- Herbs to Take for When You Have Water Retention
- 9 Foods That Are Natural Diuretics — Bloat-Reducing Fruits and Vegetables
- 14 Best Natural Diuretic Herbs & Foods for Water Retention
- What Is a Diuretic?
- Natural Diuretics and Water Retention
- General Ways to Combat Water Retention
- Uses and Benefits of Natural Diuretics
- Best Natural Diuretics
- 1) Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)
- 2) Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
- 3) Horsetail (Equisetum spp.)
- 4) Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
- 5) Coffee
- 6) Pomegranate
- 7) Black and Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
- 8) Garlic
- 9) Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- 10) Raspberry
- 11) Juniper (Juniperus communis)
- 12) Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
- 13) Caraway (Carum carvi)
- 14) Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
- Diuretic Foods
- How to Take Natural Diuretics & Dosage
- 19 Natural Diuretics to Help Relieve Water Retention, Bloating & More
- What Is a Diuretic?
- Natural Diuretic Herbs and Supplements
- Natural Diuretic Foods
- 6 Benefits of Diuretics
- 1. Lowers Blood Pressure
- 2. Reduces Bloat
- 3. Promotes Proper Filtration
- 4. May Prevent Kidney Stones
- 5. Treats Ascites
- 6. Decrease PCOS Symptoms
- History & Interesting Facts
- How to Use/Cook Natural Diuretics
- Possible Side Effects/Caution
- Final Thoughts
- Read Next: Does Histamine Intolerance Cause Allergies, Headache & Bloating?
Herbs to Take for When You Have Water Retention
Holding water is one of the biggest complaints from fitness enthusiasts trying to obtain a “dry” onstage look to the everyday exerciser struggling to fit into their favorite jeans. Water bloat can feel miserable causing frustration and the desire to toss the wardrobe or avoid the gym.
Loose tanks for men and flowing blouses for women become the attire for ‘water’ days. The body retains water for many reasons from consuming too much sodium to having a medical condition.
Doctors may prescribe medications in the event of hypertension, congestive heart failure, edema, or diabetes in an attempt to remove excess water from the body.
Many without medical issues suffer from holding water and are desperately seeking answers to deal with water bloat. Some over-the-counter (OTC) herbs have diuretic properties and may be helpful to remove water naturally and get you back into those favorite jeans.
Always talk with your physician prior to taking any diuretic herbal to eliminate any concern for negative reactions especially if you are already taking prescribed medications.
Early scientific studies have reported positive diuretic feedback for the following herbal alternatives.
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The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) gets a bad rap for being a pesky weed, but it is actually rich in vitamins, minerals and has been used to treat liver problems. Dandelion leaves have also been cultivated and used to enhance flavors in certain foods salads, sandwiches, and teas.
It is the dandelion leaf that stimulates the body to make urine and eliminate excess water. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported on the first human study conducted on dandelion for diuretic use “ these first human data, T.
officinale ethanolic extract shows promise as a diuretic in humans. The data from this human trial demonstrate that an ethanolic extract of T. officinale fresh leaf (1 g:1 mL), increases the frequency and excretion ratio of fluids in healthy human subjects.
These results suggest further detailed investigations are warranted to establish the value of this herb for induction of diuresis in human subjects.”
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Green tea is commonly known to be a strong antioxidant, increase metabolism and help with fat burning. What has also been discovered about green tea is potential use as a natural diuretic and removing excess fluids from the body.
The International Scholarly Research Notices reported within a 2014 research article “green tea in both high and low doses showed significant diuretic potential.
” Enjoying a cup of tea just got better and there seems to be some scientific backing to that saying: “Tea makes me pee!”
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Parsley is known for gracing plates as a garnish but it just may have better use as a natural diuretic and potential to increase urinary volume. Parsley may be an alternative for those unable to handle the side effects of prescribed diuretics.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported “this work provides substantial evidence for the advocated diuretic effect of parsley in folk medicine and determines the mechanism of action of the herb.
These findings were supported by the results of other experiments using an in situ kidney perfusion technique which demonstrated also a significant increase in urine flow rate with parsley seed extract.”
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Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) has tube- stems and leaves similar to a fern. It is a medicinal herb historically used as a natural diuretic whose leaves and stems are made into liquid extracts, dried teas, or capsules.
Horsetail was compared to a common diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide in a recent study and the herb was found to be just as effective as the medication. The study appeared in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine and concluded “E.
arvense produced a diuretic effect as assessed with measurements. This effect was comparable to that of hydrochlorothiazide (25 mg) and was superior to that of placebo (starch).
” Although the study was small, it revealed amazing feedback, however most herbal supplements, horsetail is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and deciding to take horsetail should be discussed with your physician.
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Juniper (Juniperus Communis) is an evergreen tree and used in herbal medicine as a diuretic for centuries. Although limited studies on humans exist, the juniper plant has shown to have a significant effect on urine volume in animals.
A recent study in Integrative and Comparative Biology and reported by the Oxford Journals “Given its abundance and pharmacological activity on other systems, alpha-pinene may significantly contribute to the diuretic effects of juniper.” Alpha-pinene is a reactive organic compound naturally occurring in the oils of coniferous trees.
Promising feedback but more research needs to be conducted to confirm not only the diuretic value of juniper but other health benefit claims.
Thanks for your feedback!
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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial to Assess the Acute Diuretic Effect of Equisetum arvense (Field Horsetail) in Healthy Volunteers, Danilo Maciel Carneiro et al., 3/14
- International Scholarly Research Notices, Potential Interaction of Green Tea Extract with Hydrochlorothiazide on Diuretic Activity in Rats, Manodeep Chakraborty et al., 11/6/14
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, The Diuretic Effect in Human Subjects of an Extract of Taraxacum officinale Folium over a Single Day, Bevin A. Clare, M.S. et al., 8/09
- US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley, Kreydiyyeh SI et al., 3/02
9 Foods That Are Natural Diuretics — Bloat-Reducing Fruits and Vegetables
My feet were puffed up pierogis. New York City was experiencing a record-breaking heat wave and I was a week beyond my due date. I was anxious to have the baby.
For relief for my swollen feet, I turned to a bit of Old World magic I'd learned from my grandmother and sent my husband out for a head of cabbage. When he returned, I ate some of the cabbage and wrapped a few of the raw leaves around my puffy feet. I put on my socks over the cabbage, elevated my feet, shut my eyes, and let the cabbage work its magic.
Besides being extremely nutritious, cabbage is also a natural diuretic. Diuretics help your body get rid of salt and water mainly by stimulating your kidneys to release sodium into your urine. Water is then pulled from your blood to concentrate the sodium levels.
That produces more urine and decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, providing relief from water retention if you're suffering from edema, high blood pressure, and other conditions where chronic water retention presents an issue.
But it’s not just chronic conditions that can be helped by diuretics. They can help relieve bloating after a salty meal or from monthly hormonal fluctuations.
Over-the-counter diuretics are available in pill form, but there are a couple of reasons you might want to avoid them.
While generally safe for occasional use, they can have side effects hypokalemia, caused by too little potassium, which can lead to heart problems. Other potential side effects include dehydration, muscle cramps, dizziness and rashes.
You can avoid these by pairing over-the-counter diuretics with foods high in potassium bananas, sunflower seeds, apricots, or oranges.
Happily, natural diuretics — my cabbage — can offer relief from water retention and bloating without taking any pills at all.
“In general, veggies and fruit are high in water and potassium (and some are higher in magnesium and calcium), which can help to offset the constriction of your blood vessels that make you feel bloated when you’ve had excess sodium,” explains Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
“Choosing foods grapes, celery, watermelon, other types of melon, cherries, apples, grapefruit, oranges and lots of leafy greens is automatically your best bet for feeling better, faster. While no single food in isolation is ever a miracle cure, making sure to add more of these foods to your day will set you up for greater success.
Here are nine natural diuretics you can snag in the produce aisle of your grocery store.
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From the time of the ancient Greek and Romans, asparagus has been used for its diuretic properties.
The vegetable’s diuretic effects come from the amino acid asparagine and has been used to treat swelling, rheumatism, and premenstrual water retention.
The distinct smell of urine after eating asparagus comes from asparagusic acid, which is broken down into a sulfur-containing compound when digested.
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Beets are high in potassium, which helps eliminate fluid. (Here's more about why beets are great and how to grow them.) Betanin, which gives beets their color, has been associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein, making beets an anti-inflammatory as well.
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Cabbage can help reduce water weight. The popular “cabbage soup diet” deploys the diuretic properties of cabbage, along with its high fiber and water content to support weight loss. The Romans used cabbage for hangovers and to help alcoholics “dry out.” Red cabbage is also an anti-inflammatory because it contains anthocyanins.
Remember: If your feet are always swollen or you're regularly retaining water, a visit to your doctor is a good idea to check for an underlying medical condition.
Hippocrates recommended celery to eliminate excess fluid. Now scientists have identified that the phthalides in celery contribute to its diuretic effect. Uric acid levels in the body are reduced by the COX-2 inhibitors in celery, which makes it an ideal treatment option for gout edema, which results from excess uric acid crystals collecting in the joints.
Native Americans identified the diuretic effects of cranberries, using them to treat a number of conditions including scurvy, which they believed was caused by too much salt. Cranberry juice has been used by women worldwide to prevent and treat UTIs and other bladder disorders, although research results have been mixed.
While the jury is out on the proanthocyanidins in cranberries and their antibacterial effect, as a diuretic, cranberries are especially beneficial for removing fluid without eliminating potassium.
Cucumbers have sulfur and silicon which increase urination by stimulating the kidneys into better removal of uric acid. Loaded with water and potassium and low in sodium, cucumbers also inhibit the production of nitric acid and inflammatory enzymes, thus reducing swelling. Cucumber slices can be used topically to soothe under-eye puffiness.
The same sulfur-based chemical that gives garlic its distinctive smell, allicin, gives it medicinal properties as well. The International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research found garlic to be effective as a diuretic. It is also works a potent antioxidant and contributes to the breakdown of fats.
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Parsley, especially as a tea, is a traditional remedy for water retention. Parsley reduces the reabsorption of sodium and potassium salts in the kidney. This causes increased urine volume, which helps reduce bloating.
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Watermelon, with its 92% water content and high potassium content, also has diuretic properties. It contains the amino acid citrulline, which relaxes blood vessels and keeps fluids from leaking into nearby tissue, thus reducing the retention of water.
14 Best Natural Diuretic Herbs & Foods for Water Retention
You’ll be surprised to see how many foods and medicinal herbs are natural diuretics. They may help you detox, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, prevent kidney stones, and more. However, most of them aren’t backed up by solid clinical evidence. This article reveals ways to combat mild water retention safely and naturally.
What Is a Diuretic?
Diuretics are substances that increase the amount of urine you produce and help your body get rid of excess water [1, 2].
This excess water is called water retention. It can leave you feeling “puffy” and cause swollen ankles, hands, and feet (edema) .
Natural Diuretics and Water Retention
Various factors can cause water retention, including some underlying health conditions such as kidney and heart diseases. If you experience sudden and severe water retention, seek medical advice from your doctor immediately [3, 4].
However, lots of people have issues with mild water retention due to hormonal changes or extended periods of sitting, e.g. during a flight. Natural diuretics can come handy in such cases, but their potential uses don’t end there (see “Uses and Benefits” below) [5, 6].
DIURETIC HERBS AND SPICES:
- Black Cumin
- Mustard greens
- Black tea
- Green tea
General Ways to Combat Water Retention
- Get more magnesium: Magnesium maintains optimal electrolyte balance and may relieve water retention, especially for women in PMS [7, 8].
- Exercise: When you work out, your body spends more water and gets rid of the excess through sweating .
- Cut back on salt: High intake of table salt (sodium) promotes fluid retention [10, 11].
Uses and Benefits of Natural Diuretics
- Natural diuretics don’t treat medical conditions.
- You should seek immediate medical care in cases of sudden water retention.
- Always consult with your doctor before taking a diuretic herb or supplement.
- Don’t quit your medications or adjust doses on your own.
Diuretics are used for various health problems, including [12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Water retention due to heart or liver failure
- Short-term weight loss in sports (“water weight”)
- Additional treatment for UTIs
While severe conditions require medical care, many people rely on natural diuretics for milder forms of high blood pressure, swelling (edema), and UTIs.
Diuretic drugs enhance kidney function, but some of them may provoke kidney stones by impairing mineral balance. On the other hand, natural diuretics may prevent kidney stones and preserve essential minerals such as potassium [19, 20, 21].
Your kidneys are second only to your liver when it comes to detox. Since they filter your blood a remarkable 60 times a day, they might even be more important. Natural diuretics support the kidneys’ main detox mechanism, urination, which helps flush toxins from your body .
Those seeking to lose “water weight“ often reach out for diuretic herbs and supplements, but their effect is temporary and doesn’t contribute to actual weight loss.
Best Natural Diuretics
Preliminary research points to some amazing natural diuretics, but the level of evidence remains low. The following studies should encourage further investigation before we make any definite conclusions. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking any of the herbs and supplements discussed below. They can not replace medical treatment for any health condition.
1) Black Cumin (Nigella sativa)
Folks have been using black seed to relieve a wide range of diseases for millennia, including high blood pressure .
Black cumin seed extract (200-400 mg daily for 2 months) lowered mildly high blood pressure in 120 men. The extract also slightly dropped high blood pressure In 76 older people (at 600 mg/day) [13, 24].
A meta-analysis of 11 clinical trials confirmed that black cumin lowers blood pressure, with the extract being more effective than oil .
Both the extract and oil boosted urine production and cut the risk of developing kidney stones in studies on rats [26, 27, 28].
Additionally, black cumin extract and its main active compound (thymoquinone) prevented calcium oxalate buildup in rat kidneys [29, 30].
Find high-quality black cumin oil or simply use the crushed seeds. As a spice, black cumin is a great addition to many dishes.
2) Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
Roselletea is an age-old traditional remedy for hypertension or high blood pressure. This species of hibiscus contains polyphenols that act as blood pressure-lowering drugs, ACE inhibitors [31, 32].
Roselle tea (1-2x/day for up to 6 weeks) lowered blood pressure in 3 clinical trials on 200 people with moderate hypertension. It had a mild effect on another 75 patients [12, 33, 34, 35].
In a clinical trial on 80 people, roselle tea was more effective than hydrochlorothiazide (25 mg/day) at lowering slightly high blood pressure. The tea didn’t cause sodium, potassium, or chloride imbalance. They used about 10 g of the herb/day in tea (for a 150 lbs person) .
In rats and rabbits, the combination of roselle extract with hydrochlorothiazide enhanced urination and prevented sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate loss. But it also slowed down hydrochlorothiazide elimination so the combination may not be safe .
Roselle may also help with kidney stones. One clinical trial on 18 men found that roselle tea increased uric acid excretion, cutting the risk of kidney stones and gout [19, 38].
Plus, roselle extract prevented the buildup of stone-causing minerals (such as calcium and oxalate) in rat kidneys [39, 40].
Roselle also contains quercetin, a flavonoid that contributes to blood vessel relaxation. It increased urine production by 48% in a study on kidney tissue .
Although supplements are available, the simplest way to get the benefits of roselle is to drink roselle tea.
3) Horsetail (Equisetum spp.)
Horsetail has a long history of use as a natural diuretic.
In a clinical trial on 25 healthy people, the extract of the Andean horsetail (0.75 g/day for 2 days) had diuretic effects. It slightly enhanced sodium, potassium, and chloride flushing .
One clinical trial tested fieldhorsetail (Equisetumarvense) extract (900 mg/day) on 36 healthy men. It had the same diuretic effect as hydrochlorothiazide (25 mg) but a much lower risk of causing potassium and sodium deficits .
In a study on rats, the extracts of four different Mexican horsetail species were as effective as hydrochlorothiazide and had a similar mechanism of action .
Standardized horsetail extracts are available, while drinking tea will offer you milder benefits.
Caution: People with HIV should avoid horsetail since it blocked the effects of anti-HIV drug combinations (lamivudine/zidovudine/efavirenz and emtricitabine/tenofovir) in two cases .
4) Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine cherish dandelion for its diuretic benefits, which probably stem from its potassium-rich leaves [46, 47].
Dandelion leaf extract (8 mL, 3x/day) enhanced urination in a clinical trial on 17 people .
In rats, dandelion leaf extract had a diuretic effect comparable to a strong diuretic drug (furosemide) and prevented kidney stones [48, 20].
The dried root can be used in tea, while tinctures and extracts are also widely available.
Many people wonder if coffee is a diuretic. Technically speaking, yes: the caffeine in coffee is a natural diuretic that binds to adenosine receptors. This effect prevents the kidneys from taking up sodium and enhances water and sodium elimination [49, 50].
Moderate doses of caffeine (around 300 mg) may increase urination, especially in people who don’t drink coffee regularly [51, 52].
One cup of coffee will contain ~50-80 mg of caffeine. The levels depend on the coffee variety and preparation method .
That said, 4 cups of coffee per day (~320 mg) had no effect on water balance in a clinical trial on 52 regular coffee drinkers. But the well-known fact is that people develop tolerance to coffee’s diuretic effects over time .
In 10 healthy adults, higher doses of caffeine (540 mg) boosted urination while lower doses (270 mg) failed to produce this effect .
But there’s a major downside. Caffeine can trigger anxiety, insomnia, and other unpleasant side effects in sensitive people or when used at high doses. Plus, people widely differ in how well they break down caffeine or how they react to it. A dose that works for one person may be harmful to another [56, 57, 58].
Pomegranate is loaded with antioxidants that protect the urinary tract from infections and kidney stones .
In a clinical trial on 30 people, pomegranate extract reduced calcium oxalate buildup in urine, cutting the risk of kidney stones. A study on rats revealed the same effect [60, 19, 61].
7) Black and Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Just coffee, black tea and green tea act as natural diuretics due to their caffeine content .
They both had diuretic effects in 2 studies on rats. Green tea boosted the effects of hydrochlorothiazide and reduced potassium loss [62, 63].
Green tea may be a safer option than coffee, especially if you’re prone to anxiety. Green tea contains EGCG, which could counteract the stimulant, anxiety-provoking effect of caffeine on the brain .
Medicinal uses of garlic are as old as mankind. It offers a range of potential benefits for the heart and blood vessels .
Garlic extract acted as a diuretic in many animal studies. In dogs, it also lowered blood pressure and boosted sodium flushing [66, 67, 68, 69, 70].
Have in mind that raw, freshly chopped garlic is most potent. Once chopped, its beneficial components quickly evaporate, while cooking deactivates them [71, 72, 73].
If you’re not a big fan of its taste, though, standardized extracts and garlic oil are also easy to find.
9) Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley is a well-known diuretic in folk medicine.
Although we still lack clinical trials, parsley extract enhanced urination in three studies on rats. It also alkalized the urine and prevented kidney stones [74, 66, 75].
Raspberry is bursting with antioxidants that support your kidney health and combat different chronic diseases .
In animal studies, raspberry extract increased urine production and helped prevent kidney stones [19, 77, 78].
11) Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Ever seen a bottle of drink with juniper berries inside? It’s not just about taste and decoration.
Herbalists praise juniper for its antimicrobial and detox properties. Diuretic activity of juniper, although forgotten nowadays, has attracted researchers for decades [79, 80, 81].
A 10% infusion (tea) of juniper berries enhanced urination in a study on rats .
12) Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
This delicious spice has countless potential benefits and uses in traditional medicine, including water retention and kidney stone treatment .
In rats, oregano extract prevented kidney stone formation. It also reduced stone-forming calcium oxalate crystals in test tubes .
Aside from using it as a spice, numerous oregano supplements exist. Oregano essential oil is rich in active compounds; it can be used in liquid form, while softgels are a better option for those who want to avoid its strong aroma.
13) Caraway (Carum carvi)
Traditional uses of caraway include high blood pressure, water retention, and digestive disorders .
In rats, caraway extract was as effective as a diuretic drug (furosemide) at boosting urination .
14) Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
Water retention is a major problem in patients with heart disease. Hawthorn may strengthen the heart muscle and stimulates circulation, enabling the removal of excess water [87, 88].
In rats, hawthorn flavonoids (procyanidins) cut the blood levels of uric acid, which may cause gout. They increased urinary sodium flush (4.8 times) and urine flow (2.6 times), lowering the risk of kidney stones .
Besides the foods listed above, fennel, melon, and mustard greens have shown notable diuretic effects in a review of natural diuretics .
Potassium counteracts water retention caused by high sodium or salt intake. The following potassium-rich foods may thus help you get rid of mild water retention [90, 91]:
- Kidney beans
How to Take Natural Diuretics & Dosage
The doses below used in clinical trials may not apply to you personally. If your doctor suggests using a natural diuretic, work with them to find the optimal dosage according to your health condition, potential drug interactions, and other factors.
- Roselle tea: 150 mg/kg daily 
- Horsetail extract: 750-900 mg daily [42, 43]
- Black cumin seed extract: 200-600 mg daily [13, 24]
- Dandelion leaf extract: 24 ml daily 
- Coffee and tea: 300-540 mg of caffeine daily [52, 55]
Most natural diuretics are available as supplements, alone or in different combinations. For everyday consumption, you can prepare teas with diuretic herbs and dishes with diuretic foods and spices.
19 Natural Diuretics to Help Relieve Water Retention, Bloating & More
Whether you’re looking to flush out water weight or keep kidney stones at bay, including a few servings of natural diuretics in your diet may be just what you need. These healthy foods boast a long list of benefits, from reducing blood pressure to beating bloat, and can help sidestep many of the troublesome symptoms that often accompany over the counter medications.
So what are natural diuretics, what do they do and why should you consider adding them into your daily routine? Let’s dig in.
What Is a Diuretic?
Diuretics are a class of drugs that promote diuresis, or the increased production of urine. Also sometimes called water pills, these medications are used to remove excess water from the body and treat conditions heart failure, liver disease and high blood pressure.
But although often necessary in the treatment of several different health problems, diuretics can be accompanied by a slew of side effects such as high blood sugar, headaches and dizziness, causing many people to turn to natural diuretics as an alternative treatment method.
What is a natural diuretic? These powerful herbs, supplements and foods can mimic the effects of diuretics to increase urine volume and flush out extra fluids. Plus, besides preventing fluid buildup, many also supply a host of health benefits as well as a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to optimize other aspects of health as well.
Switching out your over-the-counter (OTC) diuretic for a few natural options instead can have a powerful impact on your health. Let’s take a look at a few of the top natural diuretics food, herb and supplement options and how you can add them to your diet to take advantage of the multitude of health benefits that they have to offer.
Natural Diuretic Herbs and Supplements
1. Green Tea
2. Black Tea
6. Hawthorn Berry
8. Juniper Berry
Natural Diuretic Foods
11. Bell Peppers
6 Benefits of Diuretics
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Reduces Bloat
- Promotes Proper Filtration
- May Prevent Kidney Stones
- Treats Ascites
- Decreases PCOS Symptoms
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a condition caused when blood pushes against the artery walls with too much force, putting extra strain on the heart muscle and causing it to weaken over time. Diuretics are one of the first lines of defense used against high blood pressure and can help excrete extra sodium through the urine to lower blood pressure.
Using natural diuretics for high blood pressure can also be an effective treatment option. In fact, several natural diuretics have been linked to lower blood pressure levels.
One massive analysis of 13 studies, for example, found that green tea was able to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
(1) Another review found that several herbs have been shown to have powerful blood pressure-lowering properties, including hibiscus and ginger. (2)
2. Reduces Bloat
Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a common condition characterized by the buildup of fluid in the tissues, leading to symptoms swelling, puffiness and bloating. Incorporating a few servings of natural diuretic foods for water retention is an easy and effective way to lose water weight and prevent bloating.
Watermelon, for example, is an excellent natural diuretic for edema thanks to its high water content. Eating plenty of hydrating foods and natural diuretics fruits and veggies can flush out excess water and prevent fluid from accumulating in the body.
3. Promotes Proper Filtration
Your kidneys play a vital role in your health; they are responsible for filtering the blood and excreting toxins and waste products through the urine to keep your body healthy. Natural diuretics can help promote proper filtration to optimize the function of the kidneys and maximize overall health.
For people with impaired kidney function, in particular, this can be especially beneficial. When your kidneys aren’t working properly, certain minerals potassium and magnesium can start to build up in the blood and cause health problems.
High levels of potassium, for example, can cause symptoms weakness, chest pain and irregular heartbeats. Excess fluid can also build up in the body with impaired kidney function, leading to swelling and water weight gain.
Diuretics are commonly used to flush out excess water and prevent electrolyte imbalances to enhance kidney function. (3)
4. May Prevent Kidney Stones
If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you are ly all too familiar with just how painful it can be.
Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form in the kidneys, causing symptoms pain, nausea, vomiting and blood in the urine.
Increasing your fluid intake is often recommended to flush out the kidneys and aid in kidney stone excretion. Similarly, diuretics are also sometimes used to help prevent kidney stone formation. (4)
Certain natural diuretic foods can also do double duty to help prevent kidney stone symptoms.
Lemons, for example, can help promote hydration and also supply a burst of citric acid, which increases urine volume to block kidney stone formation.
(5) One study conducted by Duke University Medical Center even found that treating patients with lemonade therapy for four years was able to decrease stone formation from an average of one kidney stone per year down to 0.13 per year. (6)
5. Treats Ascites
Similar to edema, ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, which is the layer of tissues that lines the abdomen and helps protect the body’s internal organs.
This condition is usually caused by liver disease or cirrhosis, which is a scarring of the liver.
Diuretics are typically used to help manage and treat this condition by flushing extra water and removing excess fluid in the abdomen. (7)
When used in conjunction with traditional treatment, including a few natural diuretics in your routine may also be beneficial. Plus, many also boast liver-protecting properties as well to enhance liver health even more. Dandelion, hawthorn leaf and asparagus, for instance, have all been shown to reduce the risk of liver injury in both in vitro studies and animal models. (8, 9, 10)
6. Decrease PCOS Symptoms
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a disorder caused when women produce high levels of male hormones, leading to symptoms irregular periods, weight gain, depression and acne. Diuretic pills are often used as a conventional treatment for PCOS, which works by removing excess water and androgen hormones from the body to reduce symptoms.
In addition to promoting proper hydration and enhancing the body’s ability to effectively flush out extra hormones and fluids, some natural diuretics also boast anti-androgen effects as well. Green tea, for instance, is rich in epigallocatechins, which are catechins that can help block the conversion of certain sex hormones to reduce the risk of PCOS symptoms. (11)
Related: Horseradish Root Helps Prevent Respiratory Illness, UTIs & Cancer
History & Interesting Facts
Although widely used to treat a variety of conditions today, diuretics have only risen in popularity within the last century or so. In fact, up until about 1957, the only effective types of diuretics available had to be injected directly into the muscle or veins and were difficult to administer, so they were typically reserved only for patients with heart failure.
In 1958, cardiologist Dr.
Marvin Moser realized that chlorothiazide, a common diuretic used primarily for heart failure, was also able to lower blood pressure levels, and by 1964 a large randomized controlled trial conducted by the Veterans Cooperative Study was the first to show that reducing blood pressure through the use of medications was able to protect against cardiovascular events. (12, 13)
Today, the uses of diuretics extend far beyond heart health.
Diuretics are also commonly used to balance hormone levels, decrease bloating and water retention and even aid in the prevention of certain conditions kidney stones.
In recent years, many people have turned to natural diuretics herbs, supplements and foods to mimic the effects of diuretics while reducing the risk of negative side effects.
How to Use/Cook Natural Diuretics
One of the easiest ways to take advantage of the wealth of health benefits provided by natural diuretics is by simply including a few servings of natural diuretic fruits and veggies in your diet. Try starting your day with a delicious green smoothie, satisfying your sweet tooth with a tasty fruit salad or swapping your fries for a side salad to help get in your fix.
Natural diuretic pills and supplements are also available for a quick and easy way to flush out extra water while sidestepping some of the negative symptoms associated with certain OTC diuretic medications.
Check your local pharmacy or health food store to find supplements hawthorn berry, horsetail and hibiscus in convenient capsule form.
Be sure to use as directed and stick to the recommended dosage to avoid adverse side effects.
Plus, sipping on some tea throughout the day can also help increase urine volume and remove excess fluid.
And not only is tea a diuretic, but it’s also filled with other health-promoting properties thearubigins, epicatechins and catechins, all of which act as antioxidants to ward off chronic disease and prevent cell damage.
Brew a cup of your choice of natural diuretic tea options, such as green, black or hibiscus, and enjoy the multitude of powerful health benefits.
Possible Side Effects/Caution
In general, natural diuretics can be a safe alternative to over the counter diuretic medications and an effective way to avoid potential water pills side effects. Some of the most common diuretic side effects include muscle cramps, high blood sugar, diarrhea, headaches, low sodium levels and high or low levels of potassium in the blood.
For most people, natural diuretic foods can be enjoyed with minimal risk of side effects. If you do experience any negative side effects or food allergy symptoms such as swelling, rashes or hives, discontinue use and consult with your doctor.
Diuretic herbs and supplements, on the other hand, should be used in moderation to prevent adverse side effects. Stick to the recommended dosage and talk to your doctor before starting if you have any underlying health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease or liver problems.
Additionally, while these natural diuretics can help reduce excess fluid buildup, they may not be an appropriate substitute for medications prescribed by your doctor. Be sure to address any concerns with a trusted health care professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.
- What is a diuretic? Defined as any medication that promotes diuresis, or the production of urine, diuretics are commonly used to treat everything from heart failure to high blood pressure.
- Natural diuretics are foods, herbs and supplements that act as diuretics to prevent fluid buildup and decrease bloating.
- Adding a few servings of natural diuretics into your diet could help prevent kidney stones, decrease PCOS symptoms, treat bloating and ascites, lower blood pressure and promote proper filtration in the kidneys.
- While natural diuretic foods are generally safe with minimal risk of side effects, be sure to stick to the recommended dosage and consult with your doctor before taking herbs or supplements.
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