Natural diuretics: How they compare with water pills

Natural diuretics and water pills excrete excess water and sodium from the body, thereby lowering overall blood volume which makes them useful in treatment of several conditions.

However, water pills or pharmaceutical diuretics are much stronger and much more effective then the herbs. On the other hand, the risk of side effects is much greater because of this.

For example, the body can become deficient in potassium and other minerals. There are also several types of diuretics from which some work by preventing loss of potassium and calcium, while reducing sodium.


Although natural diuretics aren't effective as water pills, they can be used for the same purposes. This includes:

  • Lowering high blood pressure
  • Edema
  • Congestive heart failure - for serious condition such as this one, it is better to go with more stronger, pharmaceutical diuretics
  • Liver cirrhosis

Some people may also use them when trying to lose weight. However, the only thing you may lose, is water weight which is short term effect that cannot be sustained. Not to mention that it can be dangerous, even life threatening.

These drugs can also be used for treating some kidney disorders such as kidney stones.


The list includes herbs, few fruits and some vegetables, such as:

  • Dandelion
  • Juniper
  • Uva Ursi
  • Burdock
  • Asparagus
  • Nettle
  • Bearberry
  • Buchu
  • Watermelon
  • Parsley and Celery
  • Green tea
  • Hawthorn

Besides these herbs, there are many more foods which increase urination and sodium excretion, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing water retention. This includes cranberry, apple cider vinegar, artichokes, lemons, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers beets, watercress, oats, lettuce, tomatoes and fennel.

However, when it comes to natural diuretics, herbs are slightly more effective then the foods but weaker than water pills. On the other hand, they are much safer then pharmaceutical drugs.

Caffeine and alcohol also possess diuretic properties but unlike herbs or foods these two are poor source of minerals such as potassium because of which they may actually increase blood pressure.


Althouth the risk of side effects is very small, when the drugs are taken under doctor's supervison, they are still possible. They may include:

  • Electrolytes imbalance such as low sodium levels in the blood
  • Frequent urination and possible dehydration
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Hormonal imbalance which can cause breast enlargement and impotence in men as well as deepening of the voice and menstrual irregularities in women
  • Gout and joint pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Muscle cramps or arrhythmia due to electrolyte imbalance
  • Raise blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Kidney damage
  • Skin rash
  • Loss of appetite

Some people may also be allergic to diuretics because of which they may turn to some other medication to lower blood pressure. However, allergic reaction to natural diuretics is very rare.


For whichever reason you might take them, prolonged use of diuretics is not advised. Also, if you take them while having sodium rich diet, there is not much use from water pills. Also, potassium-sparing diuretic may lead to high level of potassium in the blood, especially if combined with potassium rich foods.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn't take them since it can affect the fetus or the baby. Although children may take water pills, it is not advised, especially due to the fact that they are growing. On the other hand, older people taking diuretics, tend to experience side effects, more frequently.

In this case, consuming foods which are natural diuretics would be a better way to go. If that is not enough, you can always consider taking herbal diuretics which are little bit stronger than the foods. Monitoring your kidney function, blood pressure and electrolyte levels, while taking them, may reduce the risk of possible side effects.

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