Fluid Retention

Oedema occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the tissues (retention of fluids). This increased amount of fluid causes the tissues to swell and results in heaviness of limbs (especially the legs), aching legs and reduced circulation.

The condition is commonly associated with other underlying conditions such as congestive heart complications, tissue trauma, alcoholism, pregnancy, kidney diseases, as a temporary symptom of premenstrual tension, hypertension, standing for long periods of time without moving, inactivity, pregnancy or as a side effect of some medications.


  • Drink herbal teas such as Dandelion Leaf and Green Tea as they support the function of the kidneys filtration and are also gentle diuretics
  • Ensure adequate hydration (at least 2 litres of water/ day) as water is the best solution for diluting wastes and fluid from the body
  • Have a vegetable juice each day to encourage liver detoxification and kidney filtration. Some ideas are fresh juiced beetroot, carrot, celery and ginger or watermelon or pineapple, green apple and mint
  • Reduce foods such as sugar, tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks and table salt (an alternative for this is Celtic Sea Salt) as these tend to hold onto fluid in the body
  • Ensure plenty of alkalising foods such as vegetable juices, water, lemon juice, bitter foods, vegetable soups/ broths, miso soup, fresh fruits and vegetables and herbal teas. Reduce acid forming foods in your diet as these places a strain on the lymphatics and kidneys. Foods which are acid forming are sugar, wheat, dairy, refined and processed foods, alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated drinks


  • Herbs to regulate fluid balance, lymph movement and circulaiton are Celery, Cornsilk, Dandelion Leaf, Horsechestnut, Parsley, Sarsparilla and Asparagus. Speak to a naturopath about preparation of herbal medicines and tailor making one to suit your needs
  • Fish oils may help to improve circulation and reduce stagnation of blood
  • Barley Grass and Wheat Grass encourage waste filtration through the kidneys and also strengthen the functioning of the kidneys as an elimination organ
  • Vitamin C is an important nutrient to strengthen the capillaries, circulation and reduce fibrin which contributes to pooling of blood and lymph wastes


  • Some pharmaceutical medications cause holding of fluids and decreases in kidney function, so speak to your GP about possible side effects from any medications you may be currently taking
  • At the end of the day lay with your legs raised on a pillow so that your legs are above the level of your heart. This facilitates the flow of the blood back to the circulation and also so that gravity does not contribute to the pooling of congestion around the ankles
  • Exercise is the best thing for moving wastes and lymphatic flow so get the heart pumping and the body moving