Peripheral edema is the medical term for swelling in the arms and legs. The condition occurs when fluid gathers in the tissues, causing heavy, swollen and painful areas in the body. Peripheral edema causes include inflammation, water retention and other serious medical issues. (1) Conventional peripheral edema treatment may involve diuretics to minimize fluid retention, but natural swelling treatment can be achieved through a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Peripheral Edema Causes

  • Water retention
  • Inflammation
  • Certain medications
  • Low protein levels in the blood
  • Problems with the veins
  • Kidney diseases
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Lung conditions

Peripheral Edema Treatment

1. Reduce Sodium Consumption

An overabundance of salt in the body causes the kidneys to work harder to excrete excess salt through urine. Retaining salt causes water retention and swelling. Natural swelling treatment includes reducing your consumption of high-sodium foods, such as table salt, processed meats and packaged foods. Stick to lean protein and healthy fats, and drink plenty of water to help your body balance sodium levels. (2)

peripheral edema salt

2. Exercise

A sedentary lifestyle can reduce blood circulation and increase inflammation, leading to swollen legs, ankles and feet. Peripheral edema treatment includes moving around throughout the day to keep your blood flowing properly. If you work at a desk for most of the day get up every hour or so and walk around the office. Have a walking meeting instead of sitting in a conference room with your co-workers, or take a walk outside during your lunch break.

3. Eat or Drink Parsley

Parsley works as a natural swelling treatment thanks to its diuretic properties. Eating or drinking parsley can help stimulate the production of urine and help the kidneys draw out excess water that may cause peripheral edema. Make parsley tea by adding 1/4 cup of chopped parsley to 1 cup of boiling water. Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes, then strain the parsley leaves and add 1 teaspoon of honey for taste. (3)

peripheral edema parsley

4. Drink Dandelion Tea

Dandelion tea can be used as a natural peripheral edema treatment. Peripheral edema causes include water retention. Dandelion tea is a natural diuretic that helps the liver eliminate toxins that may be causing inflammation. To use dandelion tea as a peripheral edema treatment, steep the root or flowers for 30 minutes in boiling water. Next, strain the dandelion and drink. (4)

5. Get a Massage

Massage therapy can help improve circulation to promote blood flow and reduce swelling. A study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice found that foot massages were an effective way to reduce lower leg edema for women in their late months of pregnancy. (5)

peripheral edema massage

6. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils that can be used as a swelling treatment include:

  • Grapefruit essential oil: Grapefruit oil activates the lymphatic system to help control fluid retention. It also increases blood flow and promotes detoxification in the body. Combine 3-4 drops of grapefruit essential oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Massage the mixture into the affected area 2-3 times per day until the swelling has subsided. (6)
  • Fennel essential oil: Fennel oil can help relieve inflammation that causes swelling. It has diuretic properties that can help relieve symptoms associated with peripheral edema. Add 1-2 drops of fennel oil to warm water or a cup of herbal tea and drink. (7)

7. Elevate the Affected Area

Elevating the leg can help reduce swelling and water retention while reliving pain and pressure. After you’ve been sitting or standing for a long period of time, prop 1-2 pillows under your feet for 15-30 minutes at a time. Elevation may be especially helpful for women who are pregnant and experiencing swollen legs, ankles and feet. (8)

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