September 26, 2022

Swollen lymph nodes are relatively common and can signify an infection. While people can use over-the-counter medications to relieve pain, several natural remedies may also help speed up the healing process.
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped organs within the body. They are responsible for fighting infections and removing toxins.
While swollen lymph nodes usually resolve on their own, if they are causing discomfort, people can try natural and home remedies. However, while these may help, there is limited research supporting their efficacy.
Read more to learn about natural remedies for swollen lymph nodes, how to prevent them, and when to contact a doctor.
Swollen lymph nodes generally resolve on their own. They can be a response to an infection, so once it passes, they should shrink back to their expected size.
However, this may take 2 weeks or more. To relieve symptoms in the meantime, an individual can:
Studies suggest various natural remedies may help reduce swelling in the lymph nodes.
Spicy chili peppers can dilate blood vessels, improving circulation. The increased circulation makes it easier for the body to move fluid, which can reduce swelling.
People can consume cayenne pepper by adding it to their daily meals. If they do not enjoy spicy foods, they may find the ingredient easier to consume as a beverage. They can try combining cayenne pepper, honey, and warm water and drinking it one or more times per day.
Basil and cinnamon are two common household ingredients that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Some people enjoy combining them in a warm beverage. To make the remedy:
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular natural remedy. It has antimicrobial properties, and according to a 2021 study, it is effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. However, many believe it may help fight infections that cause lymph node swelling, clinical studies do not support this finding.
There are two methods of using ACV. One is to mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with honey and warm water. The other involves combining 1 cup of warm water with 1 tablespoon of ACV. A person can soak a washcloth with either mixture and hold it on the affected lymph nodes.
Learn more about ACV.
Castor oil has some anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It contains a fatty acid called ricinoleic acid that some research suggests may be behind these effects.
Some people state that applying castor oil packs — a piece of material soaked in the oil — can help improve circulation and relieve swelling. Currently, there is no scientific evidence supporting their use, but people may wish to try using one to see if their symptoms improve.
To try using castor oil, people can take the following steps:
People can drink various hot teas to soothe a sore throat, and specific tea blends may provide additional health benefits.
For example, chamomile tea may help relieve swelling.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and can ease pain. People can use either fresh chamomile flowers or tea bags to prepare their tea, and they can drink it one or more times per day.
The natural remedies above are safe for most individuals, but people should be aware that natural does not mean healthy. Some natural and herbal remedies can be dangerous, cause allergic reactions, or interact with a person’s medications.
The caregivers of children should check with a doctor before using any natural remedies, as complementary approaches have not undergone safety testing in children. Additionally, individuals who are pregnant, lactating, or have chronic health conditions should contact a healthcare professional before trying natural remedies.
If a person experiences any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing and swelling of the mouth, lips, or tongue, they should stop using the remedy immediately and seek medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. The symptoms develop suddenly and include:
If someone has these symptoms:
Some people may need more than one epinephrine injection. If the symptoms do not improve in 5–15 minutes, or they come back, use a second pen if the person has one.
Because swollen lymph nodes often occur due to infections, preventing them involves good hygiene practices and other steps to avoid contagious illnesses.
These practices include:
Some infections that can cause swollen lymph nodes include:
Generally, swollen lymph nodes should reduce and resolve in 2–3 weeks. If an individual experiences swollen lymph nodes for longer than this time, they may want to contact a doctor.
They may also want to consult a healthcare professional if:
Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of a well-functioning immune system fighting an infection, but they can cause pain and discomfort.
Various home remedies may help ease swelling in the lymph nodes and speed up the healing process. However, it is worth noting that scientific evidence supporting their use is limited.
If the symptoms persist for longer than a couple of weeks, an individual can consult a doctor.
Last medically reviewed on March 29, 2022
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