Angioedema is the swelling that occurs in the deeper layers of the skin or mucus membranes. While it is often associated with allergies, there are different types of angioedema that may be a result of other causes. Angioedema is often thought of as the typical skin presentation associated with a ‘fat’ lip, swollen eyelids and cheek but it can also cause swelling within the airways and gut.
Angioedema in an anaphylactic reaction requires immediate medical attention.
It is essential to identify the allergens and remove it from the diet or environment. This may involve skin testing or blood tests for allergies. If the trigger is well known to the patient, then related allergens should also be investigated.
Apart from a low allergen diet, certain vitamins and mineral supplements may be helpful. However, some patients may experience a reaction to the filler substances within these nutritional supplements. Organic nutrients may be helpful to avoid any potential allergic reaction to the supplement.
Other modalities such as reflexology and acupuncture should also be incorporated into the treatment.
Herbal Treatment for Angioedema
A herbal immune modulator with nettle (Uritca urens) may be used either in tincture or powder (can be tablet or capsule form). This may be helpful for cases of angioedema associated with urticaria (hives) and other allergic conditions.
Other herbs that are useful include Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). This should be used for short periods when there is an acute exacerbation of angioedema. An immune modulator and Golden seal is only helpful if the type of angioedema being treated is associated with an allergy and is a result of the action of histamine.
In other types of angioedema, like acquired and hereditary angioedema, the herbal remedies above may not of much use. Burdock (Arctium lappa) may be a better option although the alternative treatment for other types of angioedema should be managed by a professional naturopath, medical herbalist or homeopath.
Homeopathic Remedies for Angioedema
Histaminum may be useful for allergy-related angioedema. It can be used more frequently (3 to 5 times a day) in acute episodes or twice a day for preventing acute exacerbations. Other homeopathic remedies that may be useful for allergy-related angioedema, especially where urticaria is present includes Natrum muriaticum, Urtica urens and Mezereum. Refer to the homeopathic remedy for itch article for more information.
For acute episodes with significant swelling, Cantharis and Apis mellifica may be used.
Other types of angioedema should be treated constitutionally and this would require an assessment by a qualified complementary therapist.
Angioedema is a serious medical condition and you should only consider any alternative treatment if your medical doctor approves it.