Edema Management

Edema Management :
Aromatherapy for Supporting Lymphatic Drainage and Skin Protection
by Ramona Meers, RN, BSN, Certified Integrative Aromatherapist

            Edema, or swelling, is the abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or within body cavities.  It can be very painful, and damaging to the skin in the affected area.  Causes of edema include pregnancy, dermatitis, severe insect bites, blood clots, varicose veins, traumatic injury, and systemic conditions such as heart failure and kidney failure and liver disease.  Edema is also seen in cases of severe protein-deficient malnutrition, known as kwashiorkor.  Attention should first be given to identifying and addressing the underlying cause of the edema, if appropriate.  

          Aromatherapy can be used to promote lymphatic drainage and manage skin irritation caused by inflammation and over-stretching.   The following recipe for a topical gel may be used as needed on swollen, intact skin.

Edema Gel

Essential oil blend:

            Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)  6 drops

            Helichrysm (Helichrysm italicum)   4 drops

            Juniper Berry  (Juniperus communis)  3 drops

            Cedarwood Virginia (Juniperus virginiana) 2 drops

Gel Base :

            Aloe Vera gel  65 ml

            Tamanu Oil (Calophyllum inophyllum)  10 ml

 In a small glass bottle, combine the essential oils and gently swirl the bottle to blend.  In a clean 3 - 4 ounce glass jar, combine the Aloe Vera gel and Tamanu oil and mix well with a clean spoon or glass rod.  Add the essential oil blend to the gel base and mix well.  Apply as needed to affected areas.  Close the jar tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Ramona Meers practices Nursing at United Hospital in St Paul, MN and offers personalized Aromatherapy consultation at TIMELESS Aromatics in Rosemount, MN.

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