10 Home Remedies for Water Retention

Water retention is also known as fluid retention or edema, and is characterized by a build-up of excess water in the tissue and circulatory system in… Elizabeth Lilian - May 4, 2017

Water retention is also known as fluid retention or edema, and is characterized by a build-up of excess water in the tissue and circulatory system in the body. The human body is made up of up to 70 percent water. It is an important component of blood, digestive juices, urine, sweat, and is also found in the muscles, fat and bones. However, too much water can be detrimental to our health.

Water retention is caused by things like heart conditions, kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, medications, pregnancy, obesity and malnutrition. Symptoms of water retention include swelling and puffiness of the body, skin that feels and looks tight, bloating in the abdomen, and skin that doesn’t bounce back quickly when pressed. Water retention is often a symptom of other issues, and if left untreated it can cause a decrease in mobility, pain and damage to the skin.

Treatment for water retention includes a healthy diet and exercise, avoiding alcohol, smoking and excessive salt, and can also be managed by use of compression stockings, massage and elevation of the affected limb.

Here are ten home remedies for water retention.

1. Dandelion

Dandelion is a flower that belongs to the sunflower or Asteraceae family, and also goes by the name of Lion’s Tooth, Puff Ball and Royal Herb. It’s scientifically known as Taraxacum officinale and originated in Europe. The dandelion is light sensitive, and will open in the morning with the sun and close again when the sun sets. They also remain closed on very cloudy or rainy days.

Dandelion is often used as an herb to treat various health issues like arthritis, PMS, liver problems, acidity in the body, poor digestion, allergies, eczema, gout, low blood pressure, poor circulation, high cholesterol, bad breath, constipation and more. It’s also commonly used as a sleep aid and supports the metabolic system.

Dandelion herb contains a rich amount of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, riboflavin, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as beneficial polyphenols like beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Dandelion is also a natural diuretic, which makes it an effective treatment for bloating and water retention.

To treat water retention with dandelion, steep a teaspoon of dried dandelion herb in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Strain the water and drink once cooled, up to three times a day. Dandelion can occasionally cause an upset stomach or diarrhea, but it’s generally considered safe to take.

2. Parsley

Parsley (botanically known as Petroselinum crispum) is a small herb that originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s become a popular herb for both culinary and medicinal purposes. There are different types of parsley like flat leaf and curly leaf, and it is used heavily in Mediterranean, Eastern European and American cuisine.

The leaves, seeds and roots of parsley can be used medicinally, and oil can also be extracted from the seeds. Parsley has been used to treat hives, relieve allergy symptoms, reduce bloating and flatulence, and break up kidney stones. Parsley can also support eye and heart health, and provide protection against rheumatoid arthritis. It’s used to soothe tender breasts of nursing mothers, relieve irritated eyes, and promote faster healing of bruises.

Parsley is full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, potassium, iron, manganese and magnesium. It also contains rich amounts of polyphenolic antioxidants like apigenin, luteolin and chrysoeriol, and can provide 1366% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. It’s also extremely high in chlorophyll, which can help strengthen vital organs, prevent anemia, regulate hormonal levels and promote digestive health.

Parsley is an effective treatment for water retention and swelling because it’s a diuretic, which means it can improve kidney function and help the body eliminate excess salt and water. You can brew your own parsley tea by chopping up the leaves and roots and placing them into a tea strainer, then add it to a cup of boiling water and allow it to steep for at least five minutes. Then simply strain the water and drink once it’s cooled. This can be enjoyed several times a day for maximum benefits, and if the flavor is too strong, you can add a bit of honey and lemon to improve the taste.

3. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring compound of magnesium sulfate that is derived from a spring in Epsom, Surrey, from which it gets its name. Epsom salt is a hugely popular natural remedy because it can be used for a wide variety of things, from relieving pain and cramping, improving circulation, regulating blood sugar and removing blackheads to washing pots and pans, removing splinters and fertilizing plants.

The benefits of Epsom salt come from the absorption of magnesium sulfate through the skin, either by taking an Epsom salt bath or soak, or making an Epsom salt paste and applying it directly to the skin. Epsom salt boasts such health benefits like improved sleep, reduced inflammation, faster wound healing, treatment of skin conditions like athlete’s foot and the removal of toxins from the body.

Epsom salt also has the ability to improve moods and relieve tension and anxiety. Magnesium aids the body in the conversion of enzymes into serotonin, the feel-good chemical that induces relaxation and happiness. Magnesium also helps relieve the body of excess water, and is an effective treatment for water retention.

Add one or two cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak in it for at least 10 minutes. You can also add diuretic essential oils like rosemary or lavender to further enhance the benefits. Epsom salt should be avoided by those who are pregnant, have cardiovascular issues or high blood pressure, or those with any open wounds.

4. Lemon Juice

Lemons are an extremely popular, extremely healthy citrus fruit. They’re native to Asia and belong to the citrus family, alongside limes, citron, grapefruit, pomelo and oranges. Lemons are used frequently throughout various cultures, both for medicinal and culinary purposes. Lemon juice especially has become a popular health tonic, and boasts such benefits like prevention of kidney stones, relieving sore throats, supporting weight loss, reducing fever and balancing the pH levels in the body.

Lemons are very low in calories, yet very high in vitamin C, and were used by sailors like Christopher Columbus to avoid scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C. Other vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and thiamin are also found in lemons. Lemons contain phytonutrients known as flavonoids that provide a wide range of antioxidant effects by scavenging harmful free radicals that cause damage to the cells in the body.

Lemon juice contains a wide array of health benefits. Drinking it daily can improve digestive function and support a healthy immune system, while giving a natural energy boost. It’s alkalizing, low in sugar, and contains pectin; a dietary fiber that helps you feel fuller for longer.

Lemon juice is an effective treatment for water retention due to its diuretic properties. Drinking a glass full of warm water with the juice of half a lemon first thing every morning can help kick-start the metabolism and flush out excess fluid. If the taste is too sour, add one tablespoon of honey for flavor.

5. Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are a popular spice native to the Mediterranean and found throughout Europe, China, India and Turkey. They come from the fennel, which is a perennial herb that belongs to the same family as parsley, dill and cumin. Fennel and fennel seeds have been used in different cultures, like Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and Greek to treat things like indigestion, flatulence and irregular menstruation, to relieve colic in newborn babies and increase breastmilk in nursing mothers.

Fennel seeds contain beneficial minerals like copper, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and selenium, and essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Fennel seeds have carminative properties, which can reduce bloating and gas, and can also act as a laxative to promote healthy bowels.

Fennel is rich in flavonoids like quercetin, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It provides good quality protein, which keeps the digestive system running smoothly. Fennel seeds can aid detoxification in the body and help flush out the excess water that causes swelling and retention.

Fennel is easy to grow in your own backyard, and fennel seeds can be easily purchased from a grocery store. To use fennel seeds for water retention, you can brew your own fennel tea by putting one teaspoon of seeds into a cup of boiling water and allowing it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid out and drink the water. Make this tea three times a day until improvement is seen.

6. Nettle

Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, doesn’t sound like something that would contain many particular health benefits. Its sharp leaves can irritate the skin, but it’s been used for thousands of years to treat many different conditions like hay fever, allergies, arthritis, asthma, gout, sore throat, gum disease, kidney stones, and even dandruff.

Nettle has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, astringent, anti-allergenic, decongestant and galactagogue properties, among many more. Nettle is thought to potentially lower heart rate and blood pressure, boost immunity, support the metabolic system, aid detoxification of the body, improve energy levels, prevent diabetes, relieve inflammation and improve circulation. It contains essential vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Nettle leaves can act as a diuretic, which helps to eliminate toxins, relieve water retention and swelling. They’re commonly brewed into tea, and can also be turned into oil and applied as a topical ointment. To avoid being affected by the stinging leaves, boil the leaves first to neutralize the hairs that cause irritation.

Brew nettle tea by adding three or four teaspoons of dried root or leaves to a cup of hot water. You can drink up to four cups per day, but if you are pregnant, it’s best to avoid using it. Occasionally, nettle can cause allergies, so begin with a low dose and raise it slowly each day.

7. Cranberry Juice

Cranberries, scientifically known as Vaccinium macrocarpon, are a fruit that is native to North America, and have been used in Native American culture for medicinal and culinary purposes for many years. Cranberries also grow throughout Europe, though it is a smaller fruit and is better known as an English moss berry. Cranberries are related to blueberries and bilberries, and are usually juiced rather than eaten raw, due to their sour taste.

Cranberry juice has a wide range of health benefits like relieving urinary tract infections, treating gum disease, preventing tooth decay, promoting cardiovascular health, soothing respiratory infections and supporting strong bones. Cranberry juice is rich in organic acids like quinic, malic and citric acid, which have antibacterial properties, as well as essential vitamins and minerals like manganese, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid.

Cranberries contain phytonutrients like phenolic acids, anthocyanins and flavonoids, which provide a huge amount of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Cranberry juice is a natural diuretic, and can provide minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, which can help regulate fluid levels in the body.

You can drink cranberry juice daily for relief from water retention, but make sure it’s the unsweetened variety because cranberry juice can often contain large amounts of sugar from artificial sweeteners. If you don’t mind the sharp taste, you can eat them raw for even more benefits, but be careful not to overdo it. The acidity found in raw cranberries can damage enamel on the teeth and cause heartburn.

8. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils derived from plants and flowers to treat psychological and physical issues. While the term ‘aromatherapy’ may not have been around for very long, the practice itself dates back thousands of years. Aromatherapy has been commonly used throughout various cultures like Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and even Mayan.

Different aromatherapy oils can treat different health issues. Eucalyptus oil can treat pimples, the common cold, sinusitis and symptoms of influenza. Chamomile can treat hay fever, acne, arthritis and digestive problems. Lavender can relieve headaches, depression and insomnia, and peppermint can treat nausea, headaches and indigestion. Aromatherapy oils contain many medicinal properties, like antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antimicrobial, expectorant and sedative.

The essential oils used in aromatherapy are absorbed into the body either through inhalation or topical application. As such, aromatherapy is often used in conjunction with massage therapy and other holistic treatments. Aromatherapy can also help get rid of excess water from the body, due to the diuretic properties of many essential oils.

To use aromatherapy for water retention and swelling, add a few drops of essential oil to massage oil or body lotion, and then gently massage the affected areas upwards towards the heart. You can also add a few drops to your nightly bath. Choose essential oils with diuretic properties like juniper berry, lavender, geranium, rosemary, or grapefruit.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apples. Its popularity has risen over the past few years to become one of the most popular natural remedies, with purported health benefits like reducing high blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure, aiding weight loss, curing dandruff and treating acne.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used as shampoo, to treat fleas in animals and as a household cleaning product. The best apple cider vinegar contains ‘mother’, a jelly-like substance made up of proteins, enzymes and good bacteria, and it’s believed to be the source of apple cider vinegar’s many nutrients.

Apple cider vinegar contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium, manganese and selenium, as well as other active ingredients like malic acid, acetic acid and pectin. Potassium deficiency contributes to edema and water retention, and the high levels of potassium found in apple cider vinegar can help remedy this.

Add one teaspoon of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink twice a day. You can slowly increase the amount of apple cider vinegar until you’re adding two tablespoons to a glass. It’s important to always dilute apple cider vinegar, because drinking it straight can damage tooth enamel and cause irritation to the throat.

10. Onion

Onions are a hugely versatile vegetable that is consumed all over the world. They’re a member of the lily family and are scientifically known as Allium cepa. Onions have been a food source for centuries, and have also been used for medicinal purposes for just as long. Native Americans would use onion to treat colds and insect bites, in Chinese culture they were used to warm the body and induce perspiration, and in Europe, they were even used as currency.

Onions have been used to help loosen congestion, relieve gas, calm an upset stomach, stimulate the appetite, lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood sugar levels and improve the circulatory system. Onion juice has also been used topically, to treat bacterial and fungal infections, remove warts, stimulate hair growth and relieve earaches.

Onions contain high levels of antioxidants like anthocyanins, which give red onions that deep reddish-purple color, and quercetin, which is thought to potentially protect against heart disease and cancer. Onions also contain biotin, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, folate and more.

Onions are diuretics, and adding them to your diet can help reduce fluid retention. Onions are best eaten raw as cooking them can destroy the beneficial enzymes, but eating them in any form is better than not eating them at all.