Oedema is the medical term for fluid or water retention and it occurs when excess fluids build up inside the body, in the circulatory system or within tissues and cavities.
Oedema however, while having nothing to do with fluid intake, has everything to do with malfunctioning organs. It is almost certainly the result of sluggish kidneys not eliminating waste water efficiently. This could be due to an external-induced injury, e.g. being hit in the back where your kidneys are most vulnerable, or the cause could be internal, such as prescription drugs or diet deficiency.
The condition appears first in the feet and ankles where excess fluid settles, making it common for people who are on their feet a lot or during pregnancy. Also, in women, it can indicate the onset of menstruation – feeling “bloated” just before your period starts, is a mild form of oedema.
Salt is the most efficient medium in the body’s capacity to retain fluids, so if fluid retention is a problem, salt intake should be kept to a minimum. Severe fluid retention might be a symptom of a disease, in which case a doctor should be consulted.
Simple oedema can be treated easily with diuretic herbs which promote urine secretion in a safe and effective manner, such as:
- Bedstraw is a powerful diuretic used to combat inflamed kidneys, bladder and urinary tracts.
- Birch aids the urinary system by reducing uric acid and is effective in reducing fluid retention.
- Cornsilk (or Indian Corn) has a marked action on the kidneys, neutralising and promoting excretion of waste products containing uric acid.
- Dead Nettle is an excellent herb which has a powerful cleansing effect, ridding the body of unwanted fluids including phlegm.
- Golden rod is most useful to counter kidney and bladder complaints, and fluid retention. It has a detergent action on the urinary tract.
- Horsetail has a tonic action, making it invaluable in the treatment of fluid retention, incontinence and bed wetting in children. It is very rich in silica, a mineral constituent of hair, skin and nails.
- Juniper berries are a potent diuretic, containing antiseptic properties which help maintain the healthy function of the kidneys, bladder and urinary passages.
- Parsley is ideal for people having difficulty urinating, a condition which contributes directly to fluid retention. A tea made from the roots or leaves, or a combination, is excellent.
We are all guilty of not drinking enough water, so lap it up – it’s good for you and it’s (mostly) free!