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Natural Diuretics That Reduce Swelling

Diuretics are important not only for reducing swelling but also for treating the medical conditions caused by swelling in different parts of the body. There are different types of diuretics prescribed in conventional medicine. However, each type has its own disadvantages and side effects. Natural diuretics, on the other hand, are largely safe and effective too. They can be adopted into the diet and quickly prepared at home. This article discusses the most common and effective natural diuretics.
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What are Natural Diuretics?

Natural diuretics are natural foods and herbs that induce the removal of excess fluids in the body by increasing urination.

Natural diuretics stimulate the kidney to produce more urine by reducing the amount of water and salts that the kidney reabsorbs into the bloodstream. This improves the functioning of tissues and organs, and also, prevents fluids from pooling in tissue matrices.

Along with the fluids excreted, some essential minerals might also be washed out as well.

As a result, natural diuretics may pose some health risks if enough nutrients are not taken to replenish the ones lost from the body. For example, diuretics can disturb the balance of electrolytes in the body especially if more ions are lost in the process of urine production.

Since diuretics prevent water retention in the body, they are usually used to treat edema (swelling).

But there are other uses for diuretics. They are also used to treat a number of medical conditions including high blood pressure, sciatica, kidney stone, lymphatic swelling, glaucoma, and liver disorders.

What Is Edema?

Edema is the clinical term for swelling caused by abnormal buildup of large amounts of fluid in the body. It usually affects the feet, legs and ankles but it can also affect other parts of the body.

Edema is often the result of the body’s normal response to injury, infection, or inflammation.

In the case of infections, edema can be beneficial because increased fluid permits more infection-fighting white blood cells to enter the affected area.

Edema can also be caused by the inability of the veins to pump blood back to the heart due to weak valves and vessels. This is responsible for most of the edema cases involving swelling in the feet and the lower part of the body.

Furthermore, edema can be an indication of an underlying medical problem such as congestive heart failure and lung, liver, kidney, and thyroid diseases. It is also common to notice edema during pregnancy and menstrual cycle; this is attributed to hormonal changes during these periods.

Natural Diuretics

The term diuretic is often used to describe prescription medications used for the treatment of edema. However, there are also some natural herbs and foods that are useful for reducing swelling.

These natural diuretics either contain phytochemicals with diuretic properties or simply increase the rate of urine production because of their high water content.

The herbs and foods discussed below are effective natural diuretics.

Dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an herbaceous plant that has been used for centuries to treat poor digestion, water retention, and various liver diseases. The leaves and roots of the plant are mostly used for this purpose.

Dandelion has recently become popular for its use as a diuretic. An active component of dandelion, a sesquiterpene lactone, is believed to be responsible for its diuretic action.

The main diuretic action of dandelion involves increasing the flow of urine by enhancing the activities of the kidney and liver. By increasing urinary function, more fluids are released from the body and excess water weight is reduced.

As a result, swelling caused by water retention in the body can be effectively controlled with dandelion.

Additionally, dandelion stimulates the gallbladder to produce more bile and also increase bile flow from the liver. These actions purify the blood and improve kidney and liver functions.

One of dandelion’s major advantage as a diuretic is that it does not reduce potassium levels in the body. In fact, the herb is rich in potassium and can replenish the body’s store of the mineral. Other essential nutrients found in dandelion include iron, magnesium and various vitamins.

Dandelion is especially effective for foot swelling associated with high blood pressure and liver problem.

The diuretic effect of dandelion extract was examined in a study published in the journal, Alternative and Complementary Medicine. In that study, 17 volunteers were given an ethanolic extract from dandelion leaf.

Urinary frequency and volume were observed in the volunteers 2 days before they were given the extract. These parameters were also observed during and after the period of supplementation with the dandelion extract.

The result of the study showed that there was significant increase in the frequency of urination in all volunteers, thus confirming the diuretic property of dandelion.

Corn Silk

Corn silk is another natural diuretic that is also rich in potassium. It increases the rate of urine production and forces out fluids trapped inside tissues and intercellular spaces.

By speeding up the rate of filtration in the kidney tubules and also reducing the reabsorption of sodium and chlorine ions back into the blood, corn silk is able to increase the volume of urine produced in the body.

Consequently, more water and fluid wastes accumulated in the body are released and swelling is reduced.

Active phytochemicals found in corn silk include cryptoxanthin and tannins which act as dehydrating agents.

The diuretic activity of corn silk was investigated in a study published in the journal, Phytomedicine. In the study, a group of rats was given corn silk extract and this resulted in a significant increase in the volume of urine eliminated.

The researchers concluded that corn silk extract is effective as diuretic and that it works by stimulating and enhancing the function of the kidney tubules.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from the slightly oxidized leaves of Camellia sinesis and it has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for various conditions for centuries.

It is now a universally acclaimed tea that is known especially for its weight loss potentials. One of the ways by which green tea promotes weight loss is through diuresis. It prevents water retention in the body and encourages the shedding of water weight.

The active phytochemicals found in green tea include epigallocatechin gallate, flavonoids, tannins, caffeine, and polyphenols.

The caffeine content is responsible for its diuretic action. It works by increasing the activity of plasma renin. Renin which plays a significant role in water retention and urine production.

Through the increased rate of urination, pockets of fluid amassed in the body are forced to be excreted. This consequently reduces swelling caused by water retention in the body.

Caffeine also increases body metabolism thereby breaking down fat deposits in the body.

Parsley

Parsley is another popular natural remedy for swelling and there is sufficient clinical evidence to prove the diuretic benefit of this herb.

Parsley cleanses the kidneys by increasing urination. It does this by inhibiting the sodium and potassium ion pumps. This inhibition reduces the reabsorption of sodium and potassium salts in the kidney. As a result, there is an increase in osmotic pressure as well as fluid outflow leading to increased urine volume.

The diuretic effect of parsely was demonstrated in a study published in the journal, Ethnopharmcology, in 2002.

In this study, rats were given parsley seed extract to drink. The result of the study showed that rats given parsley seed extract eliminated a significantly larger volume of urine per day compared to when they were given only water.

This study shows that parsley increases the rate of urine production and reduces water retention in the body.

Some of the phytochemicals found in parsley include lutein and carotene. It is also rich in potassium and a variety of other minerals and vitamins.

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle, also known as Urtica dioica, derives its name from its stinging effect when it grazes the skin. This vegetable has become very popular and for over 100 years it has been used mainly as a food source but also for its medicinal properties.

Stinging nettle is believed to be able to reduce water retention in the body. Its use as a diuretic is attributed to the combined effect of its high potassium content and some flavonoids.

The diuretic activity of stinging nettle also involves increasing the excretion of uric acid, urea and chlorides. Through this action, it cleanses the kidney and reduces the amount of excess fluids in the body.

Therefore, stinging nettle can be used to treat and prevent the formation of kidney stores and also the deposition of uric acid in the joints.

Stinging nettle is especially effective in patients with heart disorders, chronic venous insufficiency and gout edema. In the treatment of gout edema, it can be applied as a cream or as a compressed poultice on the affected joint.

Artichoke

Artichoke has been traditionally used over the centuries by Europeans to have a lot of medicinal properties. It improves liver and kidney functions.

Artichoke contains phytochemicals such as flavonoids, caffeic acids and cynarin.  The combination of these phytochemicals, including minerals, is responsible for its potassium-sparing diuretic effect.

Cynarin, particularly, enhances the production of bile and promotes urination thereby ridding the body of excess fluids. Additionally, with the help of potassium, less sodium salt is reabsorbed into the blood and more is excreted in the kidney.

Since water retention is known to be due to the retention excess sodium ion in the body, therefore the increased excretion of sodium salts leads to the removal of excess water weight.

As a natural diuretic, artichoke should be consumed raw because cooking (heat) destroys its main component cynarin. Extracts made from artichoke leaves can also be taken as tea.

Celery

Celery (Apium graveolens) is a plant known for its flavored leaves and medicinal seeds. Celery seed is useful in ridding the body of excess water and lowering blood pressure in the body.

Celery helps in removing toxins from the body by promoting the flow of urine through the kidneys and also increasing the excretion of uric acids.

The COX-2 inhibitors present in celery seed are responsible for reducing uric acid levels in the body. This makes it an ideal treatment option for gout edema which is caused by excess uric acid crystals collecting in the joints.

Through the various diuretic effects of celery seed, it may also be helpful in relieving bladder disorders and some kidney problems.

Although celery contains sodium, it also contains considerable amount of potassium to counterbalance it. Additionally, it is rich in vitamin C and this is believed this also contributes to celery’s medicinal properties.

Juniper Berry

Juniper berry contains some volatile oils, resins and organic acids that are responsible for the berry’s medicinal benefits. The berries are carefully dried to preserve the volatile oils and they used in several beverages.

One of its volatile oils, terpinen-4-ol, is considered to be responsible for the diuretic effect of juniper berry. It dilutes urine and disinfects the urinary tract as it is excreted in the urine.

By increasing the rate of filtration in the kidney tubules, juniper berry stimulates the production of more urine. Additionally, it prevents uric acid from crystalizing in the kidneys by keeping it dissolved in excess fluids and excreting it with urine.

All these actions improve the functions of the kidney and promote the constant removal of excess fluids in the body.

Cucumber

The diuretic effect of cucumber mainly comes from its high water content. It helps in the removal of accumulated deposits of old waste materials and toxins.

Cucumber contains a lot of silicon and sulfur which are known to be dehydrating agents. These two minerals stimulate the kidney to excrete more uric acid.

It also contains ascorbic and caffeic acids. The combine effects of these phytochemicals and its high water content stimulate the production of more urine. As a result, fluids causing swelling in the body are forced out and excreted as urine.

Along with the diuretic action of cucumber, it also provides an antioxidant protection for cells and blood vessels. This prevents the damage of veins and prevents the leakage of fluids into the tissue matrix. In addition, this protection allows the vessels to properly drain fluids from swollen areas to the kidneys for excretion.

The antioxidant property of cucumber is due to the presence of phytochemicals such as alpha and beta carotene, vitamins A and C, zeaxanthin and lutein.

Grape

Grapes are very good natural diuretics on account of their high water content and high amount of potassium. They also contain very low salts and this makes them an even more preferable option.

Grape increases the rate of urine production and bile flow by stimulating the liver and glycogenic functions and, as a result, it helps in ridding the body of excess fluids.

Furthermore, grapes prevent swelling caused by damaged blood vessels because it contains antioxidant phytochemicals such as phenolic acids, flavonols, flavon-3-ols, quercetin, tannins, anthocyanins, and kaempferol.

Lastly, the detoxifying effect of grapes improves the function and thus the filtration rate of the kidney. This consequently helps the kidney to excrete more fluids from the body.

It also has a laxative effect due to the fiber in its skin. The laxative effect can also contribute to fluid loss from the body.

 

 

Sources


http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/edema-overview

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/edema/hic_edema.aspx

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/edema-000055.htm

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Facebook comments: User: Dawn R. Mardis Comment: Lots of good information. Thanks! User: Samuel Hurd Comment: Very informative article! User: Peter Wells Comment: sounds good \n