You've probably heard the phrase "retaining water," usually in reference to uncomfortable or unattractive bloating. However, water retention can also have the more serious effect of elevating blood pressure. According to Hypertension-Bloodpresssure-Center, dietary sodium often contributes to this fluid retention, also called edema. Your doctor may prescribe a diuretic medication, which acts to increase urination and flush this excess fluid. Another means of addressing fluid retention is through natural diuretics, found either in dietary or supplement form. While these natural approaches aren't backed by sufficient scientific evidence, many have been used for centuries.
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This common weed is one of the most frequently used natural diuretics, and can be eaten, prepared as a tea, or included in a supplement. Unlike many prescription diuretics, dandelion doesn't deplete the body's stores of potassium, according to HighBloodPressureInfo.org. However, MedlinePlus reports that dandelion has had mixed results in animal studies, and is not backed by any significant human data. In addition, dandelion may have undesirable drug interactions with antacids and some antibiotics, according to HighBloodPressureInfo.org.
Parsley is another natural diuretic with a potassium-sparing benefit, according to HighBloodPressureInfo.org. This culinary herb is actually high in potassium, so it helps to replenish the body's supply even as it increases urination. Although parsley can easily be added to a variety of foods, HighBloodPressureInfo.org reports that it is most effective when prepared as a tea. Use parsley with caution, as it may increase risk of bleeding, according to health-care-tips.org. Parsley is also not recommended for pregnant women.
In addition to being one of the more powerful natural diuretics, celery seed also increases blood flow in its role as a vasodilator, according to HighBloodPressureInfo.org. In fact, celery seed contains its own specific diuretic compound, called 3-n-Butylphthalide. Although celery seed can be eaten, it can also be taken in capsule form. Potential side effects of celery seed include photodermatitis (abnormal skin reaction to sunlight) and allergic reaction, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.