Last Modified on Jun 20, 2014
Natural lymphedema treatment requires a holistic approach including diet and lifestyle changes and herbal remedies. Detoxing the body and maintaining a healthy, pure diet allows the body to function at a more optimal level, reducing swelling. Likewise, certain herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that target lymphatic inflammation.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a term that typically refers to swelling in one of the arms or legs. Generally caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, lymphedema has crucial connections to both the immune and circulatory systems. An obstruction prevents the regular flow and thus the draining of the system, so swelling continues to build up. Additional symptoms may include a feeling of heaviness or tightness in the arm, limited range of motion in the affected limb, aching or discomfort, repeated infection and hardening or thickening of the skin on the limbs.
Maintaining Function of the Lymphatic System with Lifestyle Modifications
Making certain lifestyle changes and incorporating certain practices into a healthy regimen can help treat, reduce and prevent lymphedema. Regular detoxification of the body by way of Epsom salt baths removes destructive toxins from the body that may be contributing to swelling. Exercise and massage also stimulate the lymphatic system, making flow more regular. An anti-inflammatory diet is another lifestyle option for treating issues within the lymph system.
Using Herbs to Treat Swelling of the Lymph Nodes
Several herbs are known for their medicinal applications, in particular the ability to increase lymphatic flow, minimize swelling and reduce inflammation. Butcher’s broom, ginger and sweet clover are used to treat the associated issues of lymphedema and relieve swelling. These natural treatments stimulate the system and offer treatment of the underlying issues as well.
Butcher’s broom is used to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. The herb offers a number of benefits including increasing blood flow, strengthening the blood vessels and preventing pooling of the blood. These properties offer relief of swollen lymph glands and reduce swelling.
Typically taken in a tea, ginger improves blood flow and decreases swelling. Composed of gingerols, ginger delivers powerful anti-inflammatory agents, relieving inflammation and discomfort associated with lymphedema. The herb also promotes and boosts the immune system by stimulating sweating and lymphatic flow.
Sweet clover ointment is applied topically and works to trigger lymphatic functioning. The clover contains a compound called coumarin that stimulates lymph flow and purports healing. Additionally, the coumarin substances strengthen the walls of blood and lymph vessels.
Lymphedema develops and progresses as lymph collects in the body’s soft tissues. Lifestyle changes as well as herbal remedies improve lymphatic flow, relieve inflammation and reduce lymphedema.
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[YEA] I developed Lymphedema in my left breast that went undiagnosed for 4-5 months. I started MLD with a physical therapist and read this site. So I did several treatments at once that I believe where all somewhat helpful. Then I had an acupuncture treatment and used a cabbage poultice the same night. The results in the morning were like a miracle. My breast seemed back to normal! But little by little the swelling returned until I got another acupuncture treatment.
So now I have tried only acupuncture and only cabbage poultice and they both work well. But the 2 on the same day produces the most dramatic results. ( I have continued to drink ginger tea throughout.) I prepare the cabbage (a traditional round head variety, preferably organic) by heating a cast iron (optional) skillet and adding the cabbage leaf, which has been dipped in water, then I use another smaller skillet to flatten the leaf for a total of 2-3 seconds or less on each side. This wilts it and makes it pliable. Then I hold it in place with a piece of cling wrap, and a sports bra. This poultice could be modified for a leg or arm and held in place with cling wrap and an ace bandage. I sleep with it for 5-6 hours, which seem to be enough. We used cabbage poultice years ago for a nursing mother with mastitis and it worked well then also.