What is dropsy ?
Dropsy, technically known as oedema, refers to the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the body. It causes a type of swelling called oedema. It is a typical ‘impurities’ disease caused by an accumulation of waste products in the blood. This swelling may be localized, as with ascites (the distended abdomen that develops in cases of liver disease and some types of cancer), or generalized, occurring throughout the body, as with progressive kidney failure. It is a feature of many diseases, specially those relating to heart and kidneys.
In case of kidney disease, dropsy is first noticed beneath the eyes and face and is worse in the morning. In case of heart disease, the swelling tends to be worse in the evening and begins in the lower parts of the body such as the ankles. In liver disease, the swelling is in the legs and abdomen.
The main cause of this disease is the obstruction to the free circulation of blood and lymph and consequent impaired elimination. The localized oedema with pain may be due to interference with the circulation. When it is associated with itching, allergy is likely to be the cause.
Hormonal factors can also produce oedema. This is evident from two examples of swelling that occurs during pregnancy and the pre menstrual phase of a woman’s monthly cycle. Other causes include heart failure, advanced kidney disease, malnutrition, and thyroid disorders.
The real cause of dropsy, however, is abnormal accumulation of morbid matter in the system. This accumulation is so great that the kidneys and liver become overloaded and unable to perform their purifying tasks properly. The stagnation of unhealthy fluid in the tissues can also be aggravated by the heart muscle being too weak to pump the blood with sufficient force through the veins and arteries to carry the necessary oxygen and nourishment to the cells of the vital organs. This can result in the poisoning of the whole system.
Home Remedies for Dropsy
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.
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 un an empty stomach.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Lemon Water
Lemon water has also proved effective in the treatment of this condition. The whole belly should be covered with a large, absorbent towel, which has been dipped in strong lime water and then squeezed out.