Oedema is fluid retention and it occurs when there is too much fluid (mainly water) in the body’s tissues, causing swelling to occur in the affected area. The swelling is usually related to the venous (veins) system, or the lymphatic system (tubes that carry lymph, a fluid that helps fight infection and clear fluid).In Chinese Medicine oedema is related to the spleen and lung. Oedema is caused because the body cannot get rid of excess water. The spleen is important because, in Chinese Medicine, it processes the food and the blood and transforms the dampness. The lung can also be responsible if there is a blockage.If a kidney deficiency is diagnosed it will be treated by warming and toning to restore the balance.

Chinese herbs used include dried ginger and water plantain to prevent production of further dampness. For the spleen, ginseng, codonopsis root, poria and white atractylodes tuber would be prescribed. The lung herbs are intended to send the lung energy downwards, and the herbs used here would be cinnamon twigs and ephedra.

In Chinese Medicine curing oedema is not simply a case of taking diuretic drugs. They are not the answer as the system becomes dependent upon them, and once you stop taking them the body fills up with water again. If they are taken long-term they can cause other damage. Chinese Medicine treats the cause, not the symptoms.

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