Ask the Doctor: What are the best natural diuretics to relieve edema?

Asparagus is a natural diuretic that has strong detoxification effects

DEAR DR. RONA: My brother has been suffering from swollen feet and legs for several months, and finally went to the doctor. He was prescribed some strong diuretics which he is now taking.  Problem is: The drugs are causing frequent urination, and he is feeling quite dehydrated.  Question: Are there natural alternatives to prescription diuretics which can help to alleviate the edema in feet and legs?

ANSWER: Edema can be the result of numerous causes including heart disease and kidney disease. It can also be caused by inflammation from numerous causes including trauma, arthritis, allergies and infections. So before using diuretics to rid the body of excessive fluid it’s important to determine the cause.

Most prescription diuretics can cause depletion of important minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. In the long term, unless supplemented, these minerals can become deficient and lead to a worsening of one’s general health.

Prescription diuretics can cause fatigue, weakness, frequent urination, dehydration, muscle cramps, dizziness and skin rashes. Some diuretics can cause liver and kidney problems, worsen gout symptoms, elevate blood sugar levels, and risk fetal health if used in pregnancy.

Some Natural Diuretics

There are many alternatives to prescription diuretics, and most are far safer but not necessarily as effective as the drug versions. What follows here is a list of some of these alternatives. Please consult a natural health practitioner to monitor and advise you on safe dosages. Combining natural with prescription diuretics could be risky so do consult your doctor about how to proceed safely.

Even with natural diuretics one can develop mineral deficiencies so monitoring those levels is important especially if used long-term. For example, if potassium levels go too low this can cause fatigue, weakness, constipation, muscle cramping and heart rhythm problems.

  • EXERCISE is a natural diuretic because it elevates heart rate and improves circulation, moving fluid around the body more efficiently.
  • WEIGHT LOSS can also help reduce excessive fluid in the body because at least 60% of body weight is made up of water.
  • REDUCE SODIUM (salt) intake to help reduce excess water in the body. Many processed foods and beverages are high sodium sources so be sure to read labels for sodium content.
  • GREEN TEA can be used as a natural diuretic and has been found to reduce high blood pressure in several studies.
  • BLACK TEA is another natural diuretic most likely due to its caffeine content.
  • PARSLEY has long been observed to reduce excessive water in the body and is considered to be an effective natural diuretic.

    DANDELION is an effective natural diuretic especially in liver diseases like cirrhosis. It can help the body rid excessive water from the abdomen.

  • HIBISCUS is a pleasant tasting herbal tea most often recommended for treating high blood pressure. It has a mild diuretic effect.
  • HAWTHORN BERRY is high in bioflavonoids and is generally helpful as a natural diuretic for cardiovascular and liver diseases. It is often recommended as a treatment for high blood pressure.
  • HORSETAIL is another herbal remedy long recognized as a natural diuretic especially for bladder and kidney conditions.
  • JUNIPER BERRY has also long been used as a natural herb for flushing excessive fluids from the body. One of its benefits is in the natural treatment of some chronic bladder infections.
  • CELERY has recently become popular – more specifically as a juice that works well as a natural diuretic for high blood pressure, digestive and liver health.
  • LEMON and lemon juice can be effective as diuretics especially in cases of kidney stones. Citric acid from lemons can help in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones.
  • BELL PEPPER also has diuretic properties but should only be used by people who don’t have a sensitivity to nightshade vegetables.
  • GARLIC AND ONION are two other vegetables with natural diuretic properties. Both are shown to be effective for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • WATERMELON is yet another natural diuretic food popular during the summer months.
  • CUCUMBER is another vegetable well known for its diuretic effects. It can help the body make more urine and flush out toxins from the body.

    GRAPE is loaded with antioxidants and has a good diuretic effect.

  • GINGER is effective as an anti-inflammatory herb used for digestive health and numerous chronic health concerns needing diuretic effects.
  • BERRIES of all kinds have diuretic effects as well as other health benefits for health and longevity.
  • ASPARAGUS is a natural diuretic that has strong detoxification effects. It is especially effective in protecting the liver against toxins.
  • STINGING NETTLE has natural diuretic properties and has most often been used to treat arthritis, allergies and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
  • WATERCRESS (Nasturtium) is another effective natural diuretic that increases urine production.
  • FENNEL is a licorice flavour-like herb that has also long been used as a natural diuretic. It’s commonly used as an herbal tea.
  • BLACK SEED OIL (Nigella sativa) is a very effective natural diuretic often recommended to treat asthma, liver disease, high blood pressure and numerous other health conditions.

If you are not too sure which of these natural diuretics to use for your current health concerns, consult a natural health practitioner for specific recommendations for you. If you are currently on any prescription diuretics, you might be able to reduce their dosages by adding natural diuretics but please consult your doctor about how to proceed.


Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc, offers consultations on nutrition and natural remedies in Thornhill. He has recently retired from medical practice as a Complementary and Alternative medical practitioner and now strictly offers nutritional consultations. He is the medical editor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing and has also published several Canadian bestselling books, including Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin. To see more of Dr. Rona’s articles, visit: and for appointments, please call (905) 764-8700; office located at: 390 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 19, Thornhill, Ontario

View Comments

  • As a medical professional, I recommend natural diuretics like dandelion, parsley, and hibiscus to alleviate edema. These options can promote urine production, reducing excess fluid retention in the body. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare provider before integrating them into your regimen, especially if you have existing medical conditions or are taking medications.

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