Herbs for Swollen Legs and Feet
If you are prone to swollen feet, ankles and legs, you are not alone. Fortunately there are a number of simple home remedies that you can try including certain herbs. As well as home treatments, there are a number of preventive measures that you can use to stop your legs from swelling in the first place.
Before we look at the potential remedies, let’s take a look at the causes of your swollen legs and feet.
What Causes Swollen Feet and Legs?
Pain free swelling of the legs, feet and ankles is a very common which can occur for various reasons. The main causes of swelling in your feet and legs include the following :
- Ill-fitting shoes
- Spending too long on your feet
- Certain lifestyle factors
- Certain illnesses and medical conditions
When fluid builds up in the tissues, it is called edema. Edema is normally nothing to be too worried about and it usually clears up of its own accord. Nevertheless, there are various home remedies that can help reduce the inflammation more quickly and help you get back on your feet sooner.
Before we look at the herbs you can use to treat the swelling, let us take a look at some preventive measures.
How to Prevent Swollen Legs and Feet
It is easier said than done but being overweight or obese can cause problems with blood circulation. Poor circulation can then lead to extra strain being put on your feet and legs which may cause pain when you are walking. People who experience pain while they are walking are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle potentially resulting in fluid buildup in the lower extremities.
Wear Properly Fitted Shoes
Ill fitting shoes is one of the major causes of swollen feet and ankles. Making sure that your shoes are comfortable and fit properly reduces the risk of swelling.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying well-hydrated helps prevent swelling. And although it sounds counter-intuitive, getting more fluid into your system actually helps relieve the build-up of fluid in your tissues. When your body does not get enough water, it will retain the fluid it already has leading to swelling.
Wear Compression Socks
Compression socks are readily available and can have a very positive impact on swelling in your feet and ankles. Compression socks come in a wide range of weight and compression. It is better to start with lighter socks and find the ones which give you the greatest comfort and relief.
Herbs for Swollen Legs and Feet
We often think of the dandelion as a pesky weed that ruins our nicely manicured lawns. The vast majority of people will just dig them up and discard them without a thought. This is a shame since the dandelion has a wide variety of excellent health benefits.
Dandelion, known scientifically as Taraxacum officinale have excellent diuretic properties that can help relieve the build-up of excess fluid in the tissues. Diuretics also known as water pills are commonly prescribed for conditions that benefits from flushing fluids from the system. Studies have demonstrated that dandelion is an effective natural diuretic. (1)
They help increase the quantity of urine produced by the body and the frequency of urination and studies have found that dandelion has excellent natural diuretic actions. By flushing the excess fluid from your system, dandelions may help relieve the swelling and discomfort in your legs and feet.
Dandelion is available in supplementary form but it is commonly used in the form of a healthy tea. Dandelion tea is easy to make and packed with goodness so think twice the next time you are clearing them from your garden and try making the best use of them.
Peppermint is another great herb which can help treat a variety of conditions including swelling in the feet and legs. Peppermint has a wonderful, refreshing scent that can also help revitalize your tired limbs. Peppermint essential oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling in your legs and feet.
Simply add a few drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of hot water and soak your feet for ten to fifteen minutes a few times a day. To treat swelling in your legs, add four or five drops of peppermint oil to your bathtub.
You can also massage your peppermint oil into your swollen legs. Make sure that you dilute your oil with a suitable carrier oil before applying it to your skin.
Most of you will be familiar with parsley as a culinary ingredient but not everyone is aware of its powerful medicinal properties. Parsley has actually been used for centuries to help relieve swelling and to combat fatigue. It has natural diuretic properties meaning it helps your body dispose of excess fluids. It can also help get rid of salts in the body which is one of the major causes of edema.
Parsley also helps support kidney health which promotes their ability to rid the body of toxins and urine. By staying well-hydrated and adding plenty of fresh parsley to your diet, you can flush excess fluids from the system more readily.
One great way to consume parsley to treat edema is in the form of a healthy tea. Try drinking two or three cups of parsley tea each day to relieve swelling in your feet and legs.
To make the tea simply chop up some fresh parsley leaves, boil up a cup of water and add about a quarter cup of the chopped leaves. Allow the tea to steep for at least five minutes and add some homey to taste.
Ginkgo biloba is a popular herbal remedy which has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginkgo has been studied extensively and comes with a diverse range of medicinal uses including the ability to relieve swelling in the legs and the feet.
Ginkgo biloba can significantly improve circulation in the body which can help rid the body of excess fluids in the lower extremities.
Also known as bearberry, Uva ursi is an herb that may help relieve edema naturally. There is some debate about whether or not the herb is a natural diuretic. Some studies suggest that it can increase the frequency and volume of urination (2) while others have found no effects.
Uva-ursi has been traditionally used to treat urinary tract infections and several studies have revealed that it is an effective natural remedy for UTIs. Uva ursi is sometimes used in combination with dandelion.
Other Natural Remedies for Swollen Legs and Feet
Bathing in a cool bath with Epsom salt can help relieve both swelling in the legs and feet and also muscle pain. It works because the salt helps to draw toxins out of the body and also increases relaxation.
Elevate your Legs
Try elevating your feet and legs above your heart to reduce swelling and inflammation in your feet and legs. You can lie down and prop up your feet on pillow or cushions while you are asleep. Try also to elevate your legs for short intervals throughout the day.
Water retention is sometimes a symptom of magnesium deficiency. If you are deficient in magnesium, then adding more of the mineral to your diet can help. Magnesium is available in supplementary form but it is always best to get your nutrients from a natural source.
Foods that are rich in magnesium include almonds, cashews, spinach, broccoli, avocado, dark chocolate and tofu.
If you are planning to take a supplement, make sure that you speak to your doctor first especially of you have a pre-existing heart or kidney condition.
When should I see my doctor?
Depending on the cause of the swelling, these home remedies may not work for you. If you find that the remedies are ineffective or if you have any other symptoms, do not hesitate to speak with your doctor. The swelling and accompanying symptoms may indicate a more serious health condition. Your doctor might prescribe water pills (diuretics) to help relieve the swelling.
- Swelling in the feet and legs is a common condition which is usually painless and not serious. However, it may be a symptom of a more serious condition. You should consult your doctor if the swelling is painful or does not go away after a short time.
- Swelling in the lower extremities can be cause by a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes are spending too much time on your feet, ill-fitting shoes and pregnancy.
- There are a number of preventive measure you can take to reduce the risk of swelling. Make sure that you stay well-hydrated and wear comfortable shoes.
- There are also a number of home remedies that can help reduce swelling. Natural diuretic herbs like dandelion and parsley may help reduce the swelling faster and relieve the discomfort.
- Other home remedies include Epsom salt baths and magnesium.
Do you suffer from swelling in the feet and legs? Please let us know if the remedies we have talked about helped you. If you have another home remedy, please tell us about it and we can add it to our list.