Flavonoids--a new direction for the treatment of fluid retention?

Phytother Res. 2001 Sep;15(6):467-75. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1011.


Flavonoid extracts are important for the health of the micro-blood vessel network and are clinically exploited in this way by medical herbalists and physicians in mainland Europe. In the present review, we provide preliminary evidence that suggests that plant flavonoid extracts from dietary sources facilitate the repair of vessel damage responsible for 'small blood vessel permeability'. Correction of this pathophysiological abnormality is known to lead to a reduction in symptoms of diffuse benign fluid retention including swollen limbs, fingers, breasts and the tissue surrounding the eye area. There is currently little orthodox treatment for this type of fluid retention except diuretics which are not without side effects and fail to address the underlying cause of the disorder. This paper marshals available data including some preliminary studies that suggest that detailed scientific study of this clinical area and its treatment through flavonoid intervention is warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use*
  • Body Fluids / physiology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Edema / drug therapy*
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Microcirculation / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts