Herb for lymphedema
While Complete Decongestive Therapy is the best form of treatment, using certain herb for lymphedema management has also shown positive effects. Yet, advocates of herbal medicine advise the utilization of herbs only to support the standard treatment in case of lymphedema. Physical therapy like massage and manual lymph drainage with regular use of compression garments and intake of certain herbal medications will help to bring about the maximum alleviation of the condition. Generally, herbs help to detoxify the body, but in case of lymphedema, they are used to stimulate the lymphatic flow. Some herbs said to be useful in treating lymphedema are described below:
- Bromelain: This is an enzyme extracted from pineapple, said to help break up the fibrotic tissues and reduce swelling. It can be used in tablet form to be taken thrice every day. However, bromelain should not be taken by those who are allergic to pineapple.
- Horse chestnut: This herb contains the compound escin, which helps to reduce the swelling. It is available as cream or tablets. The cream is applied to the affected area to reduce the swelling. Tablets can be taken daily; horse chestnut herb also helps to strengthen the walls of the lymphatic vessels.
- Butcher’s Broom: This herb helps to strengthen the lymphatic system and reduce the inflammation in the tissues. Ruscogenin tablets are available which could be taken in 100mg dosage per day for a period of three months.
- Coumarin: This herbal extract is widely used to treat a variety of ailments. It is found in a variety of plants like lavender, sweet clover, licorice and tonka bean. This herbal extract helps the protein fragments to pass freely into the venous system for elimination. However, this herb, when used for lymphedema treatment may cause liver damage in some cases.
- Ginger: Ginger tea reduces the inflammation in the affected areas and promotes circulation of the fluids in the body. Half a teaspoon of ginger powder is to be boiled in a cup of water, steeped for a while and strained before drinking.
- Grape Seed Extract: Grape Seed extract is an anti-oxidant that helps to clear the body of free radicals. It is known to prevent the cardiovascular disorder and may help in treating eye disorders.
- Elder Flower: This herb is rich in flavanoids and a good source of antioxidants. New research has suggested its usefulness in treating lymphedema by improving the circulation and reducing the edema. It can be consumed in the form of tea which can be prepared by pouring boiling water over a couple of teaspoons of dried Elder flowers, steeping it for five minutes. You can have it two or three times a day.
In China and Vietnam, a combination of herbal ingredients is widely used in traditional medicine to strengthen and promote a healthy lymphatic system. These formulas promote the drainage of the lymphatic fluids, help the functioning of the kidneys and the immune system as well as detoxify the body. The process thus helps to alleviate inflammatory conditions like lymphedema, swollen glands and tonsillitis.
There are varieties of herbal formulas being used to treat lymphedema. However, you must be cautious and conduct proper research before using these herbs. Try to find out if the herbal product is safe to use and if it has any side effects. Often, no studies are conducted regarding the efficacy of these herbs and you would not know if they are indeed suitable to your condition, or whether their use would be contraindicated with respect to other ailments that you may have.
BBC - Ouch! disability Messageboard - Disability Q&A - DLA ...