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Edema Treatment: Natural Cures for Edema

Last Modified on Mar 20, 2015

Fortunately, edema can be relieved with simple but effective cures. Some of these remedies include dietary changes, compression, therapeutically moving parts of your body affected by the swelling, elevation, and massage. Likewise, for cases of edema limiting how much salt you eat is always advised by doctors. Your doctor may also recommend that you wear compression stockings if one or both of your legs is affected by excess fluid.

What is Edema?

Edema is any swelling of the body where fluid becomes stuck in the tissues within that area. This fluid can build up unnaturally in various body parts and organs, but it is most commonly recognized in the ankles, feet, and legs as well as in the hands and arms. Edema causes include pregnancy, heart disease or heart failure, kidney issues, liver disease, and as a side effect of certain medications.

Home Remedies for Edema Treatment

Discover more than 20 natural cures for edema on Earth Clinic! Start by looking at apple cider vinegar, one of the most widely used home remedies for edema. Our readers have reported that other effective natural cures include the supplement Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Blackstrap Molasses, and Butcher's Broom.

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User Reviews

Alpha Lipoic Acid   2  0   

Posted by Janet (Sparta, Missouri, U.s.a.) on 10/24/2012

[YEA]  Thank you so much for your advice about ALA for edema. I tried ALA in 100 mg vcaps and in three days my ankles were back to normal. Earth Clinic is an awsome site, and thank you for posting on it.

Replied by Janet

Update to my post re ALA: While ALA works I did further research regarding swelling in ankles and feet. I scoured this website and took the advice of one of the contributors here and stopped eating anything with Nitrates. I don't take any pills to reduce the swelling because there is none. That means no processed meats, i.e. deli meats, cold cuts, ham, bacon, hotdogs, read the labels folks, if there are any Potassium Nitrates or Sodium Nitrates, DON'T EAT IT. Google Nitrates for further information. And thank you again for this site Earthclinic, it is awesome.
Replied by Paul

Thanks for the follow up!! Good job!!

Posted by Gypsy (Ontario, Ny, Usa) on 07/21/2011

[YEA]  ALPHA LIPOIC ACID, 600mg daily with food, works wonders on painful & swelling feet....... I found myself limping & not being able to wear any of my new shoes & I was furious until I tried this..... WORKS in 2-3 days, slowly made my swelling go away & I'm actually walking good again...... Try it you'll love it!

Apple Cider Vinegar   2  1   

Posted by Yesterdaysecho_jen (Collinsville, Oklahoma) on 09/08/2010

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  After going on a two mile walk three nites ago my right leg from knee down to foot swelled, bad. I started taking the two teaspoons of vinegar yeasterday morning and hoping to start on the peroxide treatment as well, but I'm concerned about this swelling... Though it's down some, I'm concerned about the walking now and wondering if whatever's causing this swelling the vinegar will take care of... ? Any response would be so appreciated.

Replied by Glo
Woodbridge, Va

Hi, I've tried ACV, and there is some reduction, but... Your first priority should be to determine the cause of your swelling. Get the appropriate diagnosis from your physician, which will lead you to the proper course of treatment. This could be muscular, and require something altogether different. Some also research their symptoms on the Internet. Either way, start there and then research treatment. I hope this helps. BTW, if you already have a diagnosis, plz include in ur description, and it should help.
Replied by Glo
Woodbridge, Va

Thanks for the suggestion Rita. I will try it! I don't mind trying natural treatments.

Posted by Glo (Woodbridge, Va) on 08/19/2009

[NAY]  Hello.. This is a great site, thanks EarthClinic. I've been suffering from edema (both legs,ankles,feet, hands) now for 2.5 yrs. Doc's just prescribe lasix or other dieuretics. Most of the time I have no success, just putting those drugs in my system. I take 2 tbsps of ACV twice a day, this does not reduce the edema. I have sincerely eliminated salt from my diet as much as possible, even before the edema I was not much of a salt fan. This is so frustrating. does anyone have home remedy suggestions for me?

Replied by Maureen
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada

To Glo from Woodbridge, VA, I strongly advise you to try the Inclined Bed Therapy. It is just a matter of putting something like bricks, wooden blocks etc. under the head of your bed so it is elevated 6"-7" depending on the size of your bed. I started 14 nights ago and am seeing a slight reduction in fluid in my ankles. That is pretty amazing for having the problem over 40 years!!!

Check Earth Clinic's Inclined Bed Therapy section for information from Andrew Fletcher

That is how I started


Posted by Jodi (La Quinta, CA) on 09/20/2008

[YEA]  Edema, Poor Circulation:

I recently was told by my Naturopath to begin 1Tbsp of ACV before every meal. One of my health complaints has been very swollen ankles ( even legs sometimes) and cold pale feet. It has been a week and among other things, my ankles are very skinny, my feet now have color again and my overall circulation has improved. I also have dropped 5 pounds- but I'm also following the Elmination Diet to identify allergies so I can't completely credit that to the ACV. My whole body seems to have been de-bloated. I notice that after drinking the ACV my appetite wanes, so I do eat less and can definitely feel my food digesting.

One way to know if you are digesting food properly or not is to check your stools. Do you recognize your meals? If you can identify what's there- you are not digesting your food.

I'm thrilled with the results so far and am anxious to see what else happens from my new dosing.

Posted by Carolyn (Winchester, VA) on 09/24/2007

[YEA]  I love this site. I stumbed upon this site about a week and a half ago and started the apple cider vinegar remedy last week. I love the taste, in water. I put 4 tablespoons of ACV in 20 fluid oz and sip it all morning at work. My appetite has decreased as has my taste for sweet things. I am terribly overweight and have had weight problems all my llife, had 4 knee surgeries and have arthritis and edema. My pain has lessened as my edema has and I really feel healthier. This is something I would recommend to everyone! Thank you for this website. My only problem is when I get home I feel suddenly a big decrease in energy, which is not so bad since I have been feeling so sluggish the new energixed feeling I have had is very welcome. I was just wondering if I should drink a tablespoon more of ACV when I get home in order to keep the energy level up. I did not want to over do the ACV as I am new to this. Thanks for any help! Sincerely grateful, Carolyn Wolfe

Apple Cider Vinegar, Oil Pulling   1  0   

Posted by Gloria (Weslaco, Tx) on 12/19/2007

[YEA]  I am a 53 yr. woman that has been using ACV and oil pulling for about two months now. One of my problems had been swelling of my ankles wrists, & lymph nodes. Since I have been oil pulling, and using ACV the swelling has decreased alot even when I sit long periods of time. One thing that happened while I was taking blkstrap molasses 1 tbs. a.m. and one before bedtime. I gained weight because of the rich vitamins so I cut down to just 1 tbs. before bed. Oh! and the spider veins are fading around my ankles and legs.

Replied by Mg
Oregon, US

Really? You think you gained weight because of "rich vitamins" in the molasses? Vitamins don't make you fat. *Sigh*

You gained weight because it's *sugar* and sugar, in particular the fructose half of the sucrose [table sugar] molecule, converts to fatty acids in the blood (triglycerides) which then get stored as fat in your fat cells.

And you say you took it before bed, at a time when you wouldn't be doing any work and thus nor burning any calories, so your body would have nothing to do with it *but* to store it as fat.

Asparagus or Vtamin B6   1  0   

Posted by Jgmurphy (Skokie, Il) on 12/15/2009

[YEA]  Edema: A wonderful natural diuretic is asparagus. Some have also had good results with vitamin B-6.

Avoid Sugar   1  0   

Posted by Anon (Anon) on 02/02/2013

[YEA]  My mom gets swelling in her hands from eating too much sugar. Try not eating sugar. Sugar is also said to reduce potassium from the body.

Replied by Albularyo
Chatham, Ontario, Canada

Not just sugar needs avoiding, but all carbohydrates, in fact anything requiring Insulin to digest. What happens is that Insulin causes the kidneys to re-absorb salt and thus increases the water contents of the body. Historically humans were hunters and gatherers, they hunted the fattest animal they could find and they ate all of it, with very little else, ... And most importantly were able to live very healthy and energetic lives on that diet. Insulin was only needed for the little bit of fruits and vegetables they ate. Today's diet is the opposite from their's and some of us don't tolerate a mainly carbohydrate diet it all that well and end up diabetic and waterlogged, if not fat as well. The upshot is, it takes only a few days on a NO-Carb diet and your waterlogged legs and feet will go back to normal. It's amazing to say the least.
Replied by Timh
Louisville, Ky, Usa

Also, there is another dietary problem at work here, the severe lack of the micro-mineral Chromium. Chromium deficiency causes an Insulin insensitivity. The cells are trying to incorporate the Insulin so they can burn glucose, BUT the absence of Chromium won't allow this otherwise simple function. I don't know how, but the spice Cinnamon also very much helps the body burn sugars.

The amino acid Taurine helps cells utilize minerals (opens the ion gates).

Replied by Susan Nimerowski
Ct., US

About cinnamon -- for some individuals, the coumarin in cinnamon can cause liver damage. As soon as it arrives in the mail, I'll be trying Cinnulin PF, which is safe.

Blackstrap Molasses   1  1   

Posted by Norman (Metro Cebu, Philippines) on 05/27/2010

[NAY]  Sir or Madame,

I'm a Man. 66 yrs now. I'm in Philippines and so not the same is always available here. I have been a black strap molasses user for about oh 7 yrs and for a daily nose bleeding problem which it cureed very well. by a tblspn a day with a mug of hot water, sometimes I add milk.
But I've had a swelling edema problem in my feet & ankles & legs for 5 yrs already & have worn compression socks which I hate and they don't solve the problem anyways. I have upped my molasses intake to at least 3 tblspns daily for aprox a wk now and don't see the results I hear people write about yet I'm very hopeful. With this The molasses does not say black strap though, Is that a problem?

Replied by Christine

Yes, it must be natural blackstrap molasses, which has many more nutrients that have been lost in filtering to get refined molasses.

Posted by Norman L (Abbotsford, BC) on 03/16/2008

[YEA]  I had serious swelling of ankles ,feet & legs. And all doctors could suggest is poor ciculation and one way valves in leg not working properly and would have to wear pressure socks for the rest of my life but I was not willing for this and kept earching and tryinng all sorts of natural things but when finally I went back to black strap molasses which I used to take for nose bleeding & cured that and after some time of use I ran out of it & forgot to replace it and got swlling problems but never connected it to molasses but after 2 yrs for some reason tried molasses again and after some time I noticed something , less swelling to happen and gradually dissapearednd not even swelled during the day anymore and so must be the molasses that played a part in circulation for me in my legs and so will continue taking it for this is a much better cure than wearing pressure socks whch did not go to fix the problem anyways. Thank You

Replied by Lenny

How much did u take per day?
Replied by Nicole

How much do you take?
Replied by Julie
Iowa, US

[WARNING!]   I have seen this molasses post in a few places elsewhere. And always without evidence. I seriously doubt consuming SUGAR would resolve edema. if anything it would make it far worse.
Replied by Debra

It's not the sugar that is a concern. Blackstrap molasses has a very low glycemic index and has many minerals needed by the body. Without proper minerals the body is unable to properly assimilate vitamins. it's Aldo a good source of calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamin b6. It's an excellent alternative for use as a natural sweetener.

Butcher's Broom   2  0   

Posted by Chrissy (Manahawkin, NJ) on 01/30/2013

[YEA]  I have been using Butchers Broom for months now. I ran out if it and the edema came back. So I started taking t again and I have reduced swelling again. It works very well for me. Good Luck...

Posted by Gabrielle (Pottsville, PA) on 06/11/2009

[YEA]  Butcher's Broom for ankle/feet swelling:

I've been suffering off and on with swollen feet/ankles for many years. Most of the time it has passed within a short amount of time with little effort (such as drinking more water and elevating my legs/feet on pillows). Recently the swelling came on after being laid off from work for a couple months - spending too much time at my computer! I tried the pillows several times to no avail. Every time I put on shoes and took a walk to help circulation, the swelling in my feet would simply move up worse into my ankles. I researched online and in the many books I have for herbal remedies and came to the conclusion that Butcher's Broom was the most recommended of anything. I went and got some at my local natural food store and took the regular dose (two 500 mg) and within just a couple of hours I realized I could once again see the veins on the tops of my feet and the swelling had reduced by at least half. I could feel a huge difference and the relief -both physical and mental- was immense.

Cayenne   0  0   

Posted by Kt (Usa) on 09/06/2014

I whacked my leg (attempting to lift it over a steel rod), just above the ankle and it is beginning to look bruised. The swelling is the size of a Ping-Pong ball and it is really painful. I just drank some cayenne pepper. Was this okay? I know I have heard putting ice on an injury like this but I do not agree because I fear clots. I already had a clot in this leg and was using the cayenne to help dissolve it. Mama to Many (I think) said cayenne was good for both ends of the spectrum. Sorry Mama, if I am incorrect. Oh, this really hurts...I want to take some turmeric but don't know whether I should or not.

Replied by Timh

Immediately fallowing an injury place a strong magnet over the area for several minutes and continue the therapy several times daily for a few days. This will greatly reduce pain & swelling.
Replied by Mama to Many

Hi Kt,

I was out of town yesterday and am just now seeing your post. Yes, cayenne should be fine- it does work well for normalizing the blood. Turmeric also should be fine and may help the inflammation.

If you have a fresh onion, a fresh onion, cut up and put into a towel over the area as a poultice, may help. We have used this to prevent "goose eggs."

A charcoal poultice may also reduce the pain and swelling. It would be a very safe thing to try, if you are still in pain.

I will be away from home all day again today but will check this evening to see if I have heard from you.

I hope you are feeling better, soon.



Replied by Kt

Thanks for the information Timh...we don't have any magnets handy and besides, I couldn't touch it. I had to remove my below-the-ankle sock because of the pressure, swelling was throbbing. It was the ankle on the inside. Sometimes as I walked, I kept kicking myself.

Thank you MtM...I took the cayenne about every two hours and after the third dose I took turmeric, ginger and black pepper. I had to prop a pillow under my calf when I went to bed so it wouldn't touch anything.

Today it is better...still a knot and wide-spread bruise. Still taking the cayenne, etc. I've been taking vit.C too. I take that all the time anyway. Do you think that would cause too much conflict, because of taking the cayenne? I see you must have read my Sept. 2 post? Love, KT

Replied by No Perscriptions Drugs For Me

Have you looked into the DMSO stuff to reduce the swelling? == Noprescriptiondrugsforme
Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Kt,

How is your bruise today?

I don't think vitamin C and cayenne would conflict with one another, by the way!



Replied by Kt

Good Morning, MtM

My bruise is colorful and I measured it... about 4" at the widest, spread over my arch and it looks like I have a double ankle! There is also a bruised strip going up the the back of my leg just above my heel. I have an appointment for a "well visit" to my PCP tomorrow so I'll show it to him.

I had jerry-rigged an oven rack and an old refrigerator rack to put on top of our wood stove for our pot of water. I literally "poked" the area just above my ankle with the raw end of the rack when I tried to gracefully swing my leg over it when it was on top of a wash tub on the floor. I have been unable to get any charcoal and I'm not so sure about the DMSO...I looked it up once after seeing posts about it but that's as far as I got with that.

MtM, please let me know if you read my reply to you Sept. 2 (gave John 5:19 as a ref.). I think It was contained in a thread about something from Thailand. I can't remember whether it was turpentine or something else...this has been prepared peicemeal because I can't sit here long...Thanks for your concern...Love, KT

Cream of Tarter   1  0   

Posted by Eileen (Atlanta, Ga.) on 06/09/2013

[YEA]  Cream of Tarter for Edema: Cream of Tarter is rich in potassium. Often edema is caused from not enough water intake (dehydration) or too much sodium and not enough potassium. Cream of Tarter, 1/4 t in a glass of water, sipped, will provide a hefty dose of potassium. For me I start to pee out the fluid within an hour.

Replied by Bo'

Would someone from EC please comment on the safety of this recommendation?

i got all excited when I first read about Cream of Tartar, becoz I have awful leg spasms keeping me up at nite and have been noticing that im craving bananas which do seem to help. So, potassium imbalance?... it would be awesome to have a little bottle of CreamTartar on hand for those late nite moments when the legs are hopping & im out of bananas.

Then I did a little reading elsewhere and learned that Cream of Tartar is EXTREMELY high in Potassium... Maybe this is not something to be messed with after all? she recommends adding 1/4tsp in water to be sipped, but doesnt say whether she uses it all or how fast. Or in how much water. from my reading I saw that the kidneys must be in good shape for dealing with high levels of potassium, and that too much can cause unexpected death from heart failure.

How dangerous is this advice?? I don't think I would be comfortable trying cream of tartar without knowing its limit of safety, and I am having a hard time identifying exactly how much potassium Cream of Tartar actually contains... Online sources claim anywhere from 495mg per tsp- which is not so much- all the way up to 5 grams- which would obviously be toxic!

Reaally need some clarity, EC... Thx!

Replied by Christine

For muscle twitching at night, avoid all artificial sweeteners, especially in drinks, bottled diet teas, diet soda, drink mixes such as crystal light. Your Restless Leg Syndrome will disappear.
Replied by Christina
Il, US

@Bo- have you ever tried taking magnesium supplements for the leg cramping/spasming? I used to have horrible leg cramps and spasms, in my calves. I started taking magnesium and the cramping and spasming has almost completely stopped. Every now and again i will wake up from a really bad cramp in my calf. It only happens 2-3 times a year now, instead of on a regular basis. When i wake with the horrible cramp i take an extra magnesium pill, along with some potasium (sp?), and i also drink some gatorade.

Obviously, check with your doctor before trying anything. The magnesium can cause tummy problems for some people (it is also used to help people when they are constipated), so start slow, and work your way up to the amount that you (and your doctor) decide will work for you. I hope you find something that helps...i know just how horrible leg cramps and/or spasms can be. Good luck!

Replied by Melanie

For leg cramps and twitching, put a bar of soap in your bed.
Replied by Larry
Fairfax, Va

Could you be more specific, please. What type of magnesium soap; placed exactly where?
Replied by Christina
Michigan, US

Magnesium , zinc and potassium are all crucial to proper cellular function. I buy Potassium Chloride and use it daily.

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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.

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