Holding Water? Herbal Diuretics Can Help

1
Retaining Water Can be Helped Naturally with Herbs

Teenage girl with bellyache.
Water Retention is Frustrating and Can be Helped with Herbal Diuretics. BURGER/PHANIE/Canopy/Getty

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.

2
Dandelion

Dandelion
Dandelion leaf stimulates the body to make urine and eliminate excess water. Maximilian Stock Ltd. Photolibrary/Getty Images

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 like 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 “based on 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.”

3
Green Tea

Green tea
Green tea in both high and low doses showed significant diuretic potential. Gabor Izso E+/Getty Images

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!”

4
Parsley

Parsley
Parsley demonstrated a significant increase in urine flow rate. Creativ Studio Heinemann Westend61/Getty Images

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.” 

5
Horsetail

Horsetail
Horsetail herb was found to be just as effective as prescribed medication. Steve Gorton Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) has tube-like 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 FB 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 like 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.

6
Juniper

Juniper
Juniper has shown to have a significant effect on urine volume. Ursula Alter Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

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.

Sources:

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

International Scholarly Research Notices, Potential Interaction of Green Tea Extract with Hydrochlorothiazide on Diuretic Activity in Rats, Manodeep Chakraborty et al., 11/6/14

US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley, Kreydiyyeh SI et al., 3/02

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

Continue Reading