Benefits of Turmeric in Edema

Quick Answer: Can Turmeric help in Edema?

Edema occurs due to fluid retention in the body accompanied by swelling. Several studies have shown the potential of turmeric as a safe anti-inflammatory agent and may reduce swelling and pain. The recommended dose of standardized curcumin extracts for inflammatory conditions is 400-600mg thrice a day. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking turmeric if a serious medical condition accompanies edema.

Edema occurs when there is abnormal fluid retention in the circulatory system or in spaces between body cells.

This will cause swelling and usually occurs on the legs, feet or ankles and is accompanied by shortness of breath, muscle pain, facial puffiness, abdominal bloating or change in mental state.

The face and hands also may get affected. Pregnant women normally get edema although others can also get it. While edema is a symptom, persistent edema could indicate more serious health problems.

Some causes could be, remaining in one position (sitting or standing) for long, medications, hormonal changes, allergies, hypertension, head injury or exposure to extreme heat or high altitudes.

High altitude cerebral edema occurs in mountain climbers which could be fatal.   Treatment options include drug therapies, alternative therapies, surgery, acupuncture, lifestyle changes or massages.

Please feel free to use the Table of Contents below to jump to the relevant section in the article.

Turmeric, Curcumin & Edema

Turmeric is a medicinal herb which has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Asian medicine to treat a wide range of medical problems.

While herbs like turmeric may not specifically treat a disorder like a drug, it is a safe way to strengthen the immune system and fight against destruction by toxins in the environment.

Patients are always advised to check with the doctor before incorporating any herb in their diet plan for medicinal purposes.

Edema causes inflammation of various parts of the body. Turmeric has been studied for its potential as a safe anti-inflammatory.

Curcumin which is the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric has the potency equivalent to several anti-inflammatory drugs like hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone.

Unlike these drugs which can cause side effects like ulcers or intestinal bleeding with long term use, curcumin does not demonstrate any side effects.

A study was conducted on the role of curcumin in inflammation and oxidative stress caused by cerebral edema. Simulated altitudes of 25,000 feet were created and rats were introduced to this for different durations.

The brain water content, oxidative stress, transvascular leakage and pro-inflammatory parameters were examined at these different durations.

Rats exposed to 24 hours of hypoxic exposure experienced maximum transvascular leakage of the brain. There was also an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines.

The rats exposed to 24 hours hypoxia were pre-treated with curcumin. It was found that this pre-treatment significantly eased symptoms of cerebral transvascular leakage caused by hypoxia.

Another study was conducted on the effects of turmeric on cerebral edema caused due to traumatic brain injury.

Many medical therapies to limit the devastating effects of cerebral edema have not been very effective.

Hence various alternative therapies are being studied. Mice were pre-treated with curcumin and then brain trauma was induced.

It was found that the neurological parameters were better and fluid retention in the brain was significantly less in such mice. Curcumin was able to reduce activation of many inflammatory factors.

One study concentrated on the effects of turmeric on focal ischemia caused due to traumatic brain injury. Curcumin offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which were targeted for this study.

Male rats were subject to focal ischemia and various parameters were examined. It was found that the curcumin-treated rats had reduced infarct volume. These studies show that turmeric could be a safe and viable option to treat cerebral edema.

Taken internally as supplements, turmeric is used to treat headaches, edema, bronchitis, colds, fevers, indigestion and more.

Topical use of turmeric to treat edema has also been examined. Edema causes swelling of the joints of the feet, ankles and legs. Rats were induced with paw edema and divided into groups.

One group was treated with a topical gel application of turmeric powder combined with isopropyl alcohol, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose and polyethylene glycol-6000, one group was treated without turmeric powder and in another group, turmeric was replaced with diclofenac – a standard anti-inflammatory drug.

After the study period, the various parameters were examined.

It was found that turmeric even at a low dose of 3.33% was able to inhibit paw edema by nearly 27.4%. This shows that turmeric could be used as a safe anti-inflammatory agent.

Turmeric is used to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The recommended dosage for rheumatoid arthritis is 400mg thrice a day.

This protects the body from damage by free radicals and reduces joint swelling.   Since edema also causes joint swelling and inflammation, turmeric could benefit the treatment of these symptoms too.

Turmeric for Swollen Ankles and Feet?

Turmeric might help decrease swelling in ankles and feet due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.

Curcumin may treat conditions that involve pain and inflammation through different mechanisms.

One of the mechanisms by which it reduces pain is through NF-kB inhibition.

A study showed that the dietary supplement blend containing curcumin might help manage chronic pain associated with swelling and increase comfort during daily activities after eight weeks.

Turmeric paste made using turmeric and slaked lime may be applied for reducing muscle pain and inflammation.

Additional studies in the future will determine the effect of turmeric on ankle edema.


For inflammatory conditions, curcumin standardized extracts of 400-600mg thrice a day is the recommended dosage.

If a tincture extract of turmeric is used, then the usual dosage is 0.5-1.5ml thrice a day.   The usual dosage for osteoarthritis is 500mg twice a day of Meriva, Indena – a specific turmeric extract and 500mg four times a day of non-commercial turmeric extracts.


Turmeric when used as a spice in food is generally safe for everyone. When taken as a supplement, turmeric in high doses could cause indigestion, dizziness, nausea or diarrhea.

Those with gallbladder problems or are taking medications for diabetes or anti-coagulants or antiplatelets, pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid turmeric supplements.

High doses have resulted in liver problems in laboratory animals although similar effects have not been seen in humans.

Those who need to undergo surgery must stop taking turmeric two weeks before the due date as it slows blood clotting.

Edema could be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. So, always check with your doctor before taking turmeric supplements.


Can turmeric help in reducing lung edema?

Few studies have shown that turmeric may help with lung edema. It may reverse the damage caused by ventilator-induced lung injury, reduce edema and lung injury. In LPS-induced acute lung injury, curcumin supplementation may decrease pulmonary edema and improve lung function.

How does turmeric reduce inflammation?

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha is a major mediator of inflammation in many diseases, regulated by the activation of nuclear factor-kB. Curcumin may suppress inflammation by blocking NF-kB activation. However, there are many other mechanisms by which curcumin may reduce inflammation.

Is curcumin good for brain inflammation?

Preliminary studies showed that curcumin might be therapeutic for brain inflammation. An animal study showed that curcumin intervention might reverse the Fas/FasL-mediated apoptosis and HHBD-brain inflammation. It may downregulate the expression of aquaporin-4.

28 thoughts on “Benefits of Turmeric in Edema”

  1. Question: my feet and legs swell 2-3 days after flying, will tumeric pills help and should i take it before flying or after my swelling starts?

  2. Are there any studies on supplements? I have been taking Apple cider vinegar twp table spoons, no adverse effect. I decided to add. In 1/8th tbl. Spoons of baking soda, again no adverse effect.
    This past few days i incorporated curcumin and as of yesterday my feet, ankles have blown up like a balloon. Last night i went back to taking just the apple cider vinegar. Nothing adverse accept i thought all will be gone. I was wrong.
    Of the things i am allergic is as follows:
    All Asprin in all forms
    All Ncids
    Lisiniprol and Toprol.
    Foods; All mellon’s. Rosemary
    Please advise what you think.
    [email protected]
    Jack intrator
    Have you encountered this before? The photo you use tp show how swollen my feet and ankles are. I dont want to go to my docs as he will just give me Prentizone.

    • Hi. We are sorry to hear about the adverse effect. Curcumin actually helps reduce inflammation and swelling. Please discontinue the use of the supplement if it is worsening the edema. Please check the quality of the supplement you are consuming. You may also consider switching to organic turmeric powder.

  3. I have swelling in my ankles and lower legs putting a paste or taking curcumin in capsule form will this reduce the swelling in my legs and ankles? What is recommended that I apply or take orally a day?

    • Hi. If the pain is really severe we would recommend both. For application, make a paste of turmeric powder and coconut/olive oil. Conduct a patch test prior. Apply 2-3 times a day and let it be for at least 30 minutes..if possible an hour would be good.
      Orally you can take Golden paste or curcumin supplement. Start with small doses and it is better if you take the capsules after meals. Also avoid taking it at the same time as taking medications, maintain 3-4 hour gap.

    • Hi. We would not suggest applying turmeric spice to the eye as it may cause irritation. Please consult a health practitioner about this.

  4. I was wondering about the effects on blood pressure. Many anti inflammatory edits can cause sodium retention, causing blood pressure ekes actions and therefore contribute to heart disease/failure. Is Tumeric safe in these diseases?

  5. I was just taken off blood pressure medicine because i kept getting gout attacks not being on the meds i have some selling in my ankles and feet can turmeric reduce edema in my feet

    • Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property and antimicrobial property can benefit in edema. Turmeric may help in mitigating the cause of edema. One important thing to note that turmeric powder is high in oxalates which is not good for gout. If you are not getting oxalates from any other dietary source then low doses of turmeric should not be a problem. Turmeric supplements are advised in treatment of gout but it is best to consult a doctor about this.

  6. I have swelling & redness in my feet The Dr. can’t find the cause,he wants me on 80 mg fluid pill, trying to avoid that. What can I do ? I am desperate, was in hospital they couldn’t find the cause, I went thro all the test, everything was normal , please help.

  7. Hi there.. Was wondering if these could be useful for eyelid enema? 6.5 months of eyelid swelling in one eyelid and I’m willing to give anything a try. Thanks

    • HI, yes it can. I has been used since ages for wounds and swelling. Take turmeric paste or turmeric milk.

  8. I know this is a health website and I am finding it very helpful. It says when taking the medicinal treatment of 400-600MG thrice per day to be careful not to take it too long. What would be considered too long? Months, weeks, days? I have a health condition I would like to take it for but do not know for how long is too long then switching to Tumeric milk or smoothies. Please let me know. Thanks!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for writing. The actual side effects are not severe and also slow. Thus “long” is very subjective. I would stop taking large dosages as soon as I feel better. For example in case of inflammation, the time when it is subsiding or manageable would be “long”. People in studies have been given large dosage for weeks to some months too.

      Sorry, I cannot be very specific here as this does not work like modern pills at all!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.