I have primary lymphedema in my lower legs.  I’ve had it for over two decades, although it really didn’t advance until I was in my late 40s.  Then it started advancing fast.  I tried many things but eventually had  a great result from using Chinese herbs for lymphedema.  Along with following a plant-based diet, I was able to reverse most of it, so the condition was hardly noticeable.  It didn’t cure the lymphedema, but it did make it so it didn’t impact my life much.  I no longer had to wear compression stockings or massage and elevate daily.  You can read about my initial experience with Chinese medicine here.

Fast forward a few years:  the swelling has stayed minimal, however recently it started advancing again.  Because lymphedema is such a scary thing, that was my signal to take action again.  So I decided to do another round of Chinese medicine.

After researching the entire topic again, I noticed that few people seem to be trying chinese herbs for lymphedema.  Fortunatley, I did find that it continues to be used for lymphedema in some parts of the world.  There’s actually a formal clinical trial on chinese herbs for lymphedema going on in China right now.  This makes me feel optimistic that there is much more to the ability of chinese medicine to treat lymphedema than seems to be commonly known.  (That’s one of the reasons that I started this website).

So now I am starting another course of chinese herbs, this time with a different practitioner.

I also have a few questions this time:

If I continue the treatment for a longer period this time, can I actually cure the lymphedema completely?

Or, will I need to do this every few years?

I’ll happily do if it means freedom from compression stockings,  massage, etc.   Obviously there’s many questions and not many answeres here, yet.  So I am going to chronicle this experience, in hopes that it might help others too.

After all, we have few choices when it comes to really “fixing” lymphedema.  Fortunately some people are reporting good results with surgery.  Surgery, however, is very expensive and comes with its own set of risk factors.  Chinese medicine, on the other hand is natural, so no side effects usually and is affordable.

So, I’m trying it once again.


I just got my herbs from my Chinese medicine provider.  The mixture I got included about 12 different Chinese herbs and other natural ingredients, including a few common ones that I recognize (ginseng and ginger).  The herbs are freeze dried and I simply take a certain amount (6 small spoonfuls) with water twice a day.  So far, so good.  Some chinese herb formulations can taste really bad, but these freeze dried ones are no problem.  Not that you’d drink it voluntarily, it still tastes like medicine, but its easily stirred up and drank in one quick shot.

The practitioner said that I should start feeling general benefits from it in about 1 week—more energy, better sleep, lessening of stomach pain (I’d been experiencing stomach burning lately).

He said it may take a month or so for the swelling to start dropping.  At that point he should know whether he needs to adjust the herbs for next month or stay on the same combination.

He also said that it had a lot of ginseng in it which you shouldn’t take late in the day.

I just took one dose that day to make sure I didn’t have any strange reactions.  I didn’t, so I was fine to continue.

DAY TWO.   On day 2 I took the full two doses.   I quickly realized that they weren’t kidding about the ginseng.  I had a couple cups too many of green tea and turned into the caffeine monster:  super edgy.  That’s never a good feeling nor can I imagine it to be pleasant to be around.  I did a quick google and found out that ginseng can magnify the impact of caffeine.   Note to self…should I care to maintain my personal and business relationships, moderate the caffeine when taking ginseng.

DAY THREE.  Slept well and felt fine all day.  I took this first thing in the morning and then around noon.  Nothing exceptional to report.

DAY FOUR.   Had a great night’s sleep!  I do love that about Chinese medicine.  Seems to help address any sleep issues so once can get into that very deep sleep mode, fast.  A welcome side effect.  My legs ‘feel’ like they are swelling less, but my left leg (which swells significantly more) is about the same size.  So maybe its a placebo effect (which I am very prone to) or it’s already starting to impact the swelling.

Stay tuned, I’ll have a report on days 5 to 9 soon.  (You can subscribe to our blog for automatic updates.)

Have you ever taken Chinese herbs for lymphedema?  Please let us know your experience!