How to stop swelling with chayote

A day or so before Johnny made his way into the world, I had gone to the Cottage Life show in Toronto. (Lots of interesting things there — if you like cottage stuff, you should go!) Maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea to walk around so much more than I was used to doing at 39 weeks pregnant.

That night, my feet swelled pretty badly. I figured a sleep would help, unfortunately sleep did not really come — and then my labour involved IV fluids which may or may not have contributed to some pretty extreme swelling in my entire lower half. To say I was in pain (along with the regular post-labour experience) was an understatement. This is probably common, but after two weeks there had been no improvement.

A nurse at the hospital didn’t help much, unfortunately, and neither did my obstetrician — I’m sure they hear about swelling all the time and they didn’t think much of it.

After a lot of research, I read a comment on a forum (wish I could remember which) suggesting steeping chayote for 10-15 minutes and drinking it as tea.

What is chayote? Here’s the Wikipedia article.

In short, it looks like a small green butt, and it has many healthful properties. Somehow Dr Oz hasn’t touted it as the next superfood yet (not that I’d know, admittedly; I don’t watch the guy).


After making some calls to local grocery stores, my husband made a long and very appreciated trip to a town 25 minutes away to score some of this mystery vegetable.

We grated the chayote, steeping it in boiling water for 15 minutes, strained it, and drank it. (Like most things you’ve never heard of at first, it tasted a little weird.)

After the first night, the swelling had reduced dramatically. The pain was far less. After the second night drinking it, my lower half was no longer swollen and walking pain was gone.

I never expected to see my ankle bones again, but this really helped.

Writing this post nearly two years later was inspired by our flight back from Vancouver.

Stanley Park, Vancouver

PS, Vancouver is awesome!!!

Last night after arriving home, removing my socks revealed Shrek feet. (I’d post the picture but it’s really not pretty. ;)) Upon researching, sometimes when you fly and have poor circulation as I do, blood pools in the feet and ankles, causing them to bloat excessively. This is especially common if you’re dehydrated, which in my case was likely.

We grabbed some groceries including a chayote (which is now found in our usual grocery store, even if we’ve moved 20 minutes away from it now, so it all evens out again).

I grated the vegetable, steeped for 10 minutes, drank it as tea, and today my feet and ankles look and feel 70% better. I’m going to steep some more now, but I had to write this before I forgot. It really, really helped me and I’ve recommended it to friends and even my grandfather who experienced swelling in his legs not too long ago.

A couple extra tips I’ve learned if you’re swollen:

  • Move around more — even small walks keep you circulating, and you can ask your doctor what exercises you can do if walking around on a flight is not practical
  • Blood thinners can be prescribed if this is commonly a problem
  • Birth control pills can be a factor in edema (swelling) on flights
  • Drink plenty of water — SKIP coffee until you’re normal-sized again
  • Talk to your doctor if the swelling does not change after a few hours
  • Chayote is safe for breastfeeding and some women claim it even increases milk supply — always check with your trusted doctor to be absolutely sure

Have you tried chayote or any other natural remedies for swelling? Did they work for you? Leave a comment!

About Nikki

I've been writing since I was in kindergarten where I Crayola-markered an epic tale of a tiger and a balloon on a stack of lined papers folded into a booklet and stapled along the edge (carefully, and by my teacher). I love DIY, sewing, folksy music, animals and getting out to look at and listen to nature.
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  1. Hi!
    Did you peel it or did you grate the whole thing, peel and all?

    • I’ve done both. You can eat the peel from what I’ve read, but I think most often I have peeled it. As with all produce, always give it a good rinse and dry before peeling/grating.

      You can also chop it up and put it in salads or stir fry! It doesn’t have too noticeable a taste but it adds a nice crispiness.

  2. Thanks Nikki , due to long sitting of hours work , my feet got swollen and this is a common cause,i’ll try this at home

  3. It’s 2020 and your post is from years ago!! I have battled with edema/swollen feet for YEARS. So much so, friends and coworkers inquire. I’ve seen doctors and have tried remedies,, but NOTHING has helped. A coworker today, 2/11/2020 told me about this (fruit/veggie?) I researched it and found out, it’s a diuretic!!! I then found your blog!! As soon as I get off, I’m preparing this tea for myself.

    Thank you so much for posting your experience…I’ll be back with an update afterwards

    Xoxo Tiff

    • I really hope it helps! Edema is so frustratingly uncomfortable. And wait.. are you saying I don’t update this thing much? Because you’re right. Haha.

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