If you have struggled with the pain, swelling and unsightliness of spider and varicose veins, butcher’s broom (Ruscus Aculeatus), also known as box holly, could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Continue reading
Mark down a new health breakthrough for the ancient therapy known as acupuncture. Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common form of joint pain in the world. The answer, for many, is knee replacement surgery. But what if acupuncture could be used instead?
When acupuncture burst onto the scene in the U.S., Continue reading
Homeopathy, established in the 1800s, is loaded with a wide variety of natural healers. Many have poisonous elements to them, but these pose no risk to humans. After all, only a tiny fraction of the plant is used, and even then it’s decocted. Today let’s take a peek at “Aconite,” which has multiple excellent uses.
Deceptively pretty with its violet flowers, the Aconite plant has poisonous roots. In fact, its poisonous powers are legendary: long ago, in the Alps, hunters were said Continue reading
Breastfeeding is a special bonding experience for mother and child. Scientists at Warwick University studying the psychological effects of breastfeeding have affirmed that an infant’s suckling motion on the nipple releases mass doses of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for feelings of love, in the woman’s brain. This chemical release intensifies bonding and connection in the mother-child relationship. Aside from a clinical environment, most breastfeeding women will gladly offer their own testimonies regarding the joy that breastfeeding has added to their lives.
But as with everything, there is also a less pleasant side to breastfeeding. This includes latching difficulties, low milk production, engorgement, and the much dreaded mastitis. Mastitis is a breastfeeding woman’s worst nightmare. It is an infection of the breast tissue that involves enlargement, swelling, lumpiness, and pain in the affected breast. The pain has been described as excruciating for women who have suffered through it. It can be so extreme that the affected breast becomes red and hardened.
At worst case scenario, untreated mastitis can result in an agonizing abscess which may need to be surgically removed or drained, and possibly require the cessation of breastfeeding all together. In addition to these direct symptoms on the breast, mastitis is often accompanied by a fever and malaise. Continue reading
GLA may be effective in treating the millions of people who suffer rheumatoid arthritis. It is caused by a faulty immune system and there is no cure for it. GLA could reduce symptoms. Some studies have found no real benefit, while others have discovered positive results. The latter includes these three studies:
- Forty patients received 540 milligrams a day of evening primrose oil (or olive oil). The GLA-rich oil led to improvement in morning stiffness with no side effects.
- Thirty-seven patients received 1.4 grams a day of borage oil (or cottonseed oil). Over six months, borage oil improved joint tenderness, swelling, and pain.
- Twenty-four patients took two grams a day of blackcurrant oil (or soybean oil) for six months. The GLA group had improved joint tenderness.
Years ago, a bread company boasted that its product “builds strong bodies 12 ways.” But if you’ve got a gluten problem, bread may actually be destroying your body, not building it. In particular, it may be weakening your bones. And unless you stop eating gluten-containing foods (made from wheat, barley and rye), the deconstruction of your bones may continue until you suffer debilitating osteoporosis.
Looking back on my own experience with celiac (an autoimmune reaction to gluten), I can remember several medical misfortunes that should have indicated to an alert healthcare practitioner that I was suffering a health problem that needed investigation. For example, in elementary school, while playing baseball, I broke a bone in my hand while fielding a relatively slow ground ball. Continue reading
There are lots of ways to discourage the biting and stinging instincts of insects. Wearing DEET-based repellents, lighting citronella candles, and spraying essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus mixed with water all help. So does swearing off perfume and scented body lotions. But inevitably, we get bit or stung. When it happens to you this summer, consider these ways of relieving the itch, swelling, and sting.
It’s summer, so if you’re outdoors there is no escaping at least an occasional mosquito bite and the itch and swelling it brings. Lots of anti-itch creams are available over the counter, and if you’re really bothered you can get a stronger one with a prescription. Antihistamines also help stop the itch, but make sure it’s an oral medication, warns Dr. Leslie Baumann in her Skin Guru blog on Yahoo!Health. Topical antihistamine lotions can actually make things worse by causing an allergic reaction on skin that is already sensitive, she says.
Also, consider taking licorice, sold as an oral supplement and topical lotion and shown in studies to have cortisone-like effects, she says. Plus, it has the added bonus of being a sunburn soother. Continue reading
Edema is a condition of abnormally large fluid volume in the circulatory system or in tissues between the body’s cells (interstitial spaces).
Normally the body maintains a balance of fluid in tissues by ensuring that the same amount of water entering the body also leaves it. The circulatory system transports fluid within the body via its network of blood vessels. The fluid, which contains oxygen and nutrients needed by the cells, moves from the walls of the blood vessels into the body’s tissues. After its nutrients are used up, fluid moves back into the blood vessels and returns to the heart. The lymphatic system (a network of channels in the body that carry lymph, a colorless fluid containing white blood cells to fight infection) also absorbs and transports this fluid. In edema, either too much fluid moves from the blood vessels into the tissues, or not enough fluid moves from the tissues back into the blood vessels. This fluid imbalance can cause mild to severe swelling in one or more parts of the body.
Causes & symptoms
Many ordinary factors can upset the balance of fluid in the body to cause edema, including:
* Immobility. The leg muscles normally contract and compress blood vessels to promote blood flow with walking or running. When these muscles are not used, blood can collect in the veins, making it difficult for fluid to move from tissues back into the vessels.
* Heat. Warm temperatures cause the blood vessels to expand, making it easier for fluid to cross into surrounding tissues. High humidity also aggravates this situation.
* Medications. Certain drugs, such as steroids, hormone replacements, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and some blood pressure medications may affect how fast fluid leaves blood vessels.
* Intake of salty foods. The body needs a constant concentration of salt in its tissues. When excess salt is taken in, the body dilutes it by retaining fluid.
* Menstruation and pregnancy. The changing levels of hormones affect the rate at which fluid enters and leaves the tissues.
Some medical conditions may also cause edema, including:
* Heart failure. When the heart is unable to maintain adequate blood flow throughout the circulatory system, the excess fluid pressure within the blood vessels can cause shifts into the interstitial spaces. Left-sided heart failure can cause pulmonary edema, as fluid shifts into the lungs. The patient may develop rapid, shallow respirations, shortness of breath, and a cough. Right-sided heart failure can cause pitting edema, a swelling in the tissue under the skin of the lower legs and feet. Pressing this tissue with a finger tip leads to a noticeable momentary indentation.
* Kidney disease. The decrease in sodium and water excretion can result in fluid retention and overload.
* Thyroid or liver disease. These conditions can change the concentration of protein in the blood, affecting fluid movement in and out of the tissues. In advanced liver disease, the liver is enlarged and fluid may build up in the abdomen.
* Malnutrition. Protein levels are decreased in the blood, and in an effort to maintain a balance of concentrations, fluid shifts out of the vessels and causes edema in tissue spaces.
Some conditions that may cause swelling in just one leg include:
* Blood clots. Clots can cause pooling of fluid and may be accompanied by discoloration and pain. In some instances, clots may cause no pain.
* Weakened veins. Varicose veins, or veins whose walls or valves are weak, can allow blood to pool in the legs. This is a common condition.
* Infection and inflammation. Infection in leg tissues can cause inflammation and increasing blood flow to the area. Inflammatory diseases, such as gout or arthritis, can also result in swelling.
* Lymphedema. Blocked lymph channels may be caused by infection, scar tissue, or hereditary conditions. Lymph that can’t drain properly results in edema. Lymphedema may also occur after cancer treatments, when the lymph system is impaired by surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
* Tumor. Abnormal masses can compress leg vessels and lymph channels, affecting the rate of fluid movement.
Symptoms vary depending on the cause of edema. In general, weight gain, puffy eyelids, and swelling of the legs may occur as a result of excess fluid volume. Pulse rate and blood pressure may be elevated. Hand and neck veins may be observed as fuller.
Edema is a sign of an underlying problem, rather than a disease unto itself. A diagnostic explanation should be sought. Patient history and presenting symptoms, along with laboratory blood studies, if indicated, assist the health professional in determining the cause of the edema.
Simple steps to lessen fluid build-up may include:
* reducing sodium intake
* maintaining proper weight
* elevation of the legs
* use of support stockings
* travel breaks
A naturopath or a nutritionist may recommend the following dietary changes:
* Reduction of salt intake, including salty foods such as olives, soy sauce, or pickles. Cutting back the amount of sodium eaten may help reduce edema.
* Limited use of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and dairy products.
* Increased consumption of whole grain foods, cucumbers, apples, potatoes, grapes, onions, cabbage, and oranges.
* Daily vitamin and mineral supplements.
Diuretic herbs can also help relieve edema. One of the best herbs for this purpose is dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum), since, in addition to its diuretic action, it is a rich source of potassium. (Diuretics flush potassium from the body, and it must be replaced to avoid potassium deficiency.)
Hydrotherapy using daily contrast applications of hot and cold (either compresses or immersion) may also be helpful.
Other alternative treatments
Other alternative therapies may also reduce edema. They include traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, juice therapy, and bodywork. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have an elaborate diagnostic system to determine the pattern causing the edema. Thus treatment, if done correctly, results not only in the removal of fluid, but also with the correction of the problem.
The three “Ds”—diuretics, digitalis, and diet—are frequently prescribed for medical conditions that result in excess fluid volume. Diuretics are medications that promote urination of sodium and water. Digoxin is a digitalis preparation that is sometimes needed to decrease heart rate and increase the strength of the heart’s contractions. One dietary recommendation includes less sodium in order to decrease fluid retention. Consideration of adequate protein intake is also made.
For patients with lymphedema, a combination of therapies may prove effective. Combined decongestive therapy includes the use of manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, garments and pumps, and physical therapy.
Edema also known as oedema means swelling of body parts due to fluid retention. It is the accumulation of excessive serous fluids in cells or cavities of the body. It mainly affects lower body parts, mostly foot and ankles. It can slow down the healing process, increase the chances of developing skin infection, affect blood circulation and can be painful. Edema is not a disease; it only indicates that something is wrong in the body. Edema is due to an underlying problem in the body.
Non-inflammatory swelling of body parts
The main and primary symptom of edema is non-inflammatory swelling of body parts, especially the foot and the ankles. When the lump is pressed it creates a hollow which takes some time to disappear.
Following are some of the causes of edema. Heart Failure, Anemia, Kidney disease, Low protein level in the blood, Liver disease, Malnutrition, Starvation for longtime, Thyroid disease, Weak veins, Medications, Pregnancy, Menstrual cycles, Immobility. Sometimes even a healthy person can get edema but it gets cured automatically after some time. Heat and hot weather can also cause edema. Edema causes abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin causing tingling sensation. Increased hydrostatic pressure can be the chief cause for pulmonary edema. Several factors including reduced oncotic pressure causes pitting edema. Know what causes pitting and non pitting edema.
Use mustard oil
Mustard oil is an effective home remedy for edema. Take some warm mustard oil and rub it on the affected areas. Soak 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds in water and apply the solution to the affected areas. Apple cider vinegar helps to remove excess fluid in the body cells and cavities.
Eat low carbohydrate diet
Salt causes body to retain water, so avoid salty food. Eat food that has low carbohydrate in it, because carbohydrate has more water content. Eat protein and fat rich food. Avoid fruits and vegetables because they increase the fluid level in the body. Eat low-sodium diet because medicines will be ineffective if you eat high-sodium diet.
Exercise regularly by trying to keep your body engaged in physical activities. This will help you to get rid of excessive fluid in body cells and cavities. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. For swollen feet, stretch out your legs on a table and keep them slightly raised with the support of a pillow.