Edema, has also long been known as dropsy. Is the accumulation of fluid in spaces between the cells within the body. It may affect all parts of the body although it commonly occurs as swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs. The bloating and swelling causes muscle aches and pains. In the case of edema caused by starting on hormone therapy, this type of edema is rarely if ever dangerous, mostly annoying and is generally self limiting. That is, while it may be annoying, it rarely causes any harm and generally goes away by itself, even if you do nothing at all and continue on your hormones.
There are of course in some situations where edema occurs concurrent with hormone use but is not caused by the hormones themself but rather by other problems such as by allergies or potentially serious disorders involving the kidney, bladder, heart, or liver, totally unrelated to hormone therapy. If edema persists it may need a work up to find what might be causing it.
Hormone Related Edema Is Often Also Associated with Certain Lifestyle Issues
For example, a diet which contains a great deal of salty foods, alcohol, animal protein (especially beef), caffeine, chocolate, dairy products (except low-fat cottage cheeses), gravies, olives, pickles, salt, soy sauce, white flower, and white sugar. Use tobacco smoking, or chewing can also lead to edema.
Treatment will depend upon underlying disorder. The main goal of all treatment programs either medical or non-medical treatment is the reduction of all swelling:
Complementary-Non-Traditional and Alternative Therapies for Edema
While following nutritional and herbal support guidelines may help alleviate edema, it is essential that the underlying cause be addressed. Nutritional treatment may not work in all cases of edema as edema is can be caused by many different reasons some which are not nutritionally related or require stronger or more powerful diuretics. The diuretic must be chosen to be appropriate according to the underlying cause.
Herbs can be a safe way to strengthen and tone the body’s systems. As with any therapy, it is important to ascertain a diagnosis before pursuing treatment. Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups/day. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted.
A general diuretic should contain herbs that support circulation and lymphatic drainage. They are best administered in a cooled tea (four to six cups/day), although a tincture may also be used (30-60 drops q.i.d.).
Drinking the tea cool will support circulation and lymphatic drainage without increasing vasodilation. Combine three of these herbs with equal parts of two to three additional herbs from the following categories, as indicated: cleavers (Gallium aparine), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), oatstraw (Avena sativa), elder (Sambucus canadensis), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and red root (Ceonothus americanus). See additional lists below.
Cyclic Edema and Idiopathic Orthostatic Edema:
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) strengthens the integrity of the blood vessels and its use has improved cyclical edema associated with hormonal changes.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a gentle diuretic as well as a tonic for the blood vessels.
Topical applications of creams containing one or more of the following may be helpful in increasing vascular integrity in orthostatic edema: horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), butcher’s broom (Ruscus asuleatus), sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis), and rue(Ruta graveolens).
Use caution in administering diuretics with renal failure. Herbal options include parsley (Petrosilinum crispum), dandelion leaves (Taraxacum officinalis), buchu (Barosma betulina), couchgrass (Agropyron repens), horsetail (Euquisetum arvense), and goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea)
Cardiac and/or pulmonary involvement:
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), motherwort (Leonorus cardiaca), rosemary (Rosemariana officinalis), and linden (Tilia cordata) Lily of the valley (Convalleria majalus), night blooming cereus
(Cactus grandiflorus), and broom (Sarothamnus scoparius) have toxic side effects but may be added to the cardiopulmonary formula under physician supervision
Hepatic involvement (may be used in conjunction with treatment for:
cyclic edema) may respond to milk thistle (Silybum marianum), dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis), turmeric (Curcuma longa), and artichoke leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Because of the many presentations of edema, remedies are best chosen by an experienced homeopath.
Physical Methods that can Support and Improve the Results of Herb, Nutritionals and Medications:
Acupuncture may improve fluid balance and provide support in the treatment of underlying cause and improve circulation.
Therapeutic massage can assist with lymph drainage and improve circulation.
Excessive fluid retention during pregnancy (toxemia) is potentially dangerous to both you and your baby.
Natural Treatment of Edema
Whole Foods Medicinal Benefits for Edema:
Herbs (see below):
Basic Information About Herbal Products As Diuretics
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