Herbal Treatments for Swelling

Swelling or inflammation in the body is often a response to injury. It is the condition of excess fluids accumulating between the cells in a specific part of your body. Treatment for swelling can include using natural, herbal treatments either internally or topically. "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook" explains that a variety of herbals possess anti-edemic compounds that can draw out the excess fluid from your body and reduce swelling.

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Arnica, a perennial plant that looks like an orange daisy, has been used medicinally to treat bruising and swelling since the Middle Ages, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) 1. Arnica is used most often as an active ingredient in poultices and ointments that you apply to your skin to reduce inflammation. Arnica may also reduce gum swelling associated with gingivitis when used as a mouth wash. Mix a liquid tincture of arnica with water--the ratios range between three parts arnica and 10 parts water for a compress or poultice, or one part liquid arnica and 10 parts water for a mouth wash that you swish around inflamed mouth tissues. Over-the-counter skin creams and ointments that contain arnica are usually concentrated with 20 to 25 percent of the herb to address swelling. Overuse of the herb may lead to skin peeling and irritation. Taking arnica orally can lead to heart arrhythmias and neurological disturbances such as tremors.


Aloe vera is another herbal cure for swelling of the skin, especially when the swelling is associated with burns. The gel that is located inside the aloe leaves contains properties that promote skin healing and can minimize pain and swelling when applied topically. UMMC reports that using aloe vera gel on skin wounds reduces inflammation more effectively than a 1 percent hydrocortisone medication. Aloe is available as a topical agent in a variety of commercial cosmetic products, or you can simple break the leaves of the plant to extract the gel.


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that tumeric may contain natural anti-inflammatory properties but that more study is required in this area. Preliminary studies with animals suggest that the dried stems of the tumeric plant may be taken internally to reduce system-wide inflammation. NCCAM also explains that a powdered form of the herb can be used as a skin poultice to reduce localized swelling. "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook" relates an Ayurvedic recipe to combat swelling; mix together two equal parts tumeric and one part salt and apply to the swollen areas of your body.


Ginger root, a herb commonly used in Asian-style cooking, may also reduce swelling throughout your body, according to "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook." Using ground ginger in meal preparation may provide you with some of the spice's medicinal benefits. Taking a large dose of the herb, under the supervision of your doctor, may also be beneficial. With the exception of pregnant women, a daily dose of 50 g of ginger can reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain from arthritis. If you are pregnant and want to use natural herbs for swelling, ask your doctor about appropriate dosages.