Diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluid, mainly water and sodium. Most stimulate the kidneys to excrete more sodium into the urine. When diuretics flush away sodium, the body also flushes away water.

When Is a Diuretic Prescribed?

Doctors prescribe diuretics when the body is retaining too much fluid. This problem is more common in older adults. The following conditions may require the regulation of fluid in the body or result in fluid retention:

  • high blood pressure
  • congestive heart failure
  • cirrhosis of the liver
  • kidney dysfunction
  • kidney stones
  • edema (tissue swelling, such as in swollen legs and feet)
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • diabetes

Prescription diuretics may cause some side effects. These include fatigue, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, rash, and headaches.

Considering a Natural Diuretic

Some herbs and dietary supplements have diuretic properties that may be helpful to you. Always talk with your doctor and ask about any potential allergic reactions, especially if you’re already taking medications.

Top Seven Natural Diuretics

Below are the seven most common natural diuretics. Early scientific studies have shown that many of these alternatives help the body excrete excess fluid.

1. Dandelion

To some, the dandelion is just a weed. But recent research has found that one of the plant’s compounds enhances kidney activity and increases urination frequency.

2. Hawthorn

This relative of the rose family is a powerful diuretic. Its can reduce fluid buildup, which means it can also improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. The plant’s nutrients have also shown to increase urinary excretion and flow. Hawthorn berries can also act as diuretics and may help treat kidney problems.

3. Horsetail

A 2014 study found that horsetail extract had the same effects as prescription diuretics, with fewer side effects. Horsetail may be a good alternative to prescriptions, especially if you’ve had problems with side effects.

4. Juniper

The juniper plant has been used as a diuretic since medieval times. Few modern-day studies have proven its benefits, but the evergreen has shown to have a significant effect on urine volume in animals. Like many natural diuretics, juniper doesn’t seem to lower potassium levels like some drugs do.

5. Green and Black Tea

Every time you enjoy a hot cup of tea, you may be flushing excess fluid from your system. Both black and green teas have shown potential as natural diuretics.

6. Parsley

While parsley is mainly used as a garnish, it may be more useful to those who are having trouble with diuretic drugs. One study found that it may help with urinary volume.

7. Hibiscus

This beautiful flower has more than its looks. The “roselle,” a species of hibiscus, had significant diuretic effects in one recent study. An earlier study also noted that hibiscus helped increase kidney filtration.

Besides these seven natural diuretics, cutting back on sodium and exercising more can also help reduce fluid buildup. Eating more fruits and vegetables that act as diuretics, like watermelon, grapes, berries, celery, asparagus, onions, garlic, and bell peppers, may be another beneficial solution.