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Natural Diuretics That Reduce Swelling

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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.

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 several 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 an 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 causes 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 the menstrual cycle; this is attributed to hormonal changes during these periods.

Why Use a Diuretic?

A diuretic is simply an agent to reduce water retention and eliminate excess water from the body. In some cases, certain medical conditions (like renal dysfunction or taking steroids) can cause edema. Taking diuretics (or eating diuretic foods) is an easy way to eliminate extra water from the body. As long as you keep your water intake high enough, taking diuretics should not have any adverse effects on your body.

Possible Adverse Effects of Diuretics

Diuretics can have negative consequences if abused. When used under the supervision of a doctor, diuretics are safe for short-term use. The biggest risk of diuretics is that they can deplete minerals and vitamins from the body, causing nutrient deficiencies. Eating potassium along with diuretics (or eating foods rich in potassium along with diuretic properties) will avoid the biggest risks of taking the medication. Typically, the biggest risks are found in over-the-counter and prescription diuretics. Natural herbs, supplements, and most of all, foods, are less likely to cause any adverse health problems.

Still, it is best to avoid taking diuretics longer than about a week. If your edema hasn't subsided by then, consult a medical professional right away.

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 (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 increases bile flow from the liver. These actions purify the blood and improve kidney and liver functions.

One of the dandelion’s major advantages 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 the 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 a 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 a 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 can 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 an effective 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 Sinensis 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 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 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 parsley was demonstrated in a study published in the journal, Ethnopharmacology, 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 volume of excess fluid in the body.

Therefore, stinging nettle can be used to treat and prevent the formation of kidney stones 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 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 cynarine.  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 of excess sodium ions in the body, 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 cynarine. Extracts made from artichoke leaves can also be taken as a tea.


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 help relieve bladder disorders and some kidney problems.

Although celery contains sodium, it also contains a 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 are 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 the 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 crystallizing 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.


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 combined effects of these phytochemicals and their high water content stimulate the production of more urine. As a result, fluids causing swelling in the body are forced out and excreted in the urine.

Along with the diuretic action of cucumber, it also provides antioxidant protection for cells and blood vessels. This prevents the damage of veins and prevents the leakage of fluids into the tissue matrix. Also, 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.


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.


Eggplant is a natural diuretic due to several factors. Most of all, the vegetable has high water content. Eggplant can also improve circulation, which discourages fluid from sitting around, Eggplants are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids along with fiber and minerals that can encourage extra water to leave the body.

Nutrients in Eggplant
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Folic acid
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B1
  • Copper
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin K


Asparagus is a low-calorie food filled with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid. Asparagus is not only vitamin-rich, but it also has antioxidants and contains asparagine, which is a diuretic that is used to treat swelling, arthritis, and PMS.


Coffee is a natural diuretic that can help eliminate excess water weight. Coffee also contains magnesium along with caffeine, which promotes the elimination of excess water weight. A daily cup or two of coffee can help reduce edema while replacing magnesium.


Hawthorne is a relative of the rose and is credited with the ability to reduce extra fluid. Nutrients in Hawthorne can increase urinary excretion. The berries of Hawthorne are also able to improve kidney function to eliminate excess water in the body.


In 2014, a study found that supplements of horsetail extracts were just as effective as prescription diuretics. However, this means caution should be taken when supplementing with horsetail as it is possible to remove too much fluid from the body and become dehydrated or remove too many nutrients, causing nutrient deficiencies.


Hibiscus is also able to reduce extra fluid. Hibiscus has significant diuretic abilities, according to studies on the plant. The hibiscus variety, Roselle, has the biggest benefit of reducing edema and improving kidney function and filtration.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts rid the body of water retention. Brussels sprouts contain vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as many other vitamins and minerals including magnesium, folate, and potassium. Brussels sprouts are the perfect vegetable to eat when taking other diuretics because they are so high in the essential nutrients lost during urination.


Ginger is a healthy spice filled with anti-inflammatory compounds and nutrients. Ginger is also able to help reduce excess fluid in the body by removing extra water and promoting healthy urination. Raw ginger has the greatest effect on reducing water retention, but you can also take ginger in supplement or powdered form.



Beets are known for their high potassium content. Potassium is necessary for eliminating extra salt and fluid from the body. Cutting back on salt and adding more potassium-rich foods to the diet is an easy way to eliminate excess edema from the body.

Lemon Juice

Lemons are surprisingly beneficial in eliminating extra water from the body. Lemons reduce high blood pressure, give you a boost of minerals and vitamins, and reduce extra water content. Lemons contain mild diuretic properties that will make it easier for your body to process and eliminate fluids.


Oats aren't just beneficial for your heart. In fact, they are beneficial for reducing extra water weight as well. Oats are a natural diuretic because they contain high levels of B vitamins, potassium, and other nutrients. The potassium contained in oats works to remove excess sodium from the body.


Buchu leaves were used in South Africa for hundreds of years to reduce edema, promote healthy urination, and prevent illness. Buchu is used to improve the function of the kidneys and reduce excess water weight. Often, Buchu is combined with other herbs including uva ursi leaf.

Butcher's Broom

Butcher's broom is an herbal remedy that has been used to treat edema for hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of years. Butcher's broom is particularly useful in preventing leg edema. Butcher's broom extracts have been shown in studies to reduce chronic vein insufficiency, making them stronger and better at removing fluid from the legs and throughout the rest of the body. In one study, supplements of butcher's broom were able to reduce leg swelling, varicose veins, and leg size when taken for 12 weeks.


Watermelon is a natural diuretic for multiple reasons. Watermelon is 92 percent water, but it also contains antioxidants and nutrients that promote a healthy circulatory system and combats edema. One amino acid found in watermelon, called citrulline, relaxes the blood vessels, preventing fluids from leaking into nearby tissues. This alone will fight water retention over the long-term.


Garlic is useful for many things, like fighting off illness and reducing inflammation, but one of its lesser-known benefits is its ability to get rid of water retention. Garlic has diuretic effects which not only get rid of extra water but also work to break down fat. Adding garlic to your recipes that you make at home will boost the effects of other home remedies designed to fight edema.


Tomatoes have a high water content, which makes them great for controlling salt levels in the body. But more than that, tomatoes also contain a wide variety of nutrients that can help strengthen the blood vessels, improve circulation, and reduce water retention. The antioxidants in tomatoes are mainly beneficial for keeping tissue damage in check, which will ensure that tissues don't hold on to excess water and move fluid through the body the way it ought to move.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is useful for many things, but one of its many benefits is that it helps to reduce edema. You can use apple cider vinegar both internally and externally for reducing edema. Internally, apple cider vinegar improves urinary function, improves digestion, and gets rid of extra water in the body. Try adding a teaspoon to a glass of water and drinking it daily.

Externally, apple cider vinegar can also be beneficial. Add a cup of vinegar to a warm bath and soak swollen limbs in the mixture. This will help calm swelling and inflammation, removing extra water from the legs or anywhere else it has caused swelling.



Cabbage is not only full of nutrients, but it is also a strong diuretic. Cabbage has high water content and is high in potassium. If you add cabbage to soup, you magnify the effects because you are consuming additional water in conjunction with the potassium that will encourage your body to remove excess fluid without damage.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is a powerful diuretic remedy that is especially beneficial because it allows the removal of fluid without the removal of potassium and other vital nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to function properly. Cranberry is one of the few foods that preserve potassium rather than getting rid of it. Without the right balance of potassium, your edema is likely to come back the instant you start eating salt again. Cranberries are also anti-bacterial, which makes them useful for fighting common bacterial illnesses, including bladder and kidney infections.


Carrots may not seem like they can reduce water retention, but they are effective at promoting healthy circulation and preventing your body from holding on to excess fluid. Carrots contain compounds like lycopene, phytochemicals, vitamin A, and minerals. Carrots help your body let go of what it doesn't need while holding on to the valuable nutrients it needs to function properly. Carrots can work in conjunction with other remedies to remove excess water from the body safely.

Natural Diuretics Work

You don't have to take prescription medication or even over-the-counter treatments for water retention. In most cases, increasing your consumption of natural diuretics can improve your circulation, discouraged your body from hanging on to excess water, and improving urination. These natural foods are extra beneficial because along with their edema-fighting properties, they also increase your total nutrient intake, which is beneficial for every bodily system. 






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