the affected area and improves circulation to that area.

What to do:

  • Rest your hands and arms at a level above your heart for 30 minutes 3 times a day to reduce edema in upper extremities.
  • For lower extremities, use pillows or wedges to elevate feet and lower legs above heart level for 30 minutes 3 times per day.

7. Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil in spa

Some edemas are caused by bites or stings from insects or plants and tea tree oil is the best remedy for this type of edema. Besides being an antiseptic, tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties to help bring soothing relief to the affected area as well.

What to do:

  • Using a cotton swab or cosmetic pad, apply a few drops of tea tree oil to the affected area and allow it to absorb.
  • Repeat this remedy as needed.
  • An alternative use for other forms of edema is adding a few drops of tea tree oil to olive or coconut oil to use as massage oil.

8. Massage

Massage is another means by which you can reduce the swelling and pain associated with edema. Regular massage not only activates the lymphatic system to help break up and drain fluids from the affected area, but it also encourages better circulation, which helps to prevent edema.

What to do:

  • Warm 1 to 2 tsp of mustard, olive or coconut oil.
  • Massage the affected area gently using the massage oil.
  • Repeat this process several times per day.

9. Parsley

Among the top herbs used in home remedies for edema is parsley. Parsley is a mild diuretic, which helps to remove excess fluids from your body. In addition, parsley plays a role in helping to balance sodium in the bloodstream due to its abundance of potassium.

What to do:

  • Add 1 tsp of dried parsley or 1 Tbsp of freshly chopped parsley to 2 cups of water and boil it for 10 minutes.
  • Strain out the tea and drink it first thing in the morning every day before eating or drinking anything else.
  • An alternate use is to crush fresh parsley with a touch of olive oil and apply it over the affected area. Allow it to stand for 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
  • Add more parsley to your soups, salads sandwiches and other dishes as well.

10. Dandelion

dandelion on black background

Another diuretic which is quite effective at relieving edema is dandelion. This weed from your yard is high in potassium, which helps to balance out sodium and its diuretic effects help to eliminate excess fluids from your body as well. In addition, dandelion is considered a natural aid for liver and kidney health.

What to do:

  • Boil 1 cup of water and add 1 tsp of dried dandelion or 1 Tbsp of fresh dandelion leaves into it.
  • Cover and steep the tea for 5 to 7 minutes before straining out the tea.
  • Drink this tea 2 to 3 times daily.

11. Turmeric

When it comes to anti-inflammatory herbs, nothing beats turmeric and nothing is more effective at reducing the symptoms of edema either. The compound, curcumin, is the active ingredient in turmeric and it is a compound which studies indicate is more powerful than nearly all pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory medications, but without the liver-damaging side effects. Curcumin can not only help with inflammation, but it also encourages better circulation as well.

What to do:

  • Add 1 tsp of turmeric to a warm glass of milk and add in a pinch of pepper (this is essential to help your body absorb the curcumin).
  • Stir continuously while drinking this mixture because the turmeric will not dissolve in the milk.
  • Repeat this remedy twice a day.

12. Coriander Seeds

Similar to parsley and turmeric, coriander seeds are another of most potent herbs used in home remedies for edema. Like its cousin parsley, coriander has anti-inflammatory properties and also encourages blood circulation. In addition, coriander seeds are also high in potassium to help regulate sodium levels.

What to do:

  • Add 3 Tbsp of coriander seeds to 1 ½ cup of boiling water.
  • Simmer the solution until the water reduces by half.
  • Strain out the seeds and drink this tea 2 to three times daily.
  • Eating coriander, or cilantro, is a great way to continuously prevent edema.

13. Epsom Salt

A soak in an Epsom salt bath is a great way to help reduce edema as well. The magnesium sulfate, which is the chemical makeup of Epsom salt, is not only effective at reducing inflammation, but it also works to draw toxins and excess fluids out of your body.

What to do:

  • Dissolve 2 cups of Epsom salt in warm bathwater.
  • Soak for at least 15 minutes in the solution.
  • Repeat this 3 times per week.
  • Alternatively, you can soak individual extremities in a smaller foot tub or basin with a solution of ½ cup Epsom salt in the tub of water.
  • You can repeat this alternate remedy daily.

14. Magnesium

While we are on the subject of magnesium, let’s take a closer look at how it helps to reduce the symptoms of edema as well. Magnesium is another mineral which helps to maintain sodium balance, but it also helps to regulate the inflammatory response. Low magnesium has a tendency to add to the risk of edema.

What to do:

  • You can take a magnesium supplement under the direction of a healthcare professional.
  • A better solution is to increase your consumption of magnesium-rich foods, many of which are also on the list of high potassium foods.

15. Vitamin B6

A final solution among the effective home remedies for edema is vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 deficiency decreases dopamine in the kidneys and therefore allows for an increase in sodium excretion. Vitamin B6 along with potassium and magnesium help to maintain this critical sodium balance to prevent edema.

What to do:

  • You can take 50 mg twice daily of vitamin B6 under the advice of your healthcare provider.
  • A better alternative is to increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamin B6.

Conclusion

There is no point in continuing to suffer the pain and discomfort of edema when there are so many natural solutions available. Making use of one or several of the 15 home remedies for edema on this list, you can get back into your regular routine without the pain and swelling. Finally, be sure to add any questions, comments and additional remedies in the comments section below as well.

Image source: depositphotos.com

Clara Sherwood

Clara Sherwood

Clara was born and grew up in Great Britain, and although she’s now happier with the weather in North Carolina where she resides with her partner, she does miss the ubiquitous teacakes. She graduated from a master’s in literature and worked for about 5 years at local news magazines as a reporter.

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