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Edema Home Remedies

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Here are some easy and effective home remedies to help reduce swelling from edema.

Home remedies for edema are available and they can help reduce the symptoms such as swelling, bloating, and inflammation. Most of these remedies are simple things such as adding more fluids to your diet and reducing your salt intake.  

Though there are several types of over the counter diuretics available to reduce edema, you may also use some home remedies to get relief from the pain and swelling.

You may consider taking natural herbs having diuretic properties, such as a dandelion extract, horse chestnut, ginkgo biloba, and apple cider vinegar to reduce fluid retention. Here are some of the commonly used home remedies for edema:

1. Reduce Your Salt Consumption 

Eating too much salt may result in mild cases of edema. Hence, you must reduce your salt intake to prevent water retention in the body. Consult your doctor to determine how much salt you consume in a day to control your edema. 

Consume a low-sodium diet, and avoid foods that may have a higher concentration of sodium. Some foods to avoid are commercial pancakes, microwave popcorn, and waffles, instant hot cereals, ready-to-eat bran and oat cereals, salty snack crackers, and pretzels. 

Medline Plus recommends eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned selections, which may often contain added salt to preserve color and freshness. 

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known to remove extra fluids from the cells of the body and reduce edema. It also helps in reducing the swelling associated with edema. 

You may use vinegar wraps to alleviate inflammation and pain. You may also consume unfiltered apple cider vinegar with water to reduce fluid retention

3. Natural Herbs

Many people prefer using lifestyle changes and herbs that have diuretic properties to reduce edema. Dandelion is an effective diuretic that may help remove excess fluid. It is one of the few diuretics that doesn’t create a potassium deficiency.

Ginkgo Biloba is an effective herb that can be used to enhance circulation while improving blood flow. This helps reduce edema.

Horse Chestnut is known to reduce leakage of fluids from the capillaries while promoting overall circulatory health. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling.

You may consider using a fluid retention remedy such as Capisette that contains uva ursi extracts, horse chestnut, ginkgo biloba, and buchu.

Crushed flax seeds are also useful for reducing edema. You can prepare this herbal remedy yourself at home by crushing some flax seeds into powder. This powder should then be sprinkled on food to be eaten.

For those who find powdered flax seeds distasteful, they can use its oil. This is applied directly to the affected area. Its astringent property can help reduce the extent of swelling.

Mustard oil works just like flaxseed oil and it can be applied to swollen parts of the body the same way. The same benefit can also be obtained by soaking some mustard seeds in water and then applying the solution to the swollen surface.

Coriander seeds are also useful for edema. To use as a home remedy, boil some coriander seeds until half of the water has evaporated. Then removed the seeds by filtering; drinking the resulting solution can help reduce swelling in different parts of the body.

Tea tree oil is used to reduce localized edema or inflammation caused by an insect bite. Simply mix the oil with a little neem, then rub it on the affected surface to reduce the pain and swelling.

4. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy works by creating pressure on the affected skin and muscle areas. It activates the lymphatic system and the fluid drains away naturally.

You may try stroking the affected area toward your heart using firm, but painless pressure. This may help move the excess fluid from that area.

Besides massage therapy, there are other simple postural exercises to do at home to bring down the swelling.

For leg or pedal edema, the patient is usually advised to raise her legs above the level of her heart for 30 minutes three to four times daily. This basic posture can also be applied to other swollen parts of the body. It can also be done while you are asleep.

By raising the swollen part of the body above the heart level, you will create a pressure differential that returns some of the fluid to the heart. This triggers your heart to become more efficient in pumping blood around the circulatory system.

You can also use exercises to help reduce the swelling. Prolonged sitting and standing should be avoided since it promotes the pooling of fluids to your feet.

Movement is encouraged especially using the part of the body affected by the edema. Such movement does not have to be strenuous exercises but they should be significant enough to help you pump back the excess fluid to your heart.

5. Compression Stockings

If your legs are affected by edema, your doctor may recommend you wearing compression stockings. These garments keep the pressure on your legs to prevent excess fluid from collecting in the tissues.

According to New York University's Langone Medical Center, these socks have two main uses: they reduce leakage of fluid from the capillaries and squeeze the blood vessels to prevent the blood from pooling and causing possible blood clots.

Compression stockings come in different lengths. Some are knee-length, some thigh-high, and others qualify as pantyhose.

Depending on the severity of the edema, these stockings are made to have differing degrees of compression.

People with mild edema can buy non-prescription compression stockings from their local pharmacies or drug stores. These stockings provide only a small amount of compression and they are may not be perfect fits since they are made to fit the typical leg measurements of the average adult.

For those with moderate to severe edema, prescription stockings are recommended. These stockings are made on order.

Hospitals usually stock prescription stockings of different sizes and measurements. When a doctor prescribes such, the patient’s leg measurements are taken, and then the appropriate compression stockings are issued out.

Alternatively, this measurement can be taken at a specialty store or a surgical supply store after the patient obtains a prescription from her doctor.

It should be noted that the white stockings or “anti-embolism stockings” commonly issued in hospitals do not qualify to be called compression stockings. This is because these anti-embolism stockings do not produce sufficient pressure at the ankles to effectively reduce edema.

Compression stockings can be uncomfortable to wear especially if they are not issued according to the patient’s leg measurements.

Skin irritation and compressive pain are the two most common complaints against compression stockings. These can be reduced by getting stockings that are tailored to the patient’s legs with the proper measurements and fitting.

Adaptive footwear can also help reduce the discomfort of regular footwear for edema patients. This footwear is made to look like regular footwear but provides enough pressure at the ankles to help remove excess fluid from the legs. They work exactly like compression stockings.

Adaptive clothing work similarly to provide comfort to the patient. These are made to reduce edema in other parts of the body.

For those whose hands and arms are affected by edema, compression gloves and sleeves are also available. They also work by keeping the pressure on the swollen part of the body to return the excess fluids to the lymphatic system.

Next Article: Edema Diet: Foods to Avoid for Edema