Herbs for swollen feet improve circulation and eliminate water retention, two common causes of edema, or foot swelling. You can use these herbs in the form of tinctures, teas, and energizing foot soaks.
Choosing the Best Herbs for Swollen Feet
Several herbs can help treat water retention and circulation issues. If you have problems with swollen feet, one of these options may be helpful.
Yes, that green garnish on your plate next to the steak is actually a useful medicinal herb. Parsley (Petroselinum crispus) acts as a powerful diuretic. Parsley also contains minerals, vitamins and chlorophyll, all vital for good health and nutrition. You can grow your own parsley with a simple pot of soil, seeds, and bright sunlight. Incorporate fresh parsley into salads or meals for an easy way to consume this useful herb.
You may think of dandelions as annoying weeds ruining a perfect lawn, but herbalists see dandelions in a different light. The lowly dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) provides excellent relief for water retention. The natural diuretic action flushes excess water from the body, relieving swollen feet caused by fluid retention. You may consume dandelion as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is an important staple of Chinese medicine. Ginkgo improves circulation, which in turn reduces water retention to the feet and legs. Always consult an herbalist or natural health practitioner if you have underlying circulatory problems before taking ginkgo.
Ginkgo is perhaps one of the most-studied herbs in the natural pharmacopeia. The Mayo Clinic gives Ginkgo a grade of "C" in relieving circulatory problems associated with painful legs.
Another important herb for foot swelling is peppermint (Mentha piperita). If you love the refreshing scent of peppermint, enjoy this herb in a footbath to relieve tired, swollen feet. You'll need a tub of hot and of cold water with peppermint oil. Soak your feet in a tub of hot water, as hot as you can stand, for no more than ten minutes. Then quickly switch to a tub of ice-cold water for just 30 seconds. Always end with the cold-water bath. Peppermint energizes, refreshes, and makes a welcome addition to treatments for edema.
Where to Purchase
You can purchase these common herbs at natural health and vitamin and herb shops, including the following:
- GNC: GNC offers several dandelion and Ginkgo products. Peppermint oil and tea is also available.
- Vitamin Shop: Buy dandelion, Ginkgo, and parsley extracts and supplements at The Vitamin Shop. Various peppermint products, including oil and capsules, are available as well.
- Shining Mountain Herbs: You can use this website to shop by symptom. Dandelion extract is available here.
- New Way Herbs: You can purchase dandelion, peppermint, Ginkgo, and parsley extracts here, along with a wide range of other herbal extracts.
Serious Conditions Related to Edema
While edema can be caused by common issues such as such as too much salt in the diet, improperly fitting shoes, or monthly hormonal changes, it can also be caused by more serious ailments. Before you treat your swollen feet with an herbal remedy, it's important to rule out serious health issues. According to Web MD, possible causes of edema in the feet include the following:
- Lymphodema, which is a build-up of lymphatic fluid, commonly following treatments like radiation
- Inadequate circulation, which is medically known as venous insufficiency and sometimes results in ulcers or infection
- Heart, liver or kidney disease, which can lead to swelling of the lower extremeties
- Medication side effects
- Blood clots, which can become life threatening
It's important to see your health care provider if you notice edema in your feet and ankles. Your doctor can rule out serious problems and consult with you on your treatment for swollen feet.
Herbs for Occasional Swelling
If you have slight swelling after being on your feet all day or your feet swell occasionally, you may benefit from herbal treatments. You can find parsley, Ginkgo, dandelion and peppermint in many herbal and natural health shops to help mild or occasional swelling. These home herbal treatments should not replace the advice or treatment of a health care proessional. Keep in mind that any swelling of the feet could be a sign of a more serious illness; always consult a physican to ensure there is not an underlying issue.