Most people have suffered at one time or another from swollen feet or legs. According to Mayo Clinic, the medical term for swollen feet and legs is “peripheral edema” and is the result of the fluid retention in leg tissue.
The underlying causes of edema range from occurrences as serious as acute kidney failure to such mundane events as sitting for prolonged periods of time. Edema can be a symptom of heart failure, a blockage in the lymph system, a blood clot in the leg, or the swelling of the membrane surrounding the heart. However, edema can also be a side effect of hormone therapy, pregnancy, and pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen.
If you experience swelling along with symptoms like chest pain lasting more than a few minutes, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fainting, or confusion, call 9-1-1 immediately. You may be suffering from a blood clot in the lungs or a serious heart condition. You should also seek immediate medical attention if you experience leg swelling after an injury, such as from a fall or car accident.
However, if you believe your edema is caused by something less serious, you can treat the condition at home with parsley tea.
Healthy and Natural World explains parsley tea works because it is a diuretic, meaning it improves kidney function and helps the body flush itself of excess water and salt.
To make parsley tea, chop the fresh leaves and roots of parsley. Place approximately 1/4 cup parsley in an infusion basket and either pour a cup of boiling water over the parsley or submerge the basket into a tea pot full of boiling water. Let the parsley steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Then, simply remove the basket and enjoy the tea, adding honey and lemon if you like.
If you suffer from chronic swelling or know you will be in a situation that is likely to lead to edema (i.e. a long plane ride, hormone therapy), incorporate foods with a high water content into your diet, as recommended by Progressive Health. These include watermelon, grapes, tomato, and cucumber. Eating high-water content foods while reducing your salt intake by avoiding processed foods is especially effective.
You may also want to try wearing compression stockings that go up to the calf in order to reduce swelling. A study by the University of Vienna suggests this method is especially useful for those who suffer from swollen legs as a result of standing or sitting at work for prolonged periods of time.
For pregnant women suffering from edema, vitamin C and B complex vitamin supplements can improve lymphatic circulation and decrease water retention, respectively. Natural Health Remedies 4 U says to reduce edema not just in pregnant women, but in all people, it is important not to cross the legs, wear comfortable shoes, exercise regularly, and lie down for at least 10 minutes daily with the feet elevated above the heart.