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Edema (Water Retention)


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Although homeopathic substances listed in this article are generally not known to cause serious side effects, their effectiveness has not been demonstrated by scientific research. Consumers should check labels carefully, since a homeopathic product that is not diluted, or not diluted enough, may contain ingredients that cause allergic reactions, side effects, or interactions. It is always advisable to discuss any new treatment program with your healthcare practitioner.

For more information, see “Using Homeopathy with Professional Guidance” in What Is Homeopathy?


Swelling and puffiness in the ankles or around the eyes and other body areas are sometimes caused by minor stresses, such as standing for long periods of time, unaccustomed heavy exercise, hot weather, a change in salt intake, premenstrual stress, or minor conditions involving circulation. Edema can also occur in serious conditions such as heart disease, kidney disorders, liver problems, or complications during pregnancy—all of which require a physician’s care. Homeopathic remedies may be used when the cause is obviously minor, but any extreme or long-lasting edema should have a physician’s attention and diagnosis.

Remedy Options

Apis mellifica

This remedy may be indicated when puffy swelling develops below the eyes or in the extremities. The area can feel tight and numb, or tender with stinging sensations. Cold soaks and cold applications help, while warmth and touch can make things worse. A person who needs this remedy typically has low thirst, dislikes interference, and feels irritable.

Calcarea carbonica

A person who develops swelling in the lower extremities, especially around the knees, may need this remedy. Symptoms can be worse from sitting, unless the legs are supported. A person needing this remedy may tend toward weight problems, get tired easily, and feel worse from exertion. Hands and feet are often cold and clammy (although the feet may heat up at night).


Puffiness can be seen in various parts of the body when this remedy is needed. The person may feel awkward and even drop things because the hands feel weak or numb. Bovista is often helpful to women with water-retention around the time of the menstrual period, especially if diarrhea also occurs.

Ferrum metallicum

This remedy may be indicated if swelling in the extremities comes on after fluid loss (heavy sweating, loss of blood, etc.). Things may improve with walking slowly or other gentle motion. People needing this remedy tend to feel tired and be anemic, although they may look robust to others—being sturdily build, with a face that flushes easily.


This remedy may be indicated if swelling of the lower extremities develops in a person who is stout and has a tendency toward skin problems (cracks behind the ears, on the fingertips, etc.). Pain in the lower back and trouble becoming alert after waking in the morning are other indications for Graphites.

Kali carbonicum

A “baglike” swelling above the eyes is a strong indication for this remedy. Sensitive soles of the feet and swelling in the lower extremities (only one foot, at times) may also be seen. Gently moving around brings some improvement.

Ledum palustre

This remedy may be indicated if the ankles and soles of the feet are swollen and tender. The problems are worse from being warm, and cold soaks and cold applications bring relief. Ledum is most often used for injuries (sprains, black eyes, or puncture wounds) and insect bites, when swelling is relieved by cold.


If swelling is seen in a person inclined toward abdominal bloating and digestive problems, this remedy may be helpful. Numbness or heaviness in the extremities, and a feeling of one foot being warm and the other cold are other indications. Problems may be worse in the late afternoon and evening. Cravings for sweets and warm drinks, and an inner lack of confidence, are often seen in people needing Lycopodium.

Natrum muriaticum

If swelling occurs around the eyes because of allergy, or if a person develops swollen extremities after sun exposure, this remedy may be needed. An emotional nature with an outer appearance of reserve, a craving for salt, marked thirst, and a tendency to feel tired or ill from being in the sun are other indications for Natrum muriaticum.


Swelling that involves the knees, ankles, feet, or hands and is accompanied by a feeling of heaviness or weariness suggests the use of this remedy, especially if it occurs premenstrually or after overindulging in rich foods. Problems are worse when the extremities are hanging down, worse from warmth, and improved by gentle motion. A person needing this remedy will often be changeable, emotional, and moody—with low thirst and a tendency to feel better in fresh air.


Homeopathy Dosage Directions

Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.

Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient. If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.

For more information, see Understanding Homeopathic Potencies.

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