Natural Herbs to Rid the Body of Water Retention

nettle
Stinging Nettle plant (Image: Lohvyniuk/iStock/Getty Images)

Diuretics can stimulate the kidneys to flush water, thus helping to reduce water retention and edema. A number of natural herbs can act as diuretics in the body. While herbs are a time-honored way to support the health of the body, be sure to talk with your health care practitioner about the use of herbal diuretics, particularly if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, taking pharmaceuticals or have any serious health concerns.

Stinging Nettle to Stimulate Urination

Stinging nettle
wall of stinging nettle (Image: silviacrisman/iStock/Getty Images)

Stinging nettle -- known scientifically as Urtica dioica -- is a nutritionally dense herb with an astringent, drying and potentially diuretic action in the body. Master herbalist and naturopathic doctor Michael Tierra recommends a cool tea of nettle leaf as a diuretic to cleanse the urinary tract and counteract water retention and inflammation. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, nettle has been used since the Medieval period as a diuretic to rid the body of excess water, along with treating painful joints, although no scientific research has been conducted on nettle as a diuretic to date.

Dandelion; the Premier Herbal Diuretic

dandelions
Dandelion field (Image: xyno/iStock/Getty Images)

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelion was used by Native Americans to treat swelling, and the leaves are used today as a diuretic to treat edema. Dandelion has traditionally been used in conditions where a diuretic may help, including high blood pressure and liver and kidney disorders. According to research published in the August 2009 “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,” an extract of dandelion was shown to increase urinary output in human subjects, suggesting that its use in traditional and folk medicine as a remedy for edema has basis in scientific fact. Scientists state that more long-term research is needed to establish dandelion as an appropriate alternative to pharmaceutical diuretics.

Cleavers for Edema

woodruff
field of cleavers (Image: hydrangea100/iStock/Getty Images)

Cleavers -- known also as Galium aparine -- has been used in folk medicine to treat edema and to rid the body of excess fluid. Herbalist Susun Weed suggests using a fresh tincture of cleavers to treat PMS symptoms like tender breasts as well as relieve edema due to cleavers' ability to stimulate the lymphatic system. No reputable scientific studies have been done on cleavers, but naturopathic doctor Sharol Tilgner asserts that cleavers has a beneficial effect on swollen lymph glands and cysts, along with stimulating urination to rid the body of excess fluid.

Quick Tips

Delicous Ice Tea Drink
glasses of iced tea (Image: Karen Sarraga/iStock/Getty Images)

Herbal diuretics can be taken as cool or cold teas to stimulate urination and may help to reduce swelling and edema. They can also be taken as a tincture or standardized extract to stimulate the kidneys to remove excess fluid and waste buildup from the body. Diuretic herbs tend to be drying in nature, so have caution using them if you have excessively dry skin or mucous membranes, as they may worsen the situation. Edema may be a sign of a serious health problem, so be sure to work with a qualified practitioner when choosing to treat edema with herbal diuretics.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.