The condition when protein-containing fluids start to accumulate in the abdomen is called ascites (1). Are you experiencing a sudden weight gain, difficulties in breathing, swelling and pain in the abdomen, and no appetite? It might be the very first indications of ascites. To find out exactly, if it is ascites or not, you might need to go through a diagnosing including certain tests like ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, CBC, and angiography. Alcoholic liver damage, heart failure, pancreatitis, and hepatitis B and C could lead to ascites. If you are a patient of a chronic liver disease called cirrhosis, then you are more likely to develop ascites. Cirrhotic Ascites, in later phases, can be fatal and thus, it is recommended to consult with a doctor if you sense any symptoms and take a proper treatment for ascites. However, in the earlier phases, you can try the natural cure for ascites. Check this amazing guide to find out some of the best home remedies for ascites.
Home Remedies for Ascites
If you are suffering from mild level ascites, then applying a few natural cures may make a big difference. Find out how to treat ascites naturally with the effective remedies given below.
It is one of the best ascites home remedies. Garlic is known for its several health benefits, but recently it has been proven effective in treating ascites (2). Garlic reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers the risk of heart diseases, strengthens your bones, and reduces the damage of free radical with anti-oxidants. Apart from that, it possesses anti-toxin properties and keeps your organs safe from suffering any serious damage from toxic substances. Garlic is easily available, and you can add it to your daily diet as garlic juice or just eat some chopped garlic cloves.
2. Bitter Gourd
One of the complications ascites-affected people face is the loss of appetite. Due to a lot of volume in it, the abdomen gets occupied by the fluid, a feeling of satiety takes place, and the patient no longer feels hungry. If you are facing the same problem due to ascites, then a medicinal plant known as bitter gourd could be a blessing in disguise. Bitter gourd or bitter melon has been used to treat various diseases, and recent studies show that it also has a positive effect in improving your appetite (3). Benefits of bitter gourd are also associated with curing diabetes, dyslipidemia, and obesity (4). As appears from the name, bitter gourd has a bitter taste, and thus, before ingestion, people generally prefer to soak it in salt water or marinate it with salt. However, for ascites patient, it is recommended to follow a low sodium diet, so minimizing the amount of daily salt will be more beneficial. Check out the following effective ways to use bitter gourd in your daily diet.
- Slice two unripe bitter gourds lengthwise, take out the seeds and soak in a low sodium salt-water. After 30 minutes wash the bitter gourd slices with clean and fresh water to remove excess amount of sodium.
- Alternatively, you can also prepare juice of bitter gourd with the help of a regular juicer. Make sure not to add any added sugar or salt. It can either be taken directly or can be mixed with green apple juice to reduce its bitter taste.
To get relief from ascites, one needs to get rid of the toxic fluid accumulated in the abdomen. One way to take the fluid out of your body is- urination (5). The more you urinate, the more fluid you slowly take out. The frequency of urination can be increased with certain medicine, but the good news is that there are a number of natural vegetables that are diuretic and can be used to increase the frequency of urination. Onion is one of the most effective vegetables with diuretic properties (6). Besides being a good diuretic, onions are good antibiotic and antiseptic. Onions are rich in fibers and are helpful to cure fever, sleeping disorders, and eye and ear problems. If you are suffering from ascites, then you might want to consider adding onions to your daily diet. Onions are easily available in the market and can be taken raw.
- Or, you can consume it in the form of salad. To make an onion salad, take out the outermost layers of onions and slice them.
- On the other hand, onions can also be taken in the form of the juice.
Rerouted blood contains a high amount of amino acids and toxins and liver works as bypass medium for it (7). When damaged, liver stops working to bypass rerouted blood and the amino acids and toxic may reach to the brain and can cause temporary memory loss. However, studies show that for ascites patient, it is beneficial to take proteins from vegetables (8). Beans are considered as a good source of calories, protein, and fibers. Thus, a good, everyday serving of fresh beans will provide you a significant amount of natural protein. Beans are addressed to help prevent cardiovascular heart diseases, lowering cholesterol, and losing weight. Add 3 cups of water in a pan and add one cup of dried beans to it. Turn on the gas and boil for 3-4 minutes. Cover the pan, and leave it for 50-60 minutes. After that, drain the extra water and add finely cut herbs and spices for taste.
1) Do not add salt to the beans, as it might worsen the symptoms of ascites.
2) Certain beans can cause a migraine or high blood pressure. If that occurs, immediately stop eating and consult with your doctor.
One of the main functions of the liver is to detoxify the body from harmful toxic elements that are produced in it (9). In cirrhosis ascites, the liver gets damaged and unable to function properly. Therefore, can’t detoxify our bodies as perfectly. These toxins are harmful to us and may become the root-cause of other vital problems. Radish is a cruciferous vegetable that helps the liver in the process of detoxification (10). One of the other important benefits of radish is that it stimulates hunger. You can use fresh and ripe radish for salad or can make a radish and radish leaves juice as they reportedly possess antihypertensive properties.
6. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds can be called a medical herb because they possess antidiabetic, antilipidemic, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic properties (11). Thus, it is good for a diabetic, heart, and cancer patients. Taking fenugreek seeds in ascites can reduce the swelling in the abdomen, occurring due to the accumulated fluid in the abdominal cavity. Fenugreek seeds are mostly available in the dried form. To use fenugreek seeds for ascites, fill a jar with 1 liter of water, and add a cup of fenugreek seeds to it. After 12 hours, strain the water and enjoy it, every morning.
Melons are the home of numerous healthy and beneficial compounds like vitamin C and carotenoids, and thus, helpful in reducing the inflammation, and good for patients of cancer and cardiovascular diseases (12). Sometimes, people who suffer from ascites experience sharp abdomen inflammation. It that case, a fresh and sweet melon will fill the bill. You can add melon as a salad to your daily meals.
Recent researches show that ingestion of asafoetida can significantly reduce the Ehrlich ascites tumor (13). Asafoetida is also known as food of the gods. It has been used as a flavor enhancer in Indian cooking since a long time. Besides its pleasing aroma after cooking, it works as a crucial herb for treating the ascites.
Besides its incredible taste, Mango is called the king of the fruits due to its uncountable health benefits. In some cases, ascites occurs when cancer spreads to the abdominal lining. Mangoes are loaded with polyphenols that are effective for reducing the cancer cell as well as the inflammation caused by cancer (14). Mangoes can be taken directly or in the form of juice. Apart from the anti-inflammatory properties, mangoes are good for lowering cholesterol, improving eye health, and digestion.
10. Coconut Water
Coconut is often called – “The Tree of Life” and “The Tree With a Thousand Uses.” Coconut oil, milk, and pulp serves a great many number of health and daily uses benefits, but did you know that it is a better option than water to hydrate yourself, especially if you are an ascites patient? Coconut water contains a high amount of potassium and thus, is used as a primary liquid source of hydration (15). A patient of ascites is usually instructed to avoid drinking a large amount of water to limit the buildup of any excess fluid in the abdominal cavity. In that case, coconut water comes as a savior.
11. Camel Milk
No doubt, camel milk is not as popular as cow milk or coconut milk, but after perceiving its stunning health benefits, you might want to add it to your daily diet. Research shows that the camel milk consists of anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties (16). Camel milk is also full of diuretic lactose that helps the body to get rid of accumulated toxic fluids. Replacing your daily water intake with camel milk will not only reduce the building up of toxic fluids but also keep you hydrated and healthy.
12. Adzuki Beans
Adzuki Beans are a type of legumes, mostly cultivated in East Asia. Adzuki beans are loaded with diuretic properties and help the body get rid of harmful toxins and thus, found effective in reducing the risk of ascites (17). If you are also suffering from knee & lower back pain, diarrhea, high blood pressure, or mumps, then adzuki beans are your best bet. To prepare adzuki beans, soak one cup of beans for 1-2 hours in the water. Drain the water and keep a pan on the stove. Add the beans and two cups of fresh water. Cover the pan and wait for a boil. Once it reaches a boil, cook the beans on a low heat for 60 minutes or until they become soft enough to be squeezed easily.
13. Abdomen Massage
Patients with ascites often suffer from depression, anxiety, and abdominal bloating. Studies show that in that case, massage can be a harbinger of relief (18). Abdominal massage should include straight rubbing, gentle point rubbing, and kneading for a duration of 15-20 minutes. Repeat it daily for better results.
Chickpeas are rich in carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fats (linoleic and oleic acid), and vitamin A (19). The good digestive property of chickpeas will help you digest your food well, which will ultimately lead to a less stretched abdomen. Besides its benefits in ascites, chickpeas are effective in cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and even cancers.
15. Horse Gram
Horse Gram, also known as macrotyloma uniflorum, is a tropical bean with excellent antihyperglycemic and antioxidant properties. Recent studies show that horse gram also possesses exemplary diuretic properties (20). Unlike other ascites diuretic medicines that consist of high amount of sodium, horse gram is a natural way to expel the toxic fluids out of your body. To prepare a horse gram soup, boil half a cup of horse gram with 4 cups of water in a cooker for 10-12 minutes. Put a saucepan on the stove and add one tablespoon both of black pepper & garlic, along with one freshly chopped tomato. After 4-5 minutes, add half of the cooked horse gram and let it cool. Grind the mixture and add water, coriander leaves, and another half of the cooked horse gram to it and cook for a few minute. Your delicious horse gram soup is ready to serve.
16. Carrot Juice
How to take care of dehydration without increasing the amount of accumulated fluids in ascites? Well, it’s not that difficult. Just drink nutritious vegetable juices that also keep you hydrated. Carrot juice is an exceptional antioxidant and a primary source of B-carotene (21). Drinking 1-2 glass of carrot juice keeps your heart in shape, reduces cholesterol, improves your immunity too.
Herbal Remedies for Ascites
17. Indian Mulberry
Indian Mulberry is a tree that belongs to the coffee family and has been used to cure digestive, respiratory, and immune system problems. According to some recent studies, juice of morinda citrifolia contains noni-ppt, a polysaccharide-rich substance that is effective in curing cancer tumors (22). The juice of morinda citrifolia is also reported to possess anti-ageing and laxative properties that are a plus for an ascites patient.
18. Polytrichum Juniperinum
Polytrichum juniperinum or juniper haircap is a type of moss that is known for its remarkable medicinal uses. It comes as a miracle herb for ascites patients due to its strong diuretic properties (23). Drinking polytrichum juniperinum tea, two times a day can flush out the excessively accumulated fluid. Over the years, juniper haircap moss has also been used to dissolve the stones in the kidneys and gall bladder. To make the tea, boil the water and pour it in a cup. Add 2-3 teaspoons of dried leaves to the water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain with the help of a colander and enjoy.
19. Dandelion Leaves and Dandelion Root
Dandelion leaves are natural source of potassium and are known for their diuretic properties (24). During ascites, when unwanted fluid builds up in abdomen, dandelion leaves can be used to make your urination more frequent to get rid of toxic fluids. At the same time, dandelion roots are useful to treat inflammation and congestion of liver (25), and thus, people suffering from abdominal pain can use this miracle herb. To make a tea of dandelion roots, boil 300 ml water in a saucepan, and add 100 grams of fresh, finely-rinsed dandelion roots into the pan. Let the root soak for 30-40 minutes and strain. Enjoy your dandelion tea.
20. Boerhavia Diffusa Powder
Boerhavia Diffusa powder is found to be full of antidiabetic properties and effective in curing ascites (26,27). Studies show that a proper herbal treatment with boerhavia diffusa can even postpone the need of the liver transplant and heal liver complications like hepatitis, jaundice, and iron deficiency anemia. For better results, try to add boerhavia diffusa powder to your daily meals.
21. Terminalia Arjuna
Terminalia arjuna, commonly known as arjuna, is a herb that is proven to possess exceptional antitumor properties (28). Arjuna is also beneficial to cure urinary problems, diarrhea, and water retention.
The accumulated fluid in the abdominal cavity is harmful and needs to be flushed out in one way or another. Using an herbal diuretic is a safe and beneficial way to get rid of excess body fluid. Parsley has reportedly been proven a good diuretic and used as a medical herb for a long time (29). Parsley aids the functioning of kidneys and makes your immune system strong. Don’t wait, just grab a clump of parsley.
23. Burdock Roots
Burdock roots are one of the best solutions for ascites. These medicinal roots not only purify your blood and flush harmful toxins out of your body but also work as a diuretic to extract the excess water out (30). Cooking burdock roots is easy. Cut the burdock roots in small pieces. Take a saucepan and add one teaspoon oil. Turn the flame on and add the freshly cut burdock roots to the pan. Stir for 4-5 minutes and enjoy the crunchy burdock roots.
24. Picrorhiza Kurroa
Picrorhiza Kurroa is a herb that has been used as a major medicinal herb since ancient times. Recent studies show that it is also beneficial to treat liver diseases (31). A person affected with ascites is often advised to use diuretics to get rid of toxic fluids. Picrorhiza kurroa is an excellent diuretic and improves the functionality of the liver.
25. Black Nightshade
Black nightshade, also known as solanum americanum, is a herb mostly found in North America. It has been used as a medicine to cure cancer in several countries. However, black nightshade is also loaded with antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, antiulcerogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties (32). Usually, a patient of ascites needs to visit a clinic or hospital regularly to expel the excess body fluids. On the other hand, using black nightshade is a natural way to get rid of abdominal fluid, thanks to its diuretic properties.
Note: Black nightshade is poisonous if eaten ripe or unripe, directly. Consult with a nutritionist before ingestion.
10% of all ascites cases are originated with a certain type of liver cancer. Rhubarb, a widely cultivated plant, might not be a popular food, but it consists of remarkable anti-cancer and antineoplastic properties (33). Rhein, a compound present in rhubarb, is responsible for attacking tumor cell. Using rhubarb for ascites can also alleviate abdomen swelling.
Note: Stalks of rhubarb are edible, but avoid eating leaves of rhubarb since they are poisonous.
- Follow a good vegetarian diet.
- Try to eat good diuretic and digestive food products.
- Milk is a better option to stay hydrated for an ascites patient than water.
- Drink fruit and vegetable juices instead of water to avoid extra accumulation of fluids in the abdomen.
- Completely avoid taking alcohol since the cause behind the majority of cases of ascites is alcohol consumption.
- Maintain regular sleep pattern, and try to avoid taking a nap during the day.
- Maintain an intermediate workout regimen. Exercising helps develop muscles.
- Avoid drinking too much water. Otherwise, you will end up building up more fluids in the abdominal cavity.
- Do not eat very oily, spicy, or sugary food.
- If the condition gets worse, then immediately visit a doctor and take a proper diagnosis and treatment.