By: Kristi Waterworth
Ever have one of those days when you feel a little sluggish and bloated? Well, your plants can have the same problem — they retain water just like people do when conditions are not right. Edema in plants is not a serious disease and it’s not a symptom of a bacteria, virus or insect infestation. Common causes of plant edema include over watering and improper fertilization; it’s easily curable if caught early.
Edema, or oedema, is a type of abnormal water retention in plants, often influenced by the plant’s environment. Favorable conditions actually encourage edema in many cases, since affected plants already have a fair amount of water in their systems, providing them with more can just encourage them to gorge on liquid. Any time the plant takes up water faster than it transpires, edema becomes a risk.
Signs of edema plant disease vary between susceptible species, but often include bumps, blisters or water-soaked areas on the undersides of leaves. These areas may expand and become corky, but in other plants, curling and distortion are common. White, crusty eruptions may form along the leaf veins or gall-like structures can develop under leaves with yellow corresponding spots on the upper leaf surface.
Because it’s not a disease, there are many ways to treat edema, depending on the cause. Your job as gardener is to figure out what’s causing your plant’s problem and correct the situation. If your plant has edema, first adjust your watering habits. Most plants should never sit in water, so remove those saucers and make sure that big pots are draining well.
Roots tend to absorb water faster when the water is warm and the atmosphere is cool, so wait to water until the sun is up in the morning whenever possible. Indoors, humidity can have a considerable influence on edema; improving air circulation around plants will help reduce humidity into safer ranges.
Increasing the light intensity is helpful for many plants with edema, but be sure not to cook them by moving them too quickly into brighter light. Make these changes gradually, over the course of a week or two, slowly leaving the plant in brighter light for an increasing length of time, until it no longer wilts in response to the sun.
Lastly, make sure you’re fertilizing your plant properly. Plants with low available potassium and calcium can be more susceptible to edema. If cultural conditions seem correct for your plant, a soil test may be needed. Adjusting the pH can make more nutrients available, or you may need to add more of the nutrients that are lacking.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Environmental Problems
The Plant Disease Clinic recently received a geranium sample with brown, corky lesions on the undersides of the leaves. These lesions were not caused by an infectious disease or insect, but rather were the result of a physiological condition called edema (sometimes spelled oedema).
Edema can occur on many types of plants, but is especially common on ivy geraniums, begonias, jade plants, pansies, and violets. Affected leaves and stems at first develop tiny, 1-2 mm blisters, especially on the undersides of leaves. Many blisters may form close together, appearing as large lesions. The blisters rupture and turn tan or brown and corky. Sometimes affected leaves turn yellow and fall off the plant.
Edema tends to occur when plants take up more water through the roots than they can use or release through their leaves. This usually happens when the soil is warm and very moist, while the air is cool and humid, as often occurs on overcast days. High light intensity has also been found associated with edema in ivy geraniums.
Although edema does not significantly harm the plant, it is unsightly. Minimize problems with edema by avoiding over watering during humid, overcast weather, and reducing humidity in a greenhouse. Some varieties of plants are more prone to develop edema than others.
Of the many potential causes, there are 5 that are most likely to be causing pepper leaf curl. Each has a slightly different presentation of the problem, so try to diagnose your issue and treat accordingly.
Leaves curling is a sign of stress in your plant, and it can usually be remedied with some simple adjustment to your plant care routine. Whether you’re growing in containers or in the ground, leaf curl is a possibility.
Stinging nettle is a common plant in most parts of the world with a temperate climate. It is loaded with nutrients and has both astringent and diuretic properties. It has been used traditionally for a long time for a variety of ailments, including edema.
Research has shown that it has the ability to reduce the swelling caused by edema by suppressing the release of cytokine, a substance which promotes inflammation.
A common and often recommended dosage of the herb for edema is 120 mg three times daily.
Butcher’s Broom – (Ruscus aculeatus)
Butcher’s broom, native to Africa and areas around the Mediterranean sea, is an evergreen shrub that has been used as a medicinal herb ever since ancient times.
The plant’s root which has a diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties is the part that is mostly used in herbal medicine as a treatment for edema.
Butcher’s broom is one of the most studied herbal diuretics there is. It contains the steroidal saponins ruscogenin, neoruscogenin, prazosin, and diltiazem (highest concentrations are found in the root), substances that have been proven to increase the permeability of the blood vessels which allows for movement of fluids and reduces inflammation.
Butcher’s broom is considered particularly effective for lower leg edema caused by chronic venous insufficiency from blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and varicose veins.
It is also used as a herbal treatment for hemorrhoids and lymph edema that women often develop after a breast cancer treatment.
In addition, the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties make it useful in fighting inflammation in the urinary tract, in the prostate and also in preventing kidney stones.
The recommended standard dosage for this herb is up to 11 mg three times a day. It can also be applied directly to the affected areas in the form of ointments or compresses.
Dandelion – (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion is a common plant, considered a weed by many, found in most countries of the Northern Hemisphere with a temperate climate.
It was used by the Native Americans to treat swelling. Today, the plant’s leaves are used for their mild diuretic properties to treat edema. The herb is often preferred over other diuretics as it does not alter the potassium levels in the body.
The herb is thought to be helpful in reducing edema by eliminating water weight and increasing urination. It is also considered a mild laxative, which further boosts its effect as a natural diuretic.
In one study, the herb was shown to increase urination in humans when it was administered in extract form, indicating that its traditional uses for water retention have some scientific basis. The study was first published in August 2009 in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Still, more and thorough studies are needed to fully confirm the herb’s efficiency as a viable alternative to conventional diuretic medication.
A common and often recommended dosage for dandelion is 500 mg of the powdered root one to three times a day. For those who prefer, it can also be used as food whether it is by blending it to make juice or use the leaves in salads.
Bearberry – (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi)
Bearberry, also known as uva-ursi, is a small evergreen shrub widespread in northern latitudes. It has been used traditionally as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments but mostly for treating bladder infections.
The plant contains high amounts of tannins known to reduce swelling and inflammation which make bearberry helpful in reducing symptoms associated with edema.
A research study from the year 1992 conducted at the Kinki University in Japan showed that the leaves of the plant contain a substance know as arbutin.
Arbutin has been proven to reduce swelling especially when combined with indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) that reduces fever, pain, and inflammation.
Since bearberry has no diuretic properties it is commonly used in conjunction with medicinal herbs that do.
The standard dosage of bearberry is usually 500 mg per day. For commercial products containing the herb, the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed.
Parsley – (Petroselinum crispum)
This well-known kitchen herb has diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties making it useful in reducing the amount of fluid retained in the body while at the same time treating the swelling caused by the edema.
Parsley contains tannins, flavonoids and some other beneficial compounds which make it effective in treating edema and gives the herb its aquaretic properties. Aquaretic herbs help to flush excess fluids from the body while leaving the sodium and potassium electrolytes levels intact.
Uncontrolled studies have shown that when parsley was combined with the root of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) which also has aquaretic properties, the mixture aided in weight loss and lowered high blood pressure (hypertension).
Parsley is usually considered a safe herb to use and the standard therapeutic dosages are one to three grams daily.
Still, some of the herb’s substances may cause some side effects. It is known to have a blood-thickening effect and it should not be used alongside blood thinning medications and aspirin.
Goldenrod – (Solidago gigantea)
Goldenrod is a perennial plant, native to Europe and Asia, that is regarded as both a mild diuretic as well as an anti-inflammatory agent.
These properties could make it useful for treating edema since it is thought to aide´in the removal of excess fluids from the body while treating the swelling in the tissue.
The herb’s applications as a treatment for edema are mostly based on traditional and folk medicinal uses. Studies on the herb’s effectiveness for edema in humans are lacking but a study from 1992 conducted at the Cairo University showed that the goldenrod reduced edema in rats.
The recommended dosage depends on the form in which it is taken. For powdered goldenrod leaves, it is safe and effective when taken in amounts of 6-12 grams daily split into two doses.
Goldenrod commercial pills or capsules are also used as supplements and then the manufacturer’s dosage should be followed.
It is possible to use the herb in tea form by steeping the leaves for few minutes in hot or boiling water. Taking it with water usually helps to lessen the risk of dehydration because of the diuretic effect of the herb.
Cleavers – (Galium aparine)
Cleavers are annuals plants, also known as goose grass. The herb is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. It gets the name cleavers from its sticky seeds and it has been used in folk medicine as a treatment for a number of ailments.
The herb is regarded as a natural diuretic and it has been used for treating edema since ancient times. It helps lower the body’s water weight while relieving the swelling in affected tissues.
It contains flavonoids, tannins, and glycosides that are thought to be responsible for the herb’s diuretic and anti-inflammatory effect.
No scientific studies have been done in order to confirm the medicinal properties of the herb and its therapeutic applications are based on traditional uses.
Many herbalists recommend cleavers to be used as herbal medicine in a tincture form. A common dosage of the tincture is 3ml to 5 ml taken three times a day.
Horse Chestnut – (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Horse chestnut is a medicinal herb that has its roots in ancient traditional medicine. It has been used mostly as a treatment for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, bruises, and ailments related digestive and urinary tract conditions.
Horse chestnut does contain substances with weak diuretic properties but as an herbal remedy for edema, it is mainly used to strengthen the veins and suppress the veins’ ability to release water into the surrounding tissues. This effect reduces swelling affecting the tissue, especially in the legs.
All the plant parts of horse contain the poisonous substance esculin. The raw and unprocessed seeds, bark, leaves or flowers should never be used in herbal teas or remedies.
Horse chestnut extracts and supplements that have been properly processed and do not contain (or very little) esculin are generally considered safe if used for short periods of time.
For commercial preparations containing horse chestnut, the manufacturer’s instruction should be followed.
Horse chestnut has a blood-thinning effect and should not be used simultaneously with aspirin and other blood coagulant drugs.
Ginkgo – (Ginkgo Biloba)
Gingko biloba is well known medicinal herb used to treat a wide range of health conditions. It is native to China but has been naturalized in most parts of the world. Its seed and leaves are used in herbal medicine.
As a treatment for edema, it increases blood flow and circulation resulting in less loss of fluids from the blood vessels to the surrounding tissue.
A standard dosage is usually 80 mg to 90 mg daily. The herb’s effects are usually not noted until after the third week of application.
Buchu – (Agathosma betulina)
Buchu is a small shrub native to South Africa that has been used traditionally for a long time as a natural treatment for a variety of ailments. It has mild diuretic properties which make it useful as an herbal remedy for edema.
The plant part that is used in herbal medicine are the leaves. Buchu leaves contain the active substances diosmin, quercetin, hesperidin and few others that are considered responsible for the herb’s ability to reducing tissue swelling and eliminate excess fluids from the body.
The leaves also have antiseptic properties which help in the treatment of urinary tract infections and the prevention of kidney stones. Buchu is often combined with other stronger diuretic herbs for a more powerful effect.
The most common way to use the herb for therapeutic purposes is in tea form. To make tea, one or two grams of the dried leaves are added to a cup of boiling water which then is allowed to steep for 10 minutes. The standard daily dosage is three cups divided throughout the day.
Buchu is not without side effects or contraindications and it should not be used by people that have a history of kidney or bladder ailments. It is also not deemed safe during pregnancy and it is important to seek medical advice before using the buchu leaves as herbal medicine.
Maize (Zea mays)
Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Spiny Restharrow (Ononis spinosa)
Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
Sundews (Drosera spp.)
Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria)
Fungal diseases can cause leaf spots. This typically occurs when water is splashed onto plants, or when humidity levels exceed 80 percent and water remains on leaf surfaces for over six hours. Indications of infection include circular lesions, overlapping lesions with a blotchy appearance on leaves, lesions with a bulls-eye type of concentric ring within the lesion, and lesions containing black pustules that are like pinpoints. Fungal spores are produced within the pustules.
If your edema is from insect bites or stings, this oil’s natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds can reduce the pain and swelling. One study, published in the official journal of the European Histamine Research Society in 2002, showed that the compounds in tea tree oil, terpinene-4 and alpha-terpineol, can regulate the symptoms of edema.
Put a few drops of tea tree oil on a cotton ball and hold it on the affected area for about five minutes. Then rinse off with warm water. Repeat as necessary. For very mild cases of edema, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to any carrier oil (such as olive oil or almond oil) and massage the affected area twice daily until the swelling and pain are gone.
Usually, if your legs or ankles swell after standing a lot or sitting for extended periods of time, there is nothing to worry about. However, if swelling at the bottom part of either of your legs is accompanied by other symptoms, you should see a doctor.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend visiting a medical professional for leg or ankle swelling if it is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: 20
Even if you think that leg swelling doesn’t have a serious underlying cause, it is still best to have a doctor check out any kind of swelling that causes you concern.
Read my other related articles:
your list No. 9 you need to put in a caution for dieabetics as they should NOT soak their feet for prolonged periods of time for fear of infection
Please, let me know how you came by this information.
My doctor at the wound center told me it’s not recommended.
My doctor says keep feet dry if diabetic. Even to the point of drying between toes after a shower. I have also been advised not to have manicures/ peds for same reason and in the event the bowls have not been cleaned properly.
Evidently you have an open wound on your foot, in that case you would not want to soak your feet. If there are no open areas on your feet, soaking is ok.
Same thing with pedicures, if you have an open area on your foot it increases risk of infection or if someone cuts your toenails and clips some skin, this increases chance of infection.
I am diabetic too, and have been doing my own pedicures, and love too, I know my feet and just how deep to cut the toenails without cutting the quick and yes we must be cautious as well as the nail techs. If one goes to a nail salon then ask them to clean there bowls and instruments in your presence. They want your business and will accommodate your wishes. One thing for sure if you go to one early before it’s your turn, watch what they do in between customers and that will let you know how sanitized they are, and you can decide if there’s is the one for you.
I am also a diabetic and have, also, been instructed not to soak feet with or without an infection. However, if you do have an open wound you should keep it wrapped in gauze dampened with a prescription saline solution to help pull the infection out and, see a doctor.
soaking will only hurt diabetics if they have open wounds.
I am a diabetic and this is what my doctor told me with regards to soaking with salts and such.
I am glad to be one of your fans in HEALTHY and NATURAL WORLD. I got connected by a friend who knew i had edema problem,and having read about swollen legs issue, i got some new tips which i am putting into practice already. I have been on some tablets in the last 3years hoping that the problem would come to an end long before now, but alas, i am still on the tablets up till date. These tablets are WARFARIN,FUROSIMIDE,SPIRINOLACTONE,DIGOXIN,CARDIVINOL.What is your advice on these drugs? I am going to be on drugs for life? I am 56years old now. Please respond appropriately.
Hi Elvis, unfortunately I don’t have the knowledge about these medicines. Every person needs to be evaluated by his/her doctor according to his/her specific situation, buy since I’m not a doctor, I don’t have the appropriate knowledge for that.
Hi Elvis……Have you googled these drugs..I did for all the ones I’m on..And I was put on Furosimide for my swelling and it made my legs and feet blow up like tight balloons…They say every body is different…I stopped the furosimide and find my swelling get much worse with eating anything in a can or a box…….So it’s lots of fruit and veggies for me. I am diabetic and 72yrs old……….I also have pain 24/7 throughout my body when I was put on a cholesteral med…..I got hooked up with a great supplement shop and they started me on CoQ10, Red Rice yeast, and Chelated Magnesium. Yes, it’s more expensive for me than a $6 a month prescription, but so worth it..Be blessed young man. I google info on everything at least 7 times a week.
Thanks for interesting suggestions.
Please also share on FB if you have suggestions for swollen arm ?
hi Narendra…..Have you googled swollen arm? It might enlighten you.
With a swollen arm you should find a lymphedema specialist.
I can’t believe this article has no mention of it!
***Lymphedema affects approximately 140 million people worldwide.***
The article specifically says that every case of swelling needs to be considered in its context to make sure you’re not missing a potentially serious condition.
i used to have these swollen ankles,legs & feet before, due to venous thrombosis,though i underwent vein stripping,i still have the swelling of my ankles legs & feet.i was prescribed with anti-inflammatory medicines but the remedy is just temporary,and i might be drug dependent.so,nowadays, i switched to natural herbs,i have these plant called “ashitaba”,everyday before breakfast i usually munch 5 leaves till it is so small to swallow with 1 glass of water.the pain is gone and the swelling as well.these plant is featured in YouTube where you could get more informations and other health benefits.
I have a semilar problem so help me my proscribing the correct herbs for me.
where can l get the plant
where can I get the plan ashitaba?
My feet swell a lot, and have bluish color to them, feels like I’m walking on hot coals. The pain goes up my legs, resulting in calves of my legs to swell. My heart skips beats and I am always out of breath
YOU SHOULD SEE A DOCTOR RIGHT WAY I HAVE THE SAME THING AND I FOUND OUT I HAVE HEART PROBLEMS THATS CAUSING THE SAME SYMPTONS.
Hi,having swollen feet and my heels is blistering when I am on my feet for long ,can you say what problem is that and some advice how to treat it
According to Mayo Clinic website, you may experience swelling due to fluid buildup after sitting or standing for a long time. Leg swelling caused by the retention of fluid in leg tissues is known as peripheral edema. It can be caused by a problem with the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the kidneys and more. As mentioned in the article, every case of swelling needs to be considered in its context to make sure you’re not missing a potentially serious condition. For harmless edema do the recommendation in the article. If you suspect your edema could be a sign of heart, liver, kidney problems etc, visit you doctor.
Ive had dis problem since i was 15yrs.my feet and ankles swell and sometime get very painful. Doc told me d veins were narrow and thus the constant swellings.im now using aloe vera but there is that unexplainable pain.
How do you use the aloe vera ? my grandma has had swollen ankles and frequent leg cramps of course major age difference feels awful to watch and be helpless. If possible any comfort I can bring with the help of natural remedies is what I’m hoping to do any suggestions that you found helpfull please and thanks if u reply
Have you tried a vein doctor who does corrections for varicose vein dilation? Maybe they can help you. Also uva has a gait clinic, so maybe a teaching hospital near you has one or just call uva and ask for a referral on your area. Maybe they have seen patients with your condition and can help you. Also watch Dr Ken Berry and Dr Eric Berg on youtube for suggestions.
I also believe it is a lack of proteins in blood to pull fluid from tissues. Years ago I went on low carb diet (fairly high protein) and problem solved.
Can you highlight on the subject of bone growth or spurs on the heel
If there is any way to reduce the pain naturally
Hi, my foot doctor just had me buy “Dansko clogs” I can’t believe it but the pain is gone from the heel spures and tendinitis in aquilies tendons. .I’m shocked
Things that helped me. Custom inserts ($280), not paid by insurance and only lasted for 10months. I’ve never bought another pair bc my feet felt better. Shoes from running store where the owner tested where my knee feel over my toes. And podiatrist suggested frozen water in coke bottle to roll feet over for swelling and stretching the tendon. Blessings.
I had a double lung transplant 12/3/2011 so my immune system is compromised. I am not allowed to take anything that will strengthen my immunity or my body will reject the lungs.
Having said that, I have high blood pressure, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and am on 5 ltrs of oxygen 24/7. My feet and really all over swelling but my feet are huge. My doctor is trying to change my BP meds to eliminate hydrolozine and add clonidine. I also take lobetolol. At one point my BP was 210/105 in the hospital so I have major problems. I tried to buy and download a book on natural BP to get off the BP meds but the website was horrible and so was the service. I never got the book. My son tagged me on Facebook to you. Sorry to write so much but I really need help.
Try watching Dr Ken Berry and Dr Eric Berg on youtube. Also look into Dr Michael Greger. Also books can be found at your local library. Call them and have them hold the books for you to pick up. They should also be willing to bring out to your car. Try 200mg of coq10 as suggested by Dr Ken Berry. #1 for the heart. Also, there is a book total written about coq10. Blessings.
Hi Barbara, I understand your need for help. The problem is that I am not a doctor and you have multiple health issues. Cases like yours require knowing your medical history and performing medical tests and it is impossible to do it over the internet. I really apologize I cannot be of any help.
I have been told I need a double hip replacement at 67 years old because my hips are bone to bone but no doctor will touch me because they say my BMI has to be between 30-40 and right now it is 42. I am barely able to walk due to the pain in my hips, leg bones and upper thighs. My muscle enzymes have been elevated a couple time between 800 and almost 1200 and they thought I may have myasitis or even MD but I had a muscle biopsy done that ruled both of those out and although a nerve conduction study showed my nerves to be fine there was signs of muscle deterioation but that didn’t show in the biopsy. Because I can barely walk because it causes like spasms in my thighs I am not getting much excercise. I did do some aqua therapy but the pain after getting out was bad and I was barely able to dress myself in the lockeroom and walk back to my car. I use a cane or walker. I haven’t found a doctor who can figure out what is really wrong. I do sit in a recliner or lay in bed but try to get up and walk a little as often as I can. I have swelling in my thighs and often in my ankles. I don’t know where to go, or a doctor to see that can help me. I don’t sleep most nights due to the pain. This has been going on for two years and only getting worse. I have seen a back surgeon who told me that there is nothing wrong with my back only arthritis but no more than anybody else my age…..can anyone give me any suggestions or ideas of something to try to stop the pain and get me moving again? I know I need to lose weight and have even been on a appetite suppressant but no excercise the weight doesn’t move much. I have tried every OTC cream and pill available….even used horse linement for the pain. Help me please!! Email me with a response if you can at [email protected] . Thank you!
Look at the replies from dhytzz abejo posted Aug 14 and Dawn Thomas posted Nov 14. They may help with your problem, and were posted before your comment, so I am very surprised that you didn’t see or read them. As the owner of this website states, they are not a doctor, so would be unable to solve these problems. Google the 5 / 2 diet. Lots of people have lost weight sucessfully with this method, as it just means two consecutive days without carbs. Which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Sugars are more likely to be responsible for your weight gain than fat. Remember, when you do any exercise, because your body is not used to it, toxins would’ve built up in your tissues, and cause pain. But if you repeat the exercise a few times throughout the day, the pain will actually lessen, because you will be building muscle and allowing more blood flow. Hope this helps.
I put off bilateral hip replacement as long as I could. I understand that you cannot exercise to lose the weight required because of your lack of mobility. I was young when I had to have replacements. I put it off as long as possible because of my age. While waiting to get older and have the technology improve, I swam every weekday for nine years. No other exercise was possible, as I finally could only get around by wheel chair. SWIM even though you might only be able to move your upper body, but it will take off weight and give you the upper body strength you will need to make recovery easier. The buoyancy of the water will feel so good. I used a therapeutic pool which keeps the water at LEAST to 89 degrees F. Hospitals and rehabs have them for those who really need it. Good luck. You have to do what you have to do. It is not easy, but can be done. The BMI is important to all surgeons. The results will be tricky unless you can get the BMI down. You can do it, and God Bless.