Top 5 Supplements for Swelling and Edema.

Authors note: I have had issues with swelling ever since I was very young,  notably swelling of my face and fingers. Said swelling was never that big of an issue for me until I underwent upper blepharoplasty or upper eyelid surgery.  After having this surgery I developed large bags under my eyes due to the upper eyelids swelling in the morning and gravity moving the fluids into the lower portions of my face, leaving a not so appealing look. After the swelling didn't resolve by itself after six months,  I began to experiment with supplements. The following are the top 5 supplements that I have used that actually helped reduce my swelling. If you know of a good product for reducing swelling or edema, leave a comment! 

1. Arnica: Arnica  is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries to reduce swelling from sprains and strains. Arnica can be administered  both topically and orally to reduce and prevent swelling from just about any type of injury. While there is mixed evidence on the efficacy of Arnica, I have found that topical preparations are very helpful for reducing swelling. Applying just a thin layer of Arnica cream or ointment  over my swollen face would reduce swelling significantly within an hour or less. I also found that when topical Arnica is combined with oral Arnica in the amount of 30x or higher, the benefits are greatly increased. If you have a injury or are having a surgery planned I highly recommend checking out Arnica. It's also one of the few anti-inflammatories that don't increase the chances of bleeding. This is especially good news for those who have just had surgery.  

2. Bromelain:  Bromelain is a substance that is derived from pineapples and is typically taken via oral administration. Doses generally range from 500-1,000 mg 1-3 times per day. I have found Bromelain to  be especially helpful for reducing swelling in the morning and for preventing swelling.  One thing I absolutely love about this product is that it doesn't cause upset stomach (unlike aspirin) and doesn't interact with most medications. In addition to reducing edema, Bromelain also gives my skin a "glow." Another positive to this Bromelain is the fact that it is very inexpensive. Most online stores offer this product for about ten dollars for a 1-month supply.

3.   Tumeric or Curcumen:  Though Curcumen is often used as a spice in Indian cuisine, it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. One of the biggest obsticles with curcumen is overcoming its poor bio-availability. Because of curcumins poor bio-availability, I oftentimes I will  take Piperine along with curcumen to increase absorption. I have found that when taken together I get a more significant anti-inflammatory effect. There are a few downfalls to curcumin, however.  Curcumin may increase bleeding after surgery and it's not exactly cheap. Most brands of curcumin that are enhanced for better bio-availability run about $30 for a 2-month  supply. 

4.  Dandelion: In my experience Dandilion seems to have a mild anti-inflammatory effect that is excellent for minor bruises and general swelling, but isn't quite as strong as of an anti-inflammatory as Arnica or Curcumen. Dandelion can be taken in a variety of formats: tea, capsule, tincture, and even eaten raw. Dandelion root tea is one of my favorites, with a soothing and delicious  way to reduce swelling.  Dandelion is also very cost effective, being only $4 or $5 for  small box of tea bags.            

5. Vitamins & Minerals:  I have found that when I don't get sufficient nutrition, i.e. when I am trying an extreme diet or have the flu  I  suffer from more edema than I otherwise would, especially around the eyes . I have found that taking a multivitamin every day helps keep my swelling in check and this has been especially helpful after eye surgery.  It is imperative for those suffering from edema to get proper nutrition, making sure to get sufficient vitamins and minerals to insure proper healing of tissues.  This is especially true after bodily trauma of any kind. Multivitamins are also typically very inexpensive.

-Note: if you are suffering from swelling that lasts more than a few weeks it is important to speak with your doctor about potential causes. Chronic edema can indicate a more serious underlying condition such as liver disease, kidney problems, or heart problems. However, for those with occasional swelling or those wanting to avoid swelling after surgery, the supplements listed are all good choices for alleviating mild edema.