Water retention, also known as edema, causes swelling in various parts of the body. Water retention can occur in the legs, ankles, or feet, as well as the face and hands. It is caused by fluid accumulation in body tissues.
Sitting for an extended period of time, hormonal changes during pregnancy, too much sodium, certain medications and even standing for an extended period of time can all contribute to this. Your body is composed of 50-60% water. When your hydration level is out of balance, your body tends to retain water.
Water Retention Symptoms
Water retention can make you feel heavier and less active than you’re used to. Excess water retention can also result in some noticeable symptoms, such as:
- bloating, particularly in the abdomen
- swollen limbs or ankles
- abdominal, face, and hip puffiness
- stiffness in the joints
- fluctuations in weight
There are prescription medicines out there that doctors will give to help reduce water retention, but they can have a lot of side effects, including loss of electrolytes. Thankfully, there are a lot of natural remedies to try instead, that have far fewer side effects.
Useful Herbs to Get Rid of Water Retention
Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nettles, specifically stinging nettles, are full of health benefits. They can help those suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, allergies, and even help reduce bleeding from wounds.
Of course, it also has diuretic properties, including reducing any swelling and fluid retention. It often works in conjunction with prescribed medicines to increase urine production, but always make sure you are getting enough electrolytes.
Coffee and Tea (Camellia Sinensis)
Caffeine is a beneficial diuretic. While many prescription or over-the-counter diuretics contain caffeine, finding natural ways to ingest caffeine is a lot safer. You have a better idea of how much you are getting, and tend to not overdose yourself.
One benefit of green tea is that in addition to the caffeine, it protects those that use diuretics by reducing the amount of potassium lost during water excretion. Black tea also has benefits, although some studies have shown that black tea grows more efficacious based on its elevation.
If you already drink coffee or tea, there is no need to add more. However, if you don’t often drink caffeine, it may be worth adding a cup or two to your breakfast.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Though dandelion is often considered a weed, those that rely on more natural medicine know it has a lot of benefits. Not only is it full of vitamin A, B, C, and D, and minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc, but it also has great flavors.
The roots of dandelions have been used to treat liver diseases, kidney problems, swelling, issues of the skin, diabetes, eye problems, heartburn, and upset stomachs.
Now, it is shown that the leaves of this plant can act like diuretics. They also help with digestion and appetite. You can sprinkle the leaves on top of salads or sandwiches. You can also steep the leaves and make an herbal tea out of them to get the effects.
Additionally, compounds in the leaves and the plant in general are said to help with kidney function, which would also help to filter out toxins in the body that get removed along with all the excess water.
Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Like other natural diuretics, Juniper has been found to keep potassium in the body. You can use the berries in dishes that have a lot of meat, or drink juniper tea. These berries can stimulate the kidneys and significantly increase the flow of urine while minimizing the loss of electrolytes like potassium. Studies on the berries show that in addition to reducing water retention in the body, they can have antifungal, antibacterial, and antidiabetic effects.
Corn Silk (Stigma maydis)
As the name suggests, corn silk is the pale strands that you often pull out of your corn when you remove the husks. Instead of wasting these strands, many people around the world have used them in traditional medicine. They are full of antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial.
Corn silk is full of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and more. It also helps cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar according to some studies.
Research done on corn silk has shown that it can relax the bladder to increase the removal of urine and reduce any irritation. While it doesn’t necessarily focus on removing excess water, it can support the overall health of the urinary tract.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Studies done on horsetail have shown that it is a powerful diuretic that has very similar effects to prescription options. However, there are fewer side effects, so it works as an ideal replacement.
The most common way to take horsetail is as tea. The herb is dried and then brewed in tea. There are also capsule and tincture options. In addition to being a diuretic, it is full of antioxidants and silica for health benefits.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel helps to flush out any excess fluids in the body, which makes it an excellent diuretic. It also has the added benefits of reducing the chances of UTIs and helping out the kidneys by removing toxins.
You can use fennel in a lot of foods, but you can also just drink fennel tea.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley is another very popular diuretic. Not only does it have diuretic properties, but it binds to receptors for adenosine in the body, which reduces the production of adenosine and increases urine production even further.
Parsley can be thrown on top of many dishes like salads, meat, and pasta, but you can also make parsley tea with lemon to get the same effect.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Hawthorn is related to the rose family and is a powerful diuretic. It reduces fluids in general, which means it is beneficial for weight loss, kidney diseases, and even heart failure.
Hawthorn has other benefits as well, including stimulating appetite, improving circulation, reducing stress, nervousness, and problems with sleep. You can use hawthorn leaves, berries, and flowers to make tea, eat the berries on their own or turn them into a jam for dessert. There are also supplements available.
Most of the time, having about 300 milligrams a day was considered the best dose. It shouldn’t be used when using blockers like beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers.
Hibiscus tea can reduce the fluid in your body and the sodium levels. This eliminates the water you have built up in your body but also reduces what causes water retention, which is usually sodium. So, hibiscus not only removes water from the body but prevents it from happening again as easily.
In addition to using herbs and spices to help you lose water, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables out there as well. These all help with reducing water retention just by eating them: grapes, cucumbers, garlic, lemons, bell peppers, berries, asparagus, onions, pineapple or celery.
If you need a little help reducing water retention, try these herbs. Most can be incorporated into food or teas very easily. Let us know in the comments what herbal remedies you use to get rid of water retention.