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 Herbal Medicine: Edema: Water Retention  
 
Excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues and cavities.

Such abnormal accumulation of fluid in spaces between cells of body tissues, may be associated with liver or kidney disturbance, pregnancy, pre-menstrual syndrome and heart failure.

Never address water retention without treating its causal factors
We are faced with one of the paradoxical problems associated with the current use herbs, that is that they work! Too often herbs are used to address symptoms, successfully, ignoring the more fundamental healing work that they can facilitate. The undoubted value of herbal diuretics in helping rid the body of excess water is a prime example of this. If the practitioner goes for Dandelion leaf whenever edema is part of the patients symptom picture, they are probably missing an opportunity.

Actions indicated for this symptom
Diuretics are, of course, the group of herbs to be considered. The broader picture that the patient presents will suggest the appropriate treatment.

Specific Remedies
By far the most effective diuretic herb is Dandelion leaf, its effects being comparable to that of the drug Frusemide. In addition to its efficacy as a diuretic, Dandelion leaf has added benefits as a rich source of potassium. The usual effect of stimulating kidney function is a loss of vital potassium from the body. This will have an impact on a range of body functions but most crucial is electrolyte balance in the heart muscle. If the diuretic is being prescribed to treat edema associated with congestive heart failure, any reduction in potassium availability will aggravate the cardiac symptoms. With Dandelion, however, we have one of the best natural sources of potassium, replacing all that is flushed from the body via diuresis. It thus makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely wherever such an action is needed, including in cases of water retention due to heart problems.

One possible prescription
Taraxacum officinale 2.5ml of tincture three times a day

or
5ml of tincture when needed, but not at night
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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
 
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