Oedema – Ayurvedic Understanding, Treatment, Home Remedies

Article by Prof. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu)., PhD.
Oedema is explained as Shotha or Shopha in Ayurveda. We come across the oedema conditions in different local areas such as face, feet etc or throughout the body or half of the body. Even though it usually appears as a symptom, in so many diseases related to vital organs like kidney, liver, heart, lungs, brain, uterus etc,

it may appear as individual disease itself due to imbalanced Dosha. Ayurvedic understanding and treatment options for oedema are explained below.

Causative factors

Causative factors for Shotha (oedema) :
Improper evacuation of doshas from the body by Panchakarma procedures like like  Vamana (emesis), Virechana(purgation) etc
Due to fever
Due to anaemia
Long term fasting
Improper diet
Excess intake of alkaline or acidic food
Warm ,spicy,and heavy food intake
Intake of curd , lussy ,vitiated food etc
Incompatible food
Food poisoning
Sedentary life etc

edema of legs

Onset of Shopha

Due to the causative factors, the Vata Dosha, , rakta [blood], Pitta and Kapha are vitiated and they are lodged in the veins which circulate in the body and extremities. Due to defect in the circulation, the mamsa (muscle) and twak (skin) are also badly affected and ultimately hard and elevated oedema is resulted.

General features

General features of Shotha (oedema)
Heaviness of the body
Oedema over any of the body surface
Debility in the veins
Discoloration etc

Vataja shopha features

Features of Vatika Shoptha –  oedema due to Vata Dosha:
Unstable oedema
Thinning of the affected skin surface
Red or black discoloration
Occasional pain
Pitting oedema
Oedema during day time etc

Pittaja shopha features

Features of Pittaja Shotha – Due to Pitta Dosha imbalance
Soft oedematous lesions
Oedematous lesions appearing with smell
Black or yellow coloured lesions
Conjunctivitis /redness of the eyes
Severe burning
Instant ulceration etc

Kaphaja shopha features

Features of Kaphaja oedema :
Stable and thick oedema
Anaemia / pallor
Excess sleep
Non pitting oedema
Oedema worsening during night time etc

Shopha due to Abhigata

Oedema caused due to injury (abhighata)
Due to injury caused by sharp instruments, frost, chilling wind, contact of Bhallataka [marking nut ] , Kapikacchu [cowhage ] etc also oedema is caused. These exhibit the qualities of Paittic oedema.

Shopha affected by poison

Features of Poison affected oedema:
Due to the contact or bite of various poisonous insects ,birds, animals or snakes these are caused .These are associated with severe burning sensation and ulceration. They are of instant spreading nature.


Breathlessness , thirst, vomiting, debility, fever, hiccup, diarrhoea, tastelessness are the complications of oedema.

Ayurvedic Treatment

According to the doshic dominance, dosha pacifying measures are undertaken. In case of severe mal digestion, fasting (langhana) and digestive medicines (pachana) are advised. All measures are undertaken to reduce the swelling by application, tub bath and oral medication.

Single drugs

Single drug recommended in Shotha(Oedema)
Ginger – Shunthi- Zingiber officinale Rose.
Castor root – Eranda- Ricinus communis Linn.
Punarnava- Boerhavia diffusa Linn.
Tribulus – Gokshura- Tibulus terrestris Linn.
Guggulu- Commiphora mukul (Hook. Ex. Stocks.) Engl.
Aragwadha- Cassia fistula Linn.
Cumin seeds – Jeeraka- Cuminum cyminum Linn.
Turmeric – Haridra- Curcuma longa Linn.
Shilajit -Asphaltum punjabinum
Devadaru- Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) Loud.
Haritaki- Terminalia chebula Retz.
Shallaki- Boswellia serrata Roxb.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines for oedema management:
1. Shunthyadi kashaya
2. Punarnavasava
3. Gomutra mandoora
4. Kamsahareetaki
5. Dashamoola hareetaki
6. Vasakasava
7. Gokshradi guggulu
8. Shothari Rasa

Other Yogas From Sahasra Yoga Text Book

Sophahara Kashaya
Koushikokta Rasnadi Kwatha
Panduhara Kashaya
Tiktaka Ghrita
Mahatiktaka Ghrita
Sukumara Ghrita
Kusmanda Ghrita
Khandasama Choorna
Trikatwadi choorna
Hapushadi choorna
Hutabhungadi Choorna
Ayorajo Nagaradi Choorna
Krishna Rajanyadi Choorna
Triphaladi Talam
Kalyana Kshara
Danti Haritakyavaleha
Punarnavadi Lehya
Dasamoola Haritaki Lehya
Trivrit Kulambu
Kaisora Guggulu
Amruta Guggulu
Mandoora Vataka
Chanda Bhaskara Rasa
Neelakantha Rasa
Marichadi Gutika
Antrakutara Rasa
Panalviraladi Bhasma Ganji
Aviltoladi Bhasma Ganji
Swasari Taila
Karaskara Ghrita
Dasamooladi Kashaya
Chukkuchundadi Kashaya
Pathyapunarnvadi Kashaya
Guduchi Triphaladi Kashaya

Ayurvedic home remedies

Simple home remedies for oedema:
Regular consumption of a mixture of one pinch of turmeric along with half a teaspoon of ginger along with honey relieves oedema.

The herbs – one teaspoon of Punarnava, ginger and turmeric are taken in a vessel. Added with two cups of water, boiled and reduced to half a cup filtered. This in a dose of 20 ml, two times a day before food along with a small piece of jaggery is useful to relieve oedema.

Erandamoola, Gokshura and Jeeraka are taken in equal quantity and a decoction is prepared .This is capable of pacifying oedema.

Wholesome diet and habits

Purana shali [old rice]
Yava [barley]
Kulattha [horse gram]
Mudga [green gram]
Tamr chooda rasa [chicken soup]
Koorma [ flesh of tortoise]
Purana ghrita [old ghee ]
Takra [butter milk]
Madhu [honey]
Shigru [drumstick]
Rasona [garlic]
Bala moolaka [tender raddish]
Amalaki [goose berry] etc

Unwholesome diet and habits

Lavana [salty diet]
Shushka shaka [dry vegetables]
Navanna[newer grains]
Madhya [alcohol]
Amla rasa [sour substances]
Shimbi dhanya [pulses]
Guru ahara [heavy food]
Vidahi ahara [spicy food]
Adhwa [long walk]
Shrama [exhaustion]
Dadhi [curd] etc

Swelling is a simple health complaint if it is a localised one or if it is of recent origin; whereas the generalised oedema or oedema with chronic history surely denotes serious underlying pathology. So, one should be careful and take immediate action towards such problems.

10 comments on “Oedema – Ayurvedic Understanding, Treatment, Home Remedies

  • Kaps

    03/12/2014 - 1:13 pm

    Doctor Hebbar, I really like your articles and your blogs and await new articles everyday. Can you please write similar articles on migraine and fibromyalgia. These are two conditions which are not well understood by both doctors and patients and as they are chronic conditions getting complete relief is seen to be difficult, especially by the allopathic doctors. I hope you will consider my request and shed light on these two conditions.

    Reply to comment
  • Avinash

    03/12/2014 - 8:47 pm

    Dr. Hebbar, I like your articles and blogs a lot and await new articles everyday. Can you please write similar articles on migraine and fibromyalgia. These are two conditions which are not well understood by both doctors and patients. As these are chronic conditions with no physically verifiable symptoms, they are seen to be difficult to treat, at least by the allopathic community. Please consider my request and shed light on these two.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      04/12/2014 - 5:16 pm

      Hi, thank you very much for reading my articles. I will surely write about these topics. Regarding migraine, thus far I have written regarding a home remedy. Please see here -https://www.easyayurveda.com/2013/11/21/ayurvedic-home-remedy-migraine-using-saffron/

      Reply to comment
  • Mandeep

    27/12/2016 - 11:39 pm

    Hii doctor. My mother have edema last 1year.present tie she unable to move up. She have heart problem. 2 time she admitted hospital due to heart failure.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      07/01/2017 - 10:23 pm

      Hi, an online consultation is not good enough to treat your mother. Please consult an Ayurveda doctor locally. Wishing your mother, a very quick relief.

      Reply to comment
  • Gita

    23/05/2017 - 9:36 am

    Dr Hebbar, would chronic pedal oedema relate to the heart/circulation/venous insufficiency? If it is like two balloons on either side of the ankle, feels tender, never subsides, and is on both feet what does it point to?

    Does facial puffiness in the mornings, on waking, indicate weak kidney function or hormonal imbalance or an excess salty/sour diet?

    Have you written any articles on pedal vs facial oedema and the possible causes?

    Thank you.

    Reply to comment
  • Jayaraman M

    11/06/2017 - 7:44 pm

    My daughter age 19yrs taking training in one company stands for longer hour and her one leg got swelling. It reduces after taking rest. Is it curable or it requires doctors consultation.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    24/07/2017 - 12:18 pm

    Hi, if you can consult a physician, he will guide you.
    ECG, kidney function test, CBC, ESR are required primarily.

    Reply to comment
  • Reema

    11/03/2018 - 8:26 pm

    Hello dr. I had a miscarriage and after that had body pain and back pain,when I met an Ayurvedic doctor he said there was swelling in many parts of my body for which the dr suggested Ayurvedic massage and steam bath ,after doing that I feel there is now more pain and the areas are becoming reddish .While they are massaging they are pressing on that particular swelled up areas .Is it normal?

    Reply to comment

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