Oedema has been explained as Shotha or Shopha in Ayurvedic System of medicine. Oedema is witnessed in several diseases in different local areas such as face (facial oedema), eyes (supraorbital oedema) feet (ankle oedema) or throughout the body (anasaraca) or half of the body. Even though oedeam is usually encountered as as a symptom of a disease, in so many diseases related to vital organs like kidney (renal oedema), liver, heart (cardiac oedema), lungs (pulmonary oedema), and brain (cerebral oedema).

Causes of Edema as per Modern Science

  • Arthritis.
  • Brain tumor.
  • Burns.
  • Certain medications.
  • Chronic lung disease.
  • Contraceptive Pill.
  • Diabetes.
  • Excessive salt intake.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Head injury.
  • Heart failure.
  • Heat.
  • High Altitudes.
  • Kidney disease/damage.
  • Liver disease.
  • Menopause.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Poor diet.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Surgery resulting in localised inflammation or impaired organ functionalities.
  • Thyroid disease.


Causes of Oedema as per Ayurveda

  • Due to anaemia.
  • Due to fever.
  • Excess intake of alkaline or acidic food.
  • Food poisoning.
  • Improper diet.
  • Improper evacuation of doshas from the body by Panchakarma.
  • Incompatible food.
  • Intake of curd, lassi, and vitiated food.
  • Long term fasting.
  • Sedentary life, etc.
  • Warm, spicy, and heavy food intake.


Signs and Symptoms of Fluid Retention 

General features

  • Discolouration.
  • Disorientation.
  • Heaviness of the body.
  • Oedema over any of the body surface,
  • Warmth Debility in the veins,


Vatika Shoptha

  • Horripilation.
  • Numbness.
  • Occasional pain.
  • Oedema during day time, etc.
  • Pitting oedema.
  • Roughness Red or black discolouration.
  • Thinning of the affected skin surface.
  • Unstable oedema.


Pittaja Shotha

  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Fever.
  • Instant ulceration.
  • Oedematous lesions appearing with smell Black or yellow coloured lesions.
  • Perspiration.
  • Sepsis.
  • Severe burning.
  • Soft oedematous lesions.
  • Tenderness.
  • Thirst.


Kaphaja oedema

  • Anaemia.
  • Excess sleep.
  • Indigestion.
  • Nausea.
  • Non pitting oedema.
  • Oedema worsening during night time.
  • Stable and thick oedema.
  • Tastelessness.


Risk Factors for Oedema

  • Chronic venous insufficiency.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Deep vein thrombosis.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Lymphedema.
  • Nephrotic syndrome.


Ayurvedic Treatment for Oedema

  • A decoction is prepared by taking Erandamula, Gokshura and Jiraka in equal quantity. The decoction is capable of curing oedema.
  • Concomitant use of one pinch of haldi (turmeric), half a teaspoon of ginger along and honey gives instant relief in oedema.
  • Arogyavardhini rasa is a standard herbo-mineral remedy for hepatitis. Two tablets of the drug are given thrice a day for a month.
  • Anaemia associated with oedema is treated with one tablet of Poonarnava-Mandura, thrice a day.
  • Navayash Lauha, one tablet thrice-a day is wonderful remedy for oedema.

Chandraprabha Vati

  • Used in the Ayurvedic treatment of oedema, urinary tract infection, urinary calculus and difficulty n micturition.
  • Relieves constipation, bloating and abdominal colic.
  • Treats Diabetes
  • Improves strength, natural aphrodisiac and anti ageing medicine.
  • Also treats abnormalities of the respiratory tract, seminal and gynaecological problems.
  • Balances the three dosas.
Dosage: 2 tablets with warm water, twice daily or as prescribed by the physician.

Ayurvedic Research

  • Ajmodadi churna: Aqueous extracts of Ajmodadi churna significantly reduced paw oedema, during the second phase of edema development. In the carrageenan-induced air pouch model, AJM inhibited cellular infiltration into the air pouch fluid.
  • Amavatavidhvansa: The anti-inflammatory activity of Amavatavidhvansa rasa against carrageenan-induced paw oedema shows that all the three doses have significant effect and markedly reduced the swelling of paw.
  • Balarishta: Balarishta was investigated for anti-inflammatory activity against cotton pellet induced granuloma in albino rats. There was significant reduction in cotton pellet weightand acid phosphatase, GPT and GOT activities by
  • Dhanvantara Gutika: Dhanvantara Gutika was investigated for anti-inflammatory activity against cotton pellet induced granuloma in albino rats. There was significant reduction in cotton pellet weightand acid phosphatase, GPT and GOT activities by Dhanvantara Gutika.
  • Guduchi Ghana: Two samples of Guduchi Ghana were evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity using carrageenan induced paw oedema model in rats. Animals were divided in three groups, having six animals in each. Group A received test drug, Group B received market sample at a dose of 50 mg/kg orally, while Group C (control group) received tap water. Reduction in edema was observed in Group A and B at 3 h interval by 33.06% and 11.71% respectively. Group A showed significant effects (P < 0.05) in comparison to control group.
  • Jatyadi ghrita: An experimental study reported efficacy of Jatyadi ghrita in suppressing inflammation.
  • Maharasnadi Quatha: Maharasnadi Quatha significantly and dose-dependently inhibited carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema (the inhibition at 3 h was greater than at 1 h after induction of oedema). Maharasnadi Quatha also increased the reaction time of rats in the hot-plate test (by 57% after the first hour of treatment).
  • Mahayograj guggulu: Mahayograj guggulu showed dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity with a maximum of 49% in paw edema, respectively, at a dose of 500 mg/kg. Prepared sample showed significantly better activity as compared to the commercial sample.
  • Muktashukti bhasma: Muktashukti bhasma inhibited acute and subacute inflammation in albino rats as induced by subplanter injection of carrageenan, histamine, 5-HT, nystatin and subcutaneous implant of cotton pellets. In all the test procedures the anti-inflammatory response of 1000 mg/kg Muktashukti bhasma was comparable to the response observed with 300 mg/kg acetylsalicylic acid.
  • Nimbadi Taila: Nimbadi Taila was investigated for activity in Swiss albino rats against Piroxicam gel as standard reference and normal saline as control by Randall and Baroth method. The time to achieve reduction of inflammation in the rat paw was determined. The topical application of Nimbadi Taila exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity when compared with the Piroxicam gel and normal saline.
  • The Avartita Panchtikta Ghritha significantly inhibited carrageenan-induced paw edema, formalin-induced paw licking but it failed to suppress the formalin-induced paw edema, whereas Murchita Panchtikta Ghritha significantly inhibited formalin-induced pain response but it failed to suppress carrageenan-induced paw edema and formalin-induced paw edema.
  • Shilajit: Orally administered Shilajit (50 mg/kg) induced significant anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan induced pedal oedema. The alcoholic and aqueous extract ofShilajit exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenam induced paw volume using indomethacin as standard.
  • Shirishavaleha was administered orally at a dose of 1.8 g/kg for 5 days. Phenylbutazone was used as the standard anti-inflammatory drug for comparison. Between the two different test samples studied, the formulation made from heartwood showed a weak anti-inflammatory activity in this model while that made from the bark produced a considerable suppression of edema after 6 h.



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