Natural Remedies for Edema (Swelling in the Tissues)

| Modified on Mar 10, 2024
Apple Cider Vinegar

Fortunately, edema can be relieved with simple but effective natural remedies. 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

Discover more than 20 natural remedies 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 home remedies include the supplement Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Blackstrap Molasses, and Butcher's Broom.

ALA + Butcher's Broom

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Laura C. (Ohio, US) on 10/01/2019

My husband has been suffering from edema on his legs since before I knew him. We tried lots of things, with no relief. He started taking 600mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and 940mg of Butcher's Broom once a day (both easily found, purchased from Amazon).

Within hours, he felt the fluid begin to pull from the edema in tingly, not painful way. A week later, one of his legs is visibly smaller and the other is much more pliable; he feels great relief!

Alpha Lipoic Acid

4 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Kildonon (Cincinnati, Ohio) on 04/29/2023

Apparently, I am very allergic to ALA, I used it for about 3 days, I ended up with a rash on my legs below the knees and my legs were so swollen. I have never been so swollen before. My ankles and legs were extremely swollen. I didn't take it again. I took some Benadryl before bed and my legs are definitely less swollen and the skin seems a touch loose now. Be very careful taking ALA.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
Posted by Gary (Detroit, MI) on 07/13/2017

Edema, ankles swelling

Alpha Lipoic Acid - Tried this for Edema no luck but will try something else on this page as I read that somethings work for some people and some don't so I'm still looking.

Replied by Robert Henry
(Ten Mile , Tn)

GARY,,,,,,,,, using my shot gun method, so I really don't have a straight answer for what solved my problem. My PT guy said I must re-train my lymph system to flow. He taught me how to use my hands to pressure my system under my arm pits and down to my groan and inside my knee. I no longer have to wrap my legs, nor use extreme stretch socks. He was a bright young man. I think that sleeping with my legs raised on a cheap Walmart wedge was a God Send.

Suggest you also learn how to bristle brush your bod. Your lymph has no heart as your blood system, so it needs exercise or skin stimulation to make it flow. Chemicals won't do it. Lots of video's on u tube on how to do this. I wish you well. No simple short cut solution.


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

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.

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

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!

Replied by Gord235
(Vancouver, British Columbia)

Wow, ALA 600mg./day. I have been taking 200mg./day and will now double my dose. If I see improvement I will then consider going up to 600mg./day.

Thank you for your post!

Replied by Gord235
(Vancouver, British Columbia)

Update: ALA (r+alpha lipoic acid) seems to be effective in controlling my Edema. I still have the occasional flareup but not nearly as severe as previously.

I have eliminated anything containing nitrates (bacon, processed meats) and diet soda from my diet. I have tried eating a few things like beets (high in potassium) and asparagus (diuretic) without any noticeable change.

Since my previous post I have increased the ALA to 8 capsules- 800mg/day and plan to continue on this course.

(Vancouver, Canada)

Update: Since my last post I made a mistake and bought regular ALA instead of r+ALA and find it to be not as effective so I'm going back to the r+ALA and will advise if it works better.

Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beets

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Shirley (Long Beach, Ca) on 04/18/2015

I started using beets and Alpha Lipoic Acidd (ALA) and within 2 days had reduced my edema by 95%. I just peel the fresh beets with an apple for flavor in the blender. It's kind of like red applesauce. For over 10 years I've suffered with severe edema. This is the miracle I have been looking for. I can wear real shoes again and walk without pain and throbbing in my feet and legs. I eat the fresh beets and apples and take the ALA every and I will never stop.

Replied by Karen
(Kansas City)

Want to know how much of the acid and beets are needed. I have been using no meds and cayenne pepper for the past few days. My pressure is wonderful.


Replied by Irwin
(West Orange Nj.)

Where do I get this product? I'm in dying need of getting this swelling out of my leg.

EC: For ALA, visit your local health food store and online (Amazon, iHerb, Swanson's, etc).

Replied by Kelly
(Northridge, Ca.)

How many milligrams of ALA? Please I need the same relief you got!

Replied by Gord235
(Vancouver, British Columbia)

To Shirley,

After reading your post and doing some research I found that a potassium deficiency can be a contributing factor to edema. Beets are high in potassium so following the line of logic I started taking a potassium supplement - 2 X 99 mg/day plus ALA 8 X 200 mg/day with good results. Beets have also become a favourite but being a lazy cook I simply use a can of baby beets.

Apple Cider Vinegar

8 User Reviews
5 star (4) 
4 star (1) 
1 star (3) 

Posted by RB (Somewhere in Europe) on 01/23/2024 84 posts

In my experience, ACV is not an edema remedy, but one of the many reasons why edemas occur in the first place. I keep noticing that, every time I add ACV to my drinking water, I subsequently develop an edema in my ankles and lower legs.

The ACV I use is "Dennree Apfelessig Naturtrüb, aus Deutschen Bio-Äpfeln, 5% saure". Translation: "Dennree Apple cider vinegar, naturally cloudy, from German organic apples, 5% acidity". And yes, this ACV is organic AND unfiltered.

I hope this will help somebody!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Jeannie S. (Spanish Fork, Utah) on 07/24/2021 2 posts

I accidentally discovered a huge benefit of taking ACV. I suffered Covid back in March 2020. Since then I have had swollen puffy feet, can't see my ankle bones and big puffy areas around my knees. Ok, I made a simple vegetable soup yesterday: broth (unsalted), tomatoes, onion, carrots, celery and yellow squash. The recipe suggested a cup and a half of natural ACV!! Never heard of this!! I figured that the small amount of soup I made needed about a half cup. It was delicious but next time I'll put in a quarter cup. I am sensitive to ACV and it is a laxative for me. I was cleaned out!

The next day, I was AMAZED that I saw my ankles 1st time since Covid!! My knees were back down and no puffy feet!! Making my two quart total volume vegetable soup with just a quarter cup ACV in the morning!!! I found ACV by accident!!

Replied by Cindy Wilson

I think that's awesome! I will try. The bottom of my feet have felt real thick and al little numb since I had COVID.

Replied by Suze

Never had covid and I'm a pureblood - but ACV on its own in a glass of water has done nothing, so will try it in a veggie soup as you suggested, Jeannie. If we have to eat, then I can't think of anything healthier than veggie soup. Yum!

Replied by Learner

That is amazing! And it must be delicious! You might add garlic and collard greens or other crucifer veggies, too :)

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

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.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by J.j. (Private, California Usa) on 11/16/2009

It worked to heal me of my swollen and sore feet. One especially stayed swollen, and I had this problem for two years. After trying apple cider vinegar it was gone within 3 days. I have to stay on the acv,which is fine with me. With it I have not needed anti-inflammatories, and get better relief. I take 3-4 tbs every 3-4 hours when awake, for best results. Eventually I expect less will suffice. Everything is better, I have a great deal more energy, and I just feel better.

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

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


Replied by Kennywally
46 posts

To Glo w-virginia, I don't think 2 t. of ACV is enough to do the trick, but since it did nothing to help, you just may be better off getting a medical doctor to at least get you a proper diagnosis for starters, then check your options for natural remedies. And the 2nd thing is the salt...I can't speak to your condition, but just generally, that salt is vital to good health. I have switched over from that white garbage to pink salt...tastes way better too. did you know that salt used to be traded like money? it was that valuable!!! You may also wish to get a consultation from a naturopathic physician [[ seek one out in your zipcode, look on yelp for comments, then look on doctrs grades, you'll see it, pick one and make appt for consultation, to go over your diet, and so between the 2 docs, you may be able to normalize your body. Best wishes

Replied by Taslim

ACV hasn't reduced my left foot edema at all. Contrarily, it seems to have worsened it a little more.

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

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.

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

I love this site. I stumbled 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 has my edema has 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

Replied by Valerie
(New York)

So long as the ACV is organic ACV that contains the "Mother" element you are doing a good thing for your body. One downfall is the wear of tooth enamel so make sure always to dilute with water.

Replied by Jerry

When you drink it, I find it more useful to use a straw; let it go to the tongue and then swallow. AS you said, DO NOT let it touch your teeth as the acid will eat at the enamal.

Replied by Cheryl

If you are going to use straws, which I do, make sure they are made of stainless steel - which means you use them for life and clean them by dropping them in boiling water, or paper which are usable for a few times before they are disposed of. At least they are paper and break down. There are plant-based plastic straws but like the regular straws made of petroleum, the acid in the ACV may leech out of the straw into your body, which is not good.

Replied by Cindy

I know this is an old post, but for anyone reading now, the reason ACV works so well (on so many things) is because it is a detoxifier! As we pull toxins out, we drop weight, get rid of pesky and bothersome ailments.

The best type to get has the mother and it should say it is unfiltered as well. And if you can find ACV that is unpasteurized, that is the best.

A lot of the reason for all the sickness these days is pasteurization. Literally, almost all foods that used to be homemade and contained tons of probiotics naturally, are now heated to 165 or greater to kill all chance of any bacteria--good and bad--potentially making someone sick. Unfortunately, now everything we eat makes us sick! Think of this--wine and cheese used to be made without pasteurization. Almost everything we ate before pasteurization was "discovered", we had so many good bacteria in us, we weren't getting sick from being so toxic and having failing immune systems!

Pasteurization also gets rid of the digestive enzymes that naturally come with food. No wonder we have so many ailments. We have wiped out our good bacteria population and have eliminated most of the enzymes needed to digest our food.

ACV is good. And if you want to take back even more control of your health, look up cultured or fermented foods. (Kombucha, Kefir, Yogurt, sauerkraut, all homemade canned/bottled veggies that are made the same way as sauerkraut.) Kombucha is the easiest and cheapest to make. And is a great fizzy-drink replacement. It's an acquired taste, but so is coffee and wine! And then you love it and you can't stand the taste of all the soda, bc you can taste the chemicals and it's just way too sweet. Even converted my husband to a kombucha drinker. All women know if their husband has been converted to a new good food, it can't be too awful, and it actually must be good--given a couple of weeks to adjust! Plus it only has 60 calories in 16 ounces. Delicious!! It can be used as ACV too! (Tastes better! )


The actual reason ACV works is because it constricts blood vessels, so it helps with venous insufficiency and varicose veins, which are major causes of edema.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Blackstrap Molasses

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Donna (Lincoln, NE) on 02/12/2009

I stopped my menstruation a year ago. I started black strap,and apple cider vinegar 1 month ago because my ankles were swollen, and redness was going up my legs. The apple cider and blackstrap did get rid of my swollen legs. I started a light period after 1 year of not having one. I said ''well hello''. I came to the conclusion that my body was so depleted of minerals that my body quit bleeding because it had nothing to give. I guess it will quit when it is ready to quit, I am not worried about it. I feel better than I have felt in years. If black strap was doing something to hurt me, then i would be feeling sickly. I feel young again. I don't suffer hot flashes anymore, my bones don't hurt, I am finaly able to loose weight. I have lost 25 pounds since I started blackstrap almost 2 months ago.i take it with apple cider vinegar, and warm water. Thank God for his wisdom of what is good for us.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Oil Pulling

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

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

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.