25 Natural Remedies For Edema + Causes And Prevention Tips

Reviewed by Dr. Bhakti Kapse, General Physician
by Sucharita Mishra

The swelling that occurs in your body following an injury or inflammation is known as edema. This usually happens because of extra fluid build-up in the tissues and may affect any part of your body. Any body part affected by edema is considered to be edematous. The occurrence of edema is most common in the legs and hands. In this case, it is called peripheral edema.

Edema is often a side effect of medications, pregnancy, and long periods of immobility. Read on to know about the causes and symptoms of edema, along with some simple yet efficient remedies that may be used in its treatment.

How To Treat Edema Naturally

1. Green Tea

Green tea has stimulating and diuretic properties (1). This may help in metabolizing extra fluids in the body. This, in turn, may also help in treating edema.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon green tea extract
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add green tea extract to water and bring this to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add honey for flavor and consume immediately.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2-3 times a day.

2. Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract possesses antioxidant properties (2). This may be used in the treatment of edema.

You Will Need

Grape seed extract supplement (100 mg)

What You Have To Do

Include grape seed extract supplements in your diet.

How Often You Need To Do This

Consume this supplement 2 times a day.

3. Juniper Oil

Juniper oil exhibits antioxidant properties (3). It is also believed to possess diuretic and detoxifying properties. Hence, use of juniper oil may help in reducing the swelling and water retention caused by edema.

You Will Need
  • 5-6 drops of juniper oil
  • 30 ml of a carrier oil (olive or coconut oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil.
  2. Apply this mixture on the swollen areas.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

4. Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract contains bioactive compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (4). These properties may help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress caused by brain edema.

You Will Need

Olive leaf extract capsules (500 mg)

What You Have To Do

Include olive leaf extract capsules in your daily diet.

How Often You Need To Do This

Consume this once a day.

5. Cranberry Juice

Cranberries are rich in many minerals, such as calcium and potassium. They also exhibit diuretic properties (5). These properties may make cranberries an excellent natural remedy for the treatment of edema.

You Will Need

Cranberry juice (unsweetened)

What You Have To Do

Drink a cup of cranberry juice.

How Often You Need To Do This

Do this once a day.

6. Celery Seed Extract

Celery seed extract, scientifically referred to as Apium graveolens, is a diuretic with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (6). Thus, it may be used to treat edema.

You Will Need

250-500 mg celery seed extract supplement

What You Have To Do

Include celery seed extract supplements in your diet after consulting your doctor.

How Often You Need To Do This

Consume this supplement daily or as directed by your physician.

7. Horse Chestnut Seed Extract

Horse chestnut is a diuretic. It also contains escin that exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous properties (7). Together, these properties of horse chestnut extract may help combat edema and its symptoms.

You Will Need

Horse chestnut seed extract (200 mg)

What You Have To Do

Consume 200 mg of horse chestnut seed extract daily.

How Often You Need To Do This

Consume this supplement daily after consulting a doctor.

8. Pineapple Juice

Pineapples are rich in a compound called bromelain that has anti-inflammatory properties (8). This may help in the treatment of edema and its symptoms.

You Will Need
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Remove the pineapple skin and cut it into small pieces.
  2. Blend this in a mixer with water and consume the juice immediately.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this once a day.

9. Massage Therapy

Massaging improves blood circulation (9). This may help in the treatment of edema.

You Will Need
  • 5-6 drops of any essential oil like grapefruit or juniper oil
  • 30 ml of a carrier oil like coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil.
  2. Massage the blend gently on your leg for 5 to 10 minutes.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

Note: Keep your leg elevated for 15 minutes before the massage. Doing this ensures that the fluid pooled in the swollen area of your body may flow back. As a result, the water retention in the affected area reduces.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties (10). These properties may help in treating the swelling and pain associated with edema.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 glass of milk or water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the turmeric in a glass of warm water or hot milk.
  2. Consume it immediately.
  3. Alternatively, you can also mix a teaspoon of turmeric with a few drops of water to make a paste. This paste can then be applied on the areas of your body affected by edema.
How Often You Need To Do This

Follow this remedy every morning and night until you see the edema disappear.

11. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties and also contains potassium (11). Potassium may help in reducing fluid retention, while the anti-inflammatory properties of apple cider vinegar may help treat inflamed skin.

You Will Need
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • A clean towel
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix apple cider vinegar and warm water in a bowl.
  2. Soak a clean towel in the mixture and wrap the swollen areas with it.
  3. Leave it on for 5 minutes.
  4. Repeat the process using a mixture of cold water and vinegar.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day until the swelling disappears.

12. Vitamins

It is believed that vitamins reduce water retention and are anti-inflammatory. Thus, they may be used in treating edema and its symptoms. However, there is no scientific research to prove these effects.

You Will Need
  • A multivitamin supplement that consists of Vitamins A, C, E
  • B-complex vitamins
  • Trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, selenium, and zinc
What You Have To Do

Consume a multivitamin consisting of the above vitamins and minerals after consulting your doctor.

How Often You Need To Do This

Consume this once a day.

13. Hot Or Cold Compress

Applying a hot compress increases blood flow to the affected area. This reduces the pain and inflammation associated with edema. Similarly, applying a cold compress numbs the affected area and reduces swelling and inflammation (12).

You Will Need
  • Cold water
  • Warm water
  • A clean towel
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak a clean towel in warm water.
  2. Wrap this towel around the swollen area.
  3. Leave this on for 5 minutes and unwrap.
  4. Soak the towel in cold water and repeat the procedure.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day until the swelling disappears.

14. Crushed Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats can help in eliminating toxins from the body and ensuring that the organs are functioning properly (13). Hence, flax seeds may help in treating edema by addressing its root cause.

You Will Need

1 teaspoon of crushed flax seeds

What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the crushed flax seeds in a glass of warm water.
  2. Consume immediately.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

15. Mustard Oil

Mustard oil contains allyl isothiocyanate, which was found to reduce inflammation in animal studies (14).  Hence, it may relieve the pain associated with edema.

You Will Need

1/2 cup of mustard oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Warm the mustard oil.
  2. Massage this gently onto the affected area.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

16. Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds possess diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties (15). These properties may help in treating edema.

You Will Need
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the coriander seeds and water to a saucepan.
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil until the water is reduced to half its quantity.
  3. Allow it to cool. Consume the strained liquid immediately.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

17. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil exhibits strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (16). This may help in treating the swelling and pain associated with edema.

You Will Need
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
  1. Pour around 4-5 drops of tea tree oil on a cotton pad.
  2. Apply it gently to the swollen area.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

18. Dandelion Tea

Dandelion is known for its natural antioxidant and diuretic properties (17). Hence, this may be used to reduce fluid retention associated with edema.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon dandelion tea extract
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the dandelion tea extract to water and bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Strain and allow it to cool.
  3. Add honey for flavor and consume this tea.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

19. Parsley Leaves

Parsley is a natural diuretic and may help in flushing toxins and extra fluid from the body (18). It is one of the best herbs that may be used to treat edema.

You Will Need
  • 1/2 -1 cup of parsley leaves
  • 1 L boiled water
What You Have To Do
  1. Cut the parsley leaves into smaller pieces and soak them in water.
  2. Strain the water.
  3. Add honey for flavor and consume it throughout the day.
How Often You Need To Do This

Consume parsley tea daily at regular intervals.

20. Ginger Tea

Ginger contains a compound called zingerone that can help treat edema (19).

You Will Need
  • 1 or 2 inches of ginger
  • 1 cup of water
  • Warm milk (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Crush a small piece of ginger and boil it in a cup of water.
  2. Strain and consume the mixture before it turns cold.
  3. Alternatively, you can also chew on a piece of ginger or consume a teaspoon of dried ginger powder with a glass of warm milk.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this once a day.

21. Nettle Tea

Stinging nettle is highly nutritious and has anti-inflammatory properties (20). It can eliminate toxins and extra fluids from the body by stimulating the functioning of the kidneys. These properties of stinging nettle may help in the treatment and subsequent elimination of edema and its symptoms.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaves
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the dried nettle leaves to a cup of water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Strain the water and consume the tea before it turns cold.
  3. You can also add honey for flavor.
How Often You Need To Do This

Drink this tea 3 times daily.

22. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic (21). This may help in reducing the swelling and pain associated with edema.

You Will Need
  • 5-6 drops of oregano oil
  • 30 ml of any carrier oil (almond oil or olive oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix oregano oil with a carrier oil of your choice.
  2. Massage this blend gently onto the affected area.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

23. Castor Oil

Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid that exhibits anti-inflammatory properties (22). This may be of great use in treating the swelling and inflammation that come with edema.

You Will Need

Castor oil

What You Have To Do

Massage some castor oil on the swollen areas of your body.

How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

24. Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salt is also referred to as magnesium sulfate, which has anti-inflammatory properties (23). This may reduce swelling and inflammation.

You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add Epsom salt to your bath water.
  2. Soak and relax in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Alternatively, you can also add half a cup of Epsom salt to a bucket of warm water and soak your swollen legs in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this at least once a day.

25. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are rich in antioxidants. The antioxidant nature of tart cherries is known to be effective in treating swelling and pain associated with edema (24).

You Will Need

1 glass of unsweetened tart cherry juice

What You Have To Do

Drink a glass of unsweetened tart cherry juice.

How Often You Need To Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

In addition to these home remedies, there are other methods to treat edema. They are discussed below.

Other Ways

a) Gloves

These gloves are specially designed for treating edema. They may provide gentle compression and warmth to the affected area and treat edema.

You Will Need

Therapeutic edema gloves

What You Have To Do

Wear therapeutic edema gloves if you notice swelling in your hands.

How Often You Need To Do This

Wear the gloves throughout the day and remove them only when you want to bathe or wash.

b) Kinesio Tape

This tape creates a negative pressure on the area where it is applied and may help to drain any extra fluid and swelling.

You Will Need

Kinesio tape

What You Have To Do

Apply strips of this tape directly over the swollen area.

How Often You Need To Do This

Continue wearing this tape for 3 to 5 days at a time.

c) Wear Compression Socks

Compression socks may help in treating edema by promoting blood flow in swollen legs.

You Will Need

Compression socks

What You Have To Do

Wear compression socks daily.

How Often You Need To Do This

Do this daily until you see an improvement in your condition.

d) Leg Pumps

Compression pumps are designed to treat edema and lymphedema. These pumps may promote the circulation of fluid in the affected area and reduce swelling.

You Will Need

Compression leg pumps

What You Have To Do

Wear the compression leg pumps on the affected leg.

How Often You Need To Do This

Do this daily until you notice a positive change in your condition.

These are some of the best remedies that may help in the treatment of edema. Certain lifestyle changes may enhance the effect of these remedies as well as prevent the recurrence of edema.

Tips To Prevent Edema

  • Do not indulge in activities that require you to sit or stand for long periods.
  • Elevate your legs every now and then.
  • Limit your salt intake.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated in hot weather.
  • Avoid rigorous workouts and take breaks in between.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Do not sit continuously for more than 3 hours.

Let us now understand the causes of edema.

What Causes Edema?

Edema is usually a result of an injury to the body, such as a fracture or an infection. Bee stings may also result in edema. In the case of infections, edema is more of a help because the fluid released as a result of infection usually consists of white blood cells (WBCs), and these cells are involved in fighting against infections. Other than these, edema may also be a result of some other serious underlying complications, like:

  • Hypoalbuminemia: This is a condition that may result in edema. It is a term for deficiency of albumin and other proteins in your body (25).
  • Allergy: Edema may also be an allergic reaction to an allergen. This is because, in case of an invasion by a foreign body, your vessels leak fluid in the affected area to fight any probable infection.
  • Blood Clot: A blood clot in any of the body parts may also lead to edema. Similarly, any condition that obstructs the flow of fluids in the body may lead to the development of edema.
  • Medical Conditions: Edema is usually a result of serious health issues like heart and liver diseases. Both these conditions may obstruct or slow down the flow of body fluids, and this may result in edema (26).
  • Head Injury: Any injury to the head that results in a block in the drainage of cerebral fluid may also cause edema.
  • Pregnancy: Edema is quite common among pregnant women. It usually occurs in the legs during pregnancy.

Edema often affects only certain parts of the body. There are different types of edema, and they are usually named according to the body parts they affect. Let’s take a look at them now.

What Are The Types Of Edema?

  • Peripheral Edema: When there is a swelling in the hands or legs, it is usually referred to as peripheral edema. It may be due to cellulitis, lymphadenitis, heart failure, liver failure, or the side effects of antihypertensive medicines.
  • Pulmonary Edema: When there is fluid retention in the lungs, it is called pulmonary edema. This is a serious condition and is often a result of another medical problem, like heart failure or lung injury (27).
  • Cerebral Edema: This usually happens when there is an obstruction in the flow of fluid in the brain. This is also a critical condition and requires an immediate check-up (28). It may be seen after a head injury or infections, like viral encephalitis, dengue, and malaria.
  • Macular Edema: When there is a fluid obstruction in the macula of the eyes, it is referred to as macular edema. The macula is a part of the eyes that is responsible for enabling detailed vision (29). It may be associated with diabetes or hypertension.

Edema may affect other body parts as well, but the ones mentioned above are the most common areas affected by this condition.

The onset of edema is usually followed by a series of symptoms that may be painful in some circumstances.

Signs And Symptoms Of Edema

The symptoms associated with edema usually vary depending on its type and location. However, pain, swelling, and a feeling of tightness in the affected area are usually common symptoms of edema. Some of its other symptoms include:

  • Stretched and swollen skin
  • Skin that dimples on being pressed
  • Puffiness of the affected area
  • Pain in the affected body part
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • The veins in the hand and neck become fuller
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • A feeling of nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Abnormalities in your vision

Note: One may be sure that may have edema if the swollen part of the body dimples upon being pressed.

Edema is a common occurrence, and there is a high chance that you might have experienced it without even realizing it. This is because even something as minor as a mosquito bite may lead to minor swelling, but it will disappear in minutes. The remedies mentioned here are mainly to help overcome swelling and inflammation that are brought about by edema. However, if edema is coupled with pain and other complications, it is highly recommended that you seek medical attention to find the underlying cause of your condition.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How do you know if you have edema?

You can be sure that you have edema if the swollen part of your body dimples upon being pressed.

What is the best diet to follow for edema?

Increase your intake of foods with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties such as berries, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and whole grains.

What are the foods that should be avoided if you have edema?

If you have edema, avoid alcohol and dairy products. You should also avoid any diet with high sodium content such as cheese and other processed foods.

How long does it take for edema to go away?

Depending on its cause, edema can last from 30 minutes to more than a month. However, if the swelling persists even after a month, it is best to see your physician.

What will happen if edema is left untreated?

If edema is left untreated, it can lead to painful swelling and scarring of tissues. Edema could also be a symptom of a more serious medical complication, and thus, you must get it checked if there is no improvement in your condition.

29 sources

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Sucharita Mishra

Sucharita Mishra has a Master’s degree in Biotechnology and specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has worked on determining various heavy metals present in green tea for her Master’s dissertation at CSIR- CFTRI, Mysuru. After completing her degree, Sucharita decided to pursue her passion for writing. She is addicted to all things black and aspires to become a bat one day.
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