Dropsy, technically known as oedema, refers to the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body. It may be general or localized.

Causes and Symptoms

In the case of kidney disease, dropsy is first noticed beneath the eyes and face, and is worse in the mornings. In the case of heart disease, the swelling tends to be worse in the evenings and begins in the lower parts of the body such as the ankles. In liver disease, which is often the result of chronic alcoholism, the swelling is in the legs and abdomen. Oedema occurs in many diseases, especially those relating to the heart, kidney, and liver.


Pineapple: Pineapple is one of the many home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of dropsy. It contains sufficient chlorine which stimulates the activity of the kidneys and helps remove much of the waste products from the body. It also relieves the body of a waterlogged condition.

Arjuna: Another effective remedy for dropsy is the use of the herb arjuna. This herb has been employed successfully by practitioners of the indigenous system of medicine in the treatment of this condition. Thirty grams of the thick bark can be mixed with 250 ml of milk to make a decoction, and taken every morning on an empty stomach.

Alternately, one or two grams of the powder of the bark can be added to a cup of milk with sufficient jaggery to sweeten it, and taken every morning on an empty stomach.

Indian Squill: Another remedy found valuable in dropsy is the herb Indian squill. It has diuretic properties and increases the secretion and discharge of urine. The bulb of the herb should be sliced and used in a small quantity of twenty to thirty grams.

Black Nightshade: Black nightshade has proved beneficial in the treatment of dropsy. It can be taken both in the form of a decoction or as a vegetable. The decoction can be made by boiling thirty grams of black nightshade in half a litre of water, till it is reduced by one-third. This can be taken twice daily. An extract of the leaves and stem, in doses of 6 – 8 ml can also be taken twice daily.

Lime Water: Lime water has also proved effective in the treatment of this condition. The whole belly should be covered with a large, absorbant towel, which has been dipped in strong lime water and then squeezed out.

Dietary Considerations

To begin with, the patient should fast on fruit and vegetable juices for about five days. He should take a glass of juice diluted with water on a 50:50 ratio during this period. After the juice fast, he may spend another three or four days on an exclusive fruit diet, taking three meals a day of juicy fruits such as apples, grapes, pineapple, and papaya at five-hourly intervals. Thereafter he may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw vegetables.

Other Measures

The patient is advised to take a warm-water enema daily during the juice fast and the all-fruit diet This will help immensely in cleansing the bowels. A hot water bath taken daily will also be beneficial in the treatment of dropsy.

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