Natural Remedies for Edema (Swelling in the Tissues)

| Modified on Feb 17, 2024
Onion-Milk Remedy
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 02/16/2024

The Onion in Medicine

The ancient Egyptians it is said, were forbidden to eat the onion, garlic and leek. According to the priests of Pelusium the onion was barred because it caused a flow of tears, hunger and thirst and hence was manifestly out of place in fasts and during religious ceremonies. It did not seem right to weep on occasions of joy or to be tormented with hunger and thirst on days set aside for fasting.

The Hebrews regarded the onion purely for it's culinary value. The Greeks were fond of both onions and garlic. The former were apparently used when drinking to increase thirst and enhance the pleasures of the cup. But in the palmy days of Rome, the two vegetables had become largely the badge of the rabble.

In the Middle Ages any well-set table contained a plate of red onions. The chief repute of the onion in medicine was as a diuretic and remedy for dropsy. This belief has persisted up to the present time and it is somewhat strange to find that as early as 1853 onions and a milk diet were pronounced the best remedy for dropsy (a term used to describe generalized swelling and was synonymous with heart failure). In 1868, Trastour reported that a case of parenchymatous nephritis (renal lesions in parenchymatous nephritis are confined to the kidney tubules), with edema (swelling caused by too much fluid trapped in the body's tissues) and albuminuria (too much albumin in your urine), cleared up under the onion-milk regimen. In addition to anasarca (a condition characterized by severe generalized edema of the body) of both legs there has been a hydothorax (is a noninflammatory collection of serous fluid within the pleural cavities. The effusion is clear and straw colored. Hydrothorax is unilateral or bilateral. The most common cause of hydrothorax is cardiac failure, but it is also frequently the result of renal failure and cirrhosis of the liver). The treatment had provoked a strong diuresis (increased or excessive production of urine). In 1910 Mongour saw a still more remarkable case of cirrhosis of the liver with ascites (a condition in which fluid collects in spaces within your abdomen) clear-up after three days of onion eating with a critical polyuria (a urine output greater than three liters per day in adults). Cruchet had seen a patient with dropsy recover after a period of onion eating – 15 or 20 daily. In 1912 Dalche published his article on the “onion cure”. He spoke of a case of a three-quart diuresis produced in a dropsical patient by this resource. During the war Leclerc to whom we are indebted for the preceding information (La Presse Medicale, February 25, xxx, 16) frequently witnessed this diuretic action in soldiers, notably in a Senegalese with serous effusions and dropsy due to nephritis. From the book: Medical Record, Volume 101 edited by George Frederick Shrady, Thomas Lathrop Stedman, pages 629-630 April 15,1922.


Note: I edited this article with (notations) of medical terms to make it easier to read.

Onion-Milk Recipe:

Boiled onions in milk

By soaking onions in milk helps dilute their sulfur content, taking away that pungent, raw bite. Use whole milk will work for the recipe. Fats are a natural lubricant for inflamed tissues.

General rule of thumb is: For every liter (34oz) of milk, take four medium onions.

For a single dose, one onion (50-60g = 2oz) is taken per 100 ml (3.52oz) of milk.

Boil the chopped onions in milk for 1-2 minutes - (with subsequent infusion in the pot for about 2 hours).

Milk is brought to a boil on slow heat. After boiling is achieved, add onions to it. During the boiling process, the mixture is constantly stirred, maintaining uniformed consistency. If necessary, the onions can be filtered if preferred. The mixture is then poured into a thermos and drunk throughout the day without the need to reheat it every time. Honey (1 tsp) can be added to improve taste.

Recipe variations: There are many options for how to properly drink milk with onions. For medicinal purposes, the dosage is reduced to a 1:1 ratio.

For an adult, the dosage is half a glass at a time.
For children, it is reduced several times - from 2 to 5 tbsp. At the age of three years and up to the norm of an adult at 12-15 years.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by RB (Somewhere in Europe) on 01/23/2024 68 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!

Posted by Sunita (Santa Cruz, California) on 10/09/2011

My dad used to mix 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper in home-made buttermilk, drink it after meals everyday as long as I can remember. He said he was cured of peptic ulcer, ringing in ears, indigestion, gas problems and something else I forgot. He died a healthy 67 yr old from an auto accident. I have been sprinkling it on my food every day for about a year now and have had no colds. When I stopped for a few weeks while traveling I had terrible problem with swollen feet so I noticed as soon as I began taking the CP swelling was gone. An 86 yr old friend of mine swears by it for candida, circulation, eczema and her good vision. She has taken capsules for past 20 yrs. I have taken turmeric with warm milk for acid reflux and it has worked wonders.

Butchers Broom
Posted by brian (New South Wales) on 07/29/2023

I've had a bout of odema of the right foot for the last month or so. I did some online research and found Butchers Broom was recommended on this site and others. I bought a bottle online and it arrived last week. I've been trying it for several days: two capsules 940 mg each per day. In this time, I've noticed the inflammation and swelling have receded. And I've not noticed any of the pain I've had when the foot was swollen. I will keep using it for a month or more to see how long the effect lasts. But it looks like an effective treatment for odema.

Distilled Water
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 07/13/2023

Dear Sandy,

My children grew up with well water and will not drink "city water, " when we go to hotels or airbnb's etc. So I understand your dilemma.

Some options would include trying a Brita filter; we used one when we lived in Michigan. Store bought spring water would have minerals in it.

Ask around. There may be a spring somewhere that people like. Where I live there are a couple and we see people stopped and filling up bottles right on the side of the road. (Rural roads.)

If you know anyone who has good water they may be happy for you to fill up gallon bottles at their house. My son and daughter in law have bad water and fill up bottles whenever they go to her parents' house.

When we travel I usually just get bottled spring water.

I have used a Berkey Filter in the past, but they are pretty expensive.

For the issue of feeling poorly after drinking certain waters, charcoal tablets can be taken to help with that. I keep a bottle of them in my car; I never know when I will need them!


~Mama to Many~

Distilled Water
Posted by sandy (IL) on 07/11/2023

Dear Mama to Many,

I follow your advise a lot on EC. Can you please suggest alternate to distilled water. I can not drink tap water because it tastes horrible and even I force myself to drink, I feel weird and bloated sometimes

Distilled Water
Posted by sandy (IL) on 07/11/2023

What is an alkaline water ionizer? If you can please explain, I will stop buying distilled water from store. Thank you in advance

Dietary Changes
Posted by Kelly (Seattle) on 05/24/2023

Apparently you're unaware of the Kempner Rice Diet, devised by Dr. Walter Kempner back in the 40's - 60's. He CURED people of fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, and even diabetic retinopathy, using a diet of sugar, rice and fruit juice.

Sounds insane, but it worked for a majority of his patients!

Distilled Water
Posted by Kelly (Seattle) on 05/24/2023

Actually Ricardo, green veggies like spinach, etc., can make osteoporosis and other bone diseases worse, due to their high oxalate content.

A better solution is to do like our grandparents did -- make soup or broth from the bones, skins and tendons of the 'whole animal' -- chickens, cows, pigs, etc., -- and we'd have a lot less hip and knee replacement surgeries which have skyrocketed in the last 40 years. Even "kids" in their 30's and 40's are needing hip sad.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
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.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Learner (EarthSchool) on 03/20/2023

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 Suze (Phoenix) on 03/17/2023

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!

Apple Cider Vinegar, Blackstrap Molasses
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.

Trace Minerals
Posted by Jules (Oregon, USA) on 07/12/2022

Hello Jared (& fellow Orgonian),

Could you please tell me what kind of trace minerals you take and where you find them?

Thank you!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cindy Wilson (Alabama) on 11/13/2021

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.

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!!

Sea Salt in Water
Posted by Lynette (Worcestershire ) on 07/24/2021

Pink Himalayan salt is awesome too, it's so full of electrolytes, great for the whole body. I put a few sprinkles of it in my water bottle everyday. Xxx

Rosemary Oil
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 07/21/2021

My GF's father (62 yrs old) suffers from swollen legs (Peripheral Edema). He has serious heart issue's with mini-heart attacks everyday. Strong smells also set him off and makes his chest hurt. He eat's nitro-pills like M&M's. He says hot weather causes his legs to swell.“He works outside in construction”.

The family has been rubbing Rosemary essential oil undiluted on his legs. It brings the swelling down in a few hours and the smell does not aggravate his heart.

Hope this helps someone...

Avoid Nitrates
Posted by Kelly (Seattle) on 06/15/2021

With all due respect to Janet, nitrates don't cause edema or swelling. In fact, they're used to TREAT those conditions.

I suspect that the reason her swelling diminished was because the foods she mentions --deli meats, cold cuts, ham, bacon, hotdogs -- are all EXTREMELY high in sodium. Cutting out those salty foods, if you could call them 'foods', will definitely help reduce edema and swelling.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Kelly (Seattle) on 04/24/2021

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.

Trace Minerals
Posted by Jared (Portland, OR) on 02/26/2020

Concentrated Trace Mineral Supplements. Direct cause and effect for me.

Was seeing an increase in left leg edema. I Increased water intake. Starting feeling migraine symptoms and recalled reading an article regarding trace minerals and migraines so started increasing my trace mineral intake. No more edema. No more migraines.

Everyone can stand to increase their trace minerals.

Posted by Gord235 (Vancouver, Canada) on 10/27/2019

Update: Sorry, I made a mistake in my previous post. R+ALA 400mg. /day reduced the swelling by 25% not 75%. The swelling went down to 75% compared to what it was; therefore a 25% reduction. My apologies

Posted by Gord235 (Vancouver, Canada) on 10/25/2019

R+ALA 400mg./day worked for me in 24 hr. reducing the swelling by about 75%.

Be sure to get the one with R+. I'm not sure what the R+ stands for but in previous posts on the old site it was stressed that it was better than just ALA alone.

ALA + Butcher's Broom
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!

Low Fat Diet, Avoid Pain Relievers
Posted by Nothy (Toronto, On) on 08/21/2019

I went on a low fat diet (dr macdougal plan) and my edema disappeared. I also lost about 10 pounds in 6 weeks, which likely helped. As stated by another reviewer, I noticed that the edema flared when I was taking an otc pain reliever, naproxin.

Celery Juice
Posted by Jacklyn (United States) on 06/27/2019

Celery Juice For Edema

I have been suffering with Edema for years. My ankles and legs get swollen on a regular basis especially when I sit all day at a desk or if I am on a long flight. I have tried ginger tea, ACV, blackstrap molasses, and even drinking more water. I also tried walking to make the blood circulate but it still wasn't working.

Then I tried celery juice while on a vacation. After 1 day the swelling in my legs and ankles came down by half. After 2 days it came down by 3/4 and I was in the bathroom peeing all the time. By the 3rd day, my ankle and legs were the smallest they have been in years and I could see the veins in my feet. I drank the 16 oz celery juice every night. You will have to go to the bathroom in the morning. Now I have started drinking it in the morning on an empty stomach. If I miss it for one or 2 days, the swelling comes back. No other green juice works for this. I have tried. Just 16 oz of Celery Juice, with nothing added, is best. If you are adding something, which you shouldn't, it is ok to add a little bit of lemon juice.

I am happy that I found this, and I hope it helps you too.

Multiple Remedies
Posted by Deborah (Boca) on 10/16/2020

Try Sam-E

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cindy (Az) on 10/04/2020

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! )

Avoid Nitrates
Posted by Dale (Nc) on 07/13/2020

For what it's worth, nitrates also occur 'naturally' in many foods. I put 'naturally' in quotes because the source is often chemical fertilizer which causes the nitrate levels to be unnaturally high. Celery is a prime example. You'll notice that instead of sodium nitrite they are now often putting celery juice in processed 'uncured' meats. That is because celery juice is high in nitrates, and then bacteria in the mix converts the nitrate to nitrite, and there you have the preservative created naturally - but it is nitrate and nitrite nonetheless.

So, if you are avoiding nitrates (as my wife tries to do) you might want to research which foods are likely to contain high nitrate levels (celery, watermelon, and others). The difficult part is that it often depends on how they were fertilized, so the numbers usually cover a wide range.

Dietary Changes
Posted by Rob (Toronto) on 07/03/2020

I believe for any chronic repetitive condition a food diary and elimination diet is probably the best thing one can do for edema. Rather than applying anti-inflammatory compounds you may get to the root cause of what is causing the inflammation. In my case I just kept note of when I would have the condition and what I ate the prior day. If I eat very cleanly, just some specific greens, teas, and little to no meat all is good. It seems the suspects for my edema/inflammation are milk products, soy milk with the added fillers, I only drink a Soy product which contains soy and water, which doesn't not cause issue. One should have their kidney's checked to rule out that they are functioning properly. Low salt of course.

Distilled Water
Posted by Ricardo A. (Brazil) on 11/02/2018

Osteoporosis is easily prevented or reversed drinking lots of vegetable juices including green leaves. It is a disease of people who do not like to eat fruit, green leaves and vegetables.

Cream of Tartar
Posted by Ali (Wales) on 07/11/2018

Anything containing potassium will tend to lower the blood pressure, so that includes all fruits & vegetables. But low blood pressure can be an indication of poor adrenal & kidney function. Licorice root tea or capsules can help to raise low blood pressure. Small dose gradually increased is best so it can be monitored. Potassium is very healing, but always better when derived from fresh fruit & vegetables. Since going high fruit raw food I no longer suffer with edema and my insulin sensitivity is much improved. My injected insulin requirement (I am diabetic) has dropped by a quarter to half of the amount I was taking when following a high fat Ketogenic diet (which made my insulin resistance much worse).

Alpha Lipoic Acid
Posted by Gord235 (Vancouver, Canada) on 07/06/2018

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.

CBD (Cannibis Oil)
Posted by Anon (Usa) on 06/23/2018

Mustard seed powder is said to treat swelling.

CBD (Cannibis Oil)
Posted by Tim (Georgia) on 06/21/2018 21 posts

Hi, Kety

If you have any heart disease, as it's the main cause of edema usually, L-carnosine (caps)+DMAE (caps)+CoQ10 (caps)+ 5 drops of Aloe Vera Oil on your tongue/or meal as your regular source will improve your heart muscle in short time and stop swelling.

Good luck, Kety. My best wishes and many happy returns.

CBD (Cannibis Oil)
Posted by Anon (Usa) on 06/20/2018

Katy, look into inclined bed therapy, which is raising the head of your bed 5 degrees. Some believe that this is the way long ago peoples slept. It is purported to improve circulation of the blood and lymph, and edema is one of the many maladies it has been reported to improve.

CBD (Cannibis Oil)
Posted by Gord235 (Vancouver, British Columbia) on 06/20/2018


I'm glad to report that my success with the CBD oil continued for 2.5 months. That's how long it took to go through a small 495mg bottle taking .5ml first thing in the morning and last thing at night even though the recommended dose is only once a day. The swelling continues to stay away so I'm getting another bottle. You should be able to find it at any cannabis store. Pricey ($60.) but worth it. Good luck.

CBD (Cannibis Oil)
Posted by Katy (Sacramento, Ca) on 06/19/2018

Good luck with the cannibis- I will be back to hear your progress. I am not sure I can purchase it but will find a way. I've suffered from ankle and lower leg edema and the misery it causes for most of life and my dr just increased my diuretic [Triamterene] today--because the hot weather makes it worse. This is a great site, I learn more each time I visit-Cheers to all you edema sufferers and thanks for your input.