Health Benefits of Herbs

Herbal Diuretics

body kidneysHerbal diuretics are natural herbal remedies that can help the body eliminate sodium and excess fluids, especially water, which have accumulated in body tissues and the circulatory system.

This abnormal accumulation of fluids (water retention) usually occurs when the body chooses to hang on to excess water that should be released through the excretion process.

Herbal diuretics can be used to solve various water retention problems as they adequately stimulate body kidneys, thus forcing them to excrete even more sodium into the filtered urine.

This will, in turn, force the body to flush away even more water to accompany the excreted sodium.

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Herbal diuretics have similar or even more, superior properties to most of the over-the-counter diuretic drugs, making them an ideal treatment for various medical conditions including:

  • Edema
  • heart disease
  • kidney stone
  • PMS
  • lymphatic swelling
  • congestive heart failure
  • liver disorders
  • Gonorrhea
  • diabetes
  • sciatica

All of which are associated with water retention.

Natural Herbal Diuretics

Herbal diuretics should be used with moderation as they may end up getting rid of essential minerals and vitamins during the process of removing excess body fluids. Discussed below are some of the most commonly used herbal diuretics. The natural herbal diuretics list:

1. Dandelion

Dandelion whose botanical name is “Taraxacum officinale” is a beneficial herbaceous plant which has been used to treat water retention problems, poor digestion, and a wide variety of liver diseases. It has been used for many centuries now.

The plant’s roots and leaves are the most popularly used when it comes to herbal medicine. Sesquiterpene is the most active dandelion compound which provides the natural remedy with its beneficial diuretic properties.

This compound enhances the activities of both the liver and the kidney, thus increasing the flow of urine.

This mechanism results in the increased release of body fluids and excess water weight. One key characteristic of dandelion that makes it an ideal diuretic is its lack of side effects whatsoever.

2. Parsley

Parsley Health Benefits
Parsley

Parsley, which is a common greenery used in decorating food is a beneficial plant with many nutritional benefits. The herb which is an effective diuretic has been widely recommended for alleviating various kidney ailments including kidney stones.

Just like most of the other natural diuretics, parsley also works in eliminating water retention by increasing urination through inhibiting the potassium and ion pumps.

By doing so, parsley succeeds in reducing the reabsorption of potassium and sodium salts hence increasing both the fluid outflow and the body osmotic pressure.

Parsley apart from being rich in beneficial phytochemicals like carotene and lutein also contains potassium as well as a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

A 2002 scientific study that was used to demonstrate parsley’s potent diuretic properties and published in the “Ethnopharmacology” journal revealed that the natural herb has the ability to increase the urinary volume more significantly when used.1

3. Celery

Celery whose botanical name is “Apium graveolens” is a natural plant that is famous for its beneficial medicinal seeds and flavored leaves. The plant’s seeds are very useful when it comes to eliminating excess water from the body as well as managing blood pressure.

The natural herb effectively helps in removing body toxins through promoting a reliable flow of urine throughout the kidneys and also by increasing the process of excreting uric acid from the body.

Celery seeds contain COX-2 inhibitors, which are the ones responsible for lowering uric acid levels, making it an ideal treatment option for gout edema.

The Celery herbal remedy which is rich in vitamin C also contains a significant amount of potassium which it uses to counterbalance the negative effects of sodium.

4. Stinging Nettle

The Stinging Nettle plant which is also commonly referred to as “Urtica dioica” has been used both as a reliable food source and medicinal plant for more than 100 years now. This plant’s name was derived from the stinging like effect it produces when it comes into contact with the skin.

The Stinging Nettle plant contains beneficial flavonoids and a high potassium content, making it an ideal diuretic.

The herbal remedy’s diuretic activity mainly involves the increase of the urea, chlorides, and uric acid excretion process, thus resulting in the cleansing of the kidney and the significant reduction in water retention.

Stinging nettle’s diuretic properties make it an ideal treatment option for gout edema, heart disorders, and venous insufficiency.

5. Corn Silk

Corn Silk is another beneficial natural diuretic, which is also highly rich in potassium. The natural herbal remedy increases the urine production rate while forcing out unbeneficial body fluids trapped inside intercellular spaces and tissues.

Corn silk increases urine volume by increasing the kidney tubules filtration rate and also minimizing the reabsorption of chloride and sodium ions. This then results in the release of fluid wastes and water that are accumulated in the body.

Tannins and cryptoxanthin are the active Corn Silk phytochemicals that act as dehydrating agents. Corn Silk’s diuretic activity was investigated in a scientific study published in the “Phytomedicine” journal. In this study, a group of rat specimens was fed on corn Silk extracts resulting in a significant increase in the excreted urine volume.

This led to the conclusion that the natural herb is an effective diuretic that works by enhancing and stimulating the kidney tubules function.

6. Juniper Berry

Juniper Berries which are often carefully dried to preserve their volatile oils and also used in making most beverages are beneficial herbs that not only contain volatile oils but also organic acids and resins as well. Terpinen-4-ol is the main volatile oil that is majorly responsible for the herbal remedy’s potent diuretic effects.

Juniper Berries

This volatile oil disinfects the urinary tract and dilutes urine as it increases the kidney tubules filtration mechanism, hence producing, even more, urine.

Additionally, Juniper Berry prevents the further crystallization of uric acid keeping the acid dissolved in excess fluids waiting for excretion.

7. Artichoke

Artichoke is a medicinal herbal plant that has been widely used traditionally over the centuries by Europeans for its amazing health benefits. The herbal plant contains various phytochemicals including caffeic acids, cynarin, and flavonoids that are mainly responsible for its crucial potassium-sparing diuretic effects.

Cynarin is the particular phytochemical that not only promotes urination but also enhances bile production thus eliminating excess body fluids.

The herb’s phytochemicals when combined with potassium minimize the absorption of sodium salt into the body. Artichoke which improves both kidney and liver functions can be consumed raw as the heat used in cooking can easily destroy cynarin which is the herbal remedy’s main medicinal content.

The herbal remedy’s natural extracts can also be used as herbal tea.

8. Green Tea

green tea benefitsGreen Tea which is made from the slenderly oxidized leaves of the “Camellia sinesis” plant has been used in the traditional Chinese medical field for many years now. The herbal remedy has now become a universally accepted tea, particularly for weight loss thanks to its potent diuretic properties.

Green tea has the ability to prevent water retention, thus encouraging the immense shedding of water weight.

Flavonoids, polyphenols, tannins, caffeine and epigallocatechin are the main active phytochemicals found in the herbal remedy. Of all the phytochemicals caffeine is the one responsible for Green Tea’s diuretic properties as it works to increase the activities of plasma renin.

Which plays a major role in urine production and water retention. Caffeine also has the ability to increase body metabolism, thereby leading to the breaking down of fat deposits.

CONCLUSION

There are basically fewer herbal diuretics side effects with the main one being the natural remedies’ ability to result in the excretion of essential body minerals and vitamins.However, it is crucial to note that each herbal diuretic has its own functions and effects both good and bad.  Hence one should ask for the professional opinion of either a qualified health practitioner or herbal expert before deciding to use any herbal diuretic product.

Photo Credit:Juniper Berries, By Dcrjsr (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Medical information provided is for information purposes only. Always get guidance about a medical condition from a health care professional.

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