Herbs for Fluid Retention of Lower Leg
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Karen
Posted on: April 6, 1998

What herbs other than green tea would you recommend for someone who has a fluid retention in her lower leg which seems to worsen as the day goes on?

Herbal treatment must be taken in consultation with your medical practitioner, who can determine the cause of your leg swelling. It is a complication of many different conditions, including certain drugs, allergies, premenstrual syndrome, obesity, varicose veins, liver & kidney disorders and diabetes.

Green tea is a diuretic, useful for reducing fluid retention.

Fluid retention in the legs & ankles that increases as the day goes on could be a sign of heart disease. Other symptoms would be high blood pressure, breathlessness on exercise and general fatigue. In this case, a low fat, low cholesterol, low salt diet that includes sufficient water & lots of fresh fruits and vegetables should be followed. Dean Ornish, M.D. has written books that can make this diet not only simple, but enjoyable. "Eat More, Weigh Less" (Harper Collins publisher) outlines his process and contains hundreds of simple gourmet recipes. His other books are "Stress, Diet and your Heart" and "Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease". Herbs that can help are Hawthorn, which strengthens the heart, as well as the following herbs, which are diuretics:

Dandelion root - also aids the liver and gall bladder

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) - also an immune system enhancer and healer of urinary and bladder problems. This remedy should be taken for no more than a month.

Parsley - also anti-rheumatic, provides vitamin C & E & iron

Yarrow - also improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure

Daniel Mowrey, in "Proven Herbal Blends" (available at Richters) recommends a heart tonic that includes Hawthorn berries, Motherwort, Rosemary leaves, Kelp and Cayenne. He does warn that it may potentiate the action of digitalis, so that your physician must be informed that you are using this tonic if you are under care for heart disease.

Fluid retention during pregnancy must be attended to immediately by a doctor, as it may be a sign of eclampsia (blood toxemia).

Along with the increased fluid eliminated with the use of diuretics, excess potassium is excreted. Dandelion root is a particularly useful diuretic because it contains potassium and actually leaves the body with a net potassium gain. Dandelion root coffee is a good way of taking this herb.

Maria Treben in "Health From God’s Garden (available at Richters) suggests the following for fluid retention: Rest Harrow (Ononis Spinosa) roots: "Two teaspoons in cold water, steeped overnight, warmed slightly in the morning and strained. Half a cup is drunk half an hour before and the other half cup half an hour after breakfast."



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