Herbs for Lymphoedema
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: January 25, 2005

Please tell me if you know of any herbs to help lymphoedema in the arm. I had cancer surgery years ago and got a little swelling than, but it got worse about a year ago and now I have to wear a arm sleeve.

Thomas Bartram, in "Bartramīs Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (available at Richters" defines lymphoedema as a swelling caused by congestion of lymph in the tissues by obstruction of the lymphatic circulation due to inflammation, injury or tumour. It is important that your doctor determines what is causing your current swelling.

Herbs that help to clear the lymphatic vessels include clivers (Galium aparine), red clover flowers and echinacea. You can take red clover flowers and clivers as a tea by combining one teaspoon of each with a cup of boiling water, cover and steep for 15 minutes; drink three to five cups daily. Check that the herbs are good quality by noting their colour. Red clover flowers should be purple, and clivers should be green. If the dried herbs are brown, they are ineffective. Echinacea is best taken as a tincture. Ask at your health food store for the best brand.

If these herbs do not make a difference within two weeks, you should discontinue their use and consult a qualified natural practitioner in your area.

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