15 Home Remedies for Swollen Lymph Nodes

doctor looking at child for swollen lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes or lymph glands are usually an indicator that there is an infection in your body. This article will examine 15 home remedies for swollen lymph nodes (aka. Lymphadenitis), first, let’s consider the cause of swollen lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes act as filters against viruses and bacteria. Their function is to be the first line of attack against these foreign bodies. When they are overwhelmed with a particularly heavy amount of work, they become inflamed and tender.

Most of the time swollen lymph node discomfort can be relieved at home, but these remedies are not inclusive. In severe cases, it’s best to consult your health care provider.

15 Home Remedies for Swollen Lymph Nodes

Castor Oil

castor oil on a table

Though we’re a couple of generations removed from the time when a teaspoon of castor oil was the cure for everything, its use is making a comeback, especially for treating swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

1. Gently rub some cold-pressed castor oil on the swollen area for 5 minutes.
2. Apply a warm compress for another 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Repeat twice daily for a week.

How it works: castor oil’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties help to improve the flow of lymph throughout the body and speed up the removal of toxins.

Warm Compress

Besides being used along with castor oil and other essential oils to help make them more effective, a warm compress also brings some localized relief to swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • Place a clean cloth in hot water.
  • Wring out the excess water.
  • Apply to the tender area for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Repeat several times a day.

How it works: the warmth helps to increase blood circulation helping to reduce swelling and pain, and also helps to circulate essential oils into the lymphatic system.


Many people make use of Echinacea the moment they feel a cold coming on, probably because it can help relieve the swelling and tenderness of swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:
There are several ways to take this herb:

  • As a cream applied to the swollen area 2 to 3 times daily..
  • Drink 2 cups of echinacea tea daily for not more than 1 week.
  • Echinacea also comes in capsules. Take 300 mg, twice daily for a week.

Note: never consume this herb internally for more than one week. People with autoimmune disorders need to avoid it entirely.

How it works: echinacea contains strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help to boost the function of your lymph nodes.


Calendula flower or pot marigold, is another blast from the past that is making a comeback. These sunny little flowers have been bringing relief from swelling and infection for thousands of years.

What to do:

  • Infuse ¼ cup of fresh or 1/8 cup dry calendula petals in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.
  • Pour through a strainer.
  • Add honey.
  • Drink 2 or 3 times a day.

How it works:
Plant pharmacological studies conclude that calendula has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties help to enhance your body’s lymphatic function.


Though not as common as the other remedies we’ve listed, cleavers or goosegrass is a potent anti-inflammatory that can ease the discomfort of your swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • Add 2 tsp of cleavers per cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and drink 2 or 3 times daily until your condition improves.
  • You can also take 20 to 30 drops of cleavers tincture mixed with water daily.

How it works: this herb helps reduce swelling and tenderness by stimulating lymphatic function.

Honey and Lemon Juice

This old standby might seem a little bit trite, but it has become a standby because both the honey and lemon work to help reduce swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • 2 tsp of raw honey with lemon juice in a cup of hot water. Drink it twice daily for a week.
  • Additonally, apply raw honey on the swollen area for 10 to 15 minutes for 2 or 3 times daily.
  • Raw honey added to other herbs and essential oils helps to boost their effectiveness as well.

How it works: honey is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, so it not only relieves the symptom but also helps fight the cause.


mint plant

The oil from this potent plant is used to treat a number of common respiratory and digestive issues. It’s not surprise that peppermint oil can also relieve swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • Massage a few drops of oil on the affected area for 5 minutes.
  • Apply a warm compress for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Repeat several times a day.

How it works: peppermint not only relieves the pain, but it is also antibacterial, so it will kill the bacteria that are contributing to your discomfort as well.


With its antibacterial and antifungal properties garlic is one of the best and most readily available home remedies for swollen lymph nodes. You can use garlic in a number of different forms.

What to do:

  • Chew a clove of raw garlic twice a day.
  • Consume garlic capsule supplements.
  • Apply garlic oil to the swollen area and add a warm compress.

How it works: a raw clove of garlic is high in allicin and other beneficial enzymes and compounds. This antibiotic food fights off infection to bring relief to swollen lymph nodes, but be careful not to heat it, because heating garlic destroys the allicin.


Though turmeric is best known as one of the main ingredients in curry powder, raw turmeric has extremely powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic qualities to help bring relief to your swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • Mix 1 Tbsp turmeric with enough honey to form a paste.
  • Apply paste to swollen area.
  • Add a warm compress for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Turmeric is also found in capsule form, just like garlic and is most effective when consumed along with black pepper.

How it works: studies confirm that turmeric is an extremely effective antimicrobial herb. It is used to fight a number of serious medical conditions.


Believe it or not, even a soothing massage helps to relieve your swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

• Gently massage the lymph nodes for about 5 minutes making use of an essential oil or without.
• Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.
• Or consult a professional massage therapist.

How it works: massage helps to increase circulation, which reduces pain and swelling, but it also helps drain the lymphatic system and get rid of the toxins that are causing the problem.


Loaded with antioxidants, B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients, spirulina is one of the best home remedies for swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • Add organic spirulina to your favorite smoothie.
  • Drink 2 to 3 times a day.
  • You can also get spirulina in capsule form.

How it works: the anti-inflammatory properties of spirulina along with the addition of antioxidants helps to alleviate the symptoms of swollen lymph nodes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another of the common home remedies for swollen lymph nodes. To get the most out of it, make sure you use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

What to do:

  • Put 2 tsp in a cup of warm water to gargle and rinse several times daily.
  • Or put 2 Tbsp in a cup of warm water and drink it twice daily.

How it works: by creating an alkaline environment in your body, apple cider vinegar assists your immune system in getting rid of the foreign agents that are creating the problem.


The great thing about elderberry is that it not only relieves your swollen lymph nodes, but also helps get rid of the infection that has caused them to swell.

What to do:

  • Boil a teaspoon of elderberry flowers or a tablespoon of crushed berries in a cup of water to drink it as a tea 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Or you can make elderberry syrup to be consumed 2 to 3 times a day.

How it works: elderberry has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties for relieving your symptoms.

Mullein Leaves

Though mullein leaves are not as common as some of the other remedies, they are extremely effective at treating swollen lymph nodes.

What to do:

  • Chop mullein leaves into small pieces.
  • Add to boiling water.
  • Let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Drink 2 to 3 times daily.

How it works: mullein leaves have strong antiviral and antibacterial properties that have been effective at treating major respiratory illnesses.


You can’t get a more basic and readily available treatment for swollen lymph nodes than salt.

What to do:

  • ½ tsp of salt in cup of warm water.
  • Gargle thoroughly, spit it out, rinse and repeat.
  • Do this 2 to 3 times per day.

How it works: gargling with salt water helps fight infection in the mouth and throat that are contributing to the condition.

several different types of salt

Wrapping It Up

Swollen lymph nodes are an indicator of some sort of infection in your body. By making use of the home remedies we’ve listed above, you give your lymphatic system a boost to help fight off those foreign bodies and relieve the swelling and tenderness at the same time. If you’ve used these remedies or would like to add to the list, please feel free to comment below.

Images taken from depositphotos.com.