Water retention, also known as edema, occurs when the lymph system fails to remove excess fluids from the body and those fluids become trapped and cause swelling in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet. Edema has many causes, including heart problems, poor circulation, allergies, liver disease, vitamin deficiencies, kidney problems, and thyroid disorders, among many others. Symptoms of edema vary from person to person, but typically include weight gain, swelling, itching, aching, bloat, joint stiffness, and high blood pressure.
The key to preventing water retention is to stay hydrated, eat healthy, and get regular exercise so that your body will function properly and expel excess water naturally. You’re about to learn the most effective methods for treating and preventing edema from home. Let’s get started.
Garlic is a diuretic. It helps to release excess water and flushes toxins from the body. It also helps to lose weight by breaking the body fat which makes you slim and young. Use this herb regularly in cooking, in salads, soups, etc.
Method 1: Raw Garlic
- Eat 2-3 raw garlic cloves in the morning and at night.
- Be sure to chew thoroughly.
Method 2: Garlic Spreads
- Blend or grind fresh garlic to make a paste.
- Add melted butter and mix well.
- Spread on bread and enjoy.
- Or you can eat garlic bread
Method 3: Cooking with Garlic
- Add garlic to all your meals.
- It’s especially good in stir fries and soups, and on pizzas.
2. Diuretic Foods
Diuretic foods cause you to urinate more frequently. This helps release excess water, flush harmful toxins from the body, and lower blood pressure by restoring your body’s proper sodium/water balance. There are over-the-counter diuretic pills, but their effects are short-lived. Adding diuretic foods to your meals every day prevents water retention on a lasting basis. Consult your doctor before adding diuretic foods to your diet if you are using diuretic or anti – diuretic medication, and make sure to get plenty of potassium in order to replace what you loose due to frequent urination.
- Leafy greens
- Juniper berries
- Brussels Sprouts
Parsley is rich in anti-oxidants, iron, calcium, and B complex vitamins. It helps to inhibit the re-absorption of potassium and sodium, which allows excess water to leave the body. Parsley also helps to treat other problems urinary tract infection and kidney stones.
Method 1: Parsley Tea
- Add handful of fresh parsley to boiling water.
- Remove from heat and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain, pour in a cup, and drink.
- You can also use 2 teaspoons dried parsley in a teabag.
- Repeat 5-7 times daily.
- Note you can also use 2 teaspoons dried parsley or teabag instead of fresh parsely for 1 cup of water.
Method 2: Parsley Paste
Apply this paste on on water retention affected (swollen) parts of the body like joints, wrists, hands, ankles, legs, etc.
- Crush or blend fresh parsley to make a paste.
- Apply to swollen body parts.
- Leave on 30-45 minutes, then rinse off with water.
- Repeat twice daily to eliminate water retention.
4. Potassium-rich Foods
Lack of potassium in the body causes water retention, edema and weight gain. Potassium is essential to the proper function of the body’s cells, tissues and organs. It is an electrolyte which maintains the balance between sodium and water levels in the body. It stimulates the kidneys to flush waste and excess salt from the body.
Adding potassium rich foods in your diet help to get rid of the water retention.
Natural Potassium Rich Foods:
- Bell Peppers
- Sunflower Seeds
Many European countries use this to reduce fluid retention. Barley is a diuretic and it is safe to use during pregnancy to reduce swelling.
Method 1: Barley Juice
- Boil ¼ cup washed and un-peeled barely for 15-25 minutes.
- Strain and add 2-4 tablespoons of lemon or orange juice to it.
- Mix well and drink.
- Repeat daily to get rid of fluid retention.
Method 2: Barely Water
- Put 3 tablespoons barley in a cup and cover it completely with water.
- Let it soak overnight.
- In the morning, strain and drink.
- Soak 3 more tablespoons of barely during the day.
- Strain and drink before bed.
- Drink regularly until you get complete relief from water retention.
- Follow this twice a week to prevent reoccurrence.
6. Mixed Herbal Tea
Many herbs are effective diuretics, and this recipe mixes several herbs for maximum benefit. It is best to use fresh herbs. If you use dried ones, use 3 parts parsley to 1 part of each of the other herbs.
- 1 blackberry leaf
- 1 bunch parsley
- ½ teaspoon celery tops
- 1 chopped dandelion leaf
- 10 cherry stems
- ½ teaspoon corn silk
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon cough grass
- Place herbs in pot, pour 1 liter of boiled water, and boil.
- Cover with lid and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain and drink the tea throughout the day.
- Repeat this whenever you have the problem.
7. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion has many medicinal values to treat liver, kidney, heartburn, and digestive problems. It is a natural diuretic and it helps the kidneys flush toxins and excess salt and fluids from the body. It is also rich in calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and manganese to treat the fluid retention. Be aware that some people are allergic to dandelion and that it may cause gastric problems or negatively interact with lithium, diabetes drugs, or over-the-counter diuretics. Consult doctor before using this remedy.
- Boil water and pour it into a cup.
- Add 1 teaspoon fresh or dried dandelion leaves.
- Cover with lid and let steep 5-10 minutes.
- Strain and drink.
- Repeat 2-3 times daily to cure water retention.
8. Fennel Tea
Fennel is a spicy aroma herb contains anethole, a compound with many medicinal properties. It is a diuretic, and some studies suggest that it reduces systolic blood pressure, in turn helping the body release excess water and sodium through the kidneys thus prevents the development of toxins in the body. It also aids in proper digestion and relieves gas.
- Pour boiling water over 1 teaspoon fennel seeds.
- Cover it and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain and drink.
- Repeat 2-3 times daily to get rid of the problem.
- Note: you drink along with seeds but chew fennel seeds. Chewing these seeds improves better digestion and eliminates the retention process.
9. Corn Silk Tea
Corn silk, the threadlike strands that grow at the end of a corn stalk, is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamin K. It’s great for treating kidney disorders and urinary infections, and it reduces uric acid and water retention. As a natural diuretic, it eliminates toxins and waste. In addition to treating edema, it also helps with gout and arthritis. Consult a doctor before use as it may interact negatively with blood thinners.
- Add ¼ cup fresh corn silk or 2 teaspoons dried corn silk to boiling water.
- Remove from heat and let steep 5-10 minutes.
- Strain and drink.
- Repeat twice daily.
Drinking water may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s important to understand that the body often retains water because it is dehydrated. Proper hydration encourages the body to release excess water rather than store it up for later use. Water also helps the liver convert fat into energy. If you don’t drink enough water, kidney can’t flushes out waste from the body. Now it takes the help of liver which makes liver overworked. Liver can’t perform its vital function, and it can’t flush out toxins and other waste. Instead, they build up inside the body and cause bloating and swelling.
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
- Keep a large container of water with you at all times so you can drink whenever you’re thirsty.
- If you’re properly hydrated, you will be urinating frequently and your urine will be clear, not yellow. If it is yellow drink more water.
- Drink water whenever you feel Dizzy, weak, cramps, dry mouth, and headaches are all signs of dehydration.
- Talk with your doctor if you have liver and kidney failure problem as intake of more water will cause chronic liver and kidney problems.
11. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds are natural diuretics. They contain potassium, vitamin A, C and K, folic acid, iron, riboflavin, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorous, and zinc.
- Pour a glass of water into a pan and add 3 tablespoons coriander seeds.
- Boil until half of the water is vaporized.
- Remove from heat, let cool, and drink.
- Drink twice daily to get complete relief.
12. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a diuretic and it helps cleanse excess fluid and other toxins from the body, and it helps the kidneys function properly.
- Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon honey to cup of warm water.
- Stir well and drink.
- Repeat once a day for a week or two weeks to get rid of water retention.
- Note: You can drink by mixing parsley juice and lemon juice to treat water retention.
Cranberry is a natural diuretic. It is loaded with calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and it helps balance the body’s fluid levels and prevents water retention.
- Drink a cup of pure, unsweetened cranberry juice daily.
- Drink this until you get complete cure from water or fluid retention.
- Or take cranberry supplements.
14. Reduce Salt Intake
It is one of the causes of water retention. Intake of high amount of salt leads to sodium retention and results water retention. This further expands the extra cellular volume in the body. When you consume excessive amounts of salt, the body tries to dilute it by holding water around the cells and supplies more water to the bloodstream. Excess fluid and sodium lead not only to water retention, but to more serious problems like osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
Follow these tips to avoid salt
- Cook at home instead of eating out.
- Don’t keep the salt shaker on the table during meals.
- Avoid canned foods or veggies, sauces, soups, etc. which uses more salt as preservative to make it tasty.
- Avoid processed foods like potato chips, salted peanuts, etc. and junk food.
- If you’re female, avoid salt before menstruation as it leads to changes in hormones and results water retention in body.
- Ideal salt intake is about 2300mg per day. If you suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure, reduce intake to 1500mg per day.
Retention is caused when blood protein, albumin is too low. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, which holds salt and water inside blood vessels, preventing them from leaking out into tissues and causing swelling.
Eat a cup or two of Greek yogurt every day to get the protein and potassium your body needs. If you suffer from kidney problems or are having dialysis then take low protein diet and consult your doctor before starting a high-protein diet.
Aromatherapy stimulates the lymphatic system and encourages fluid drainage. Regular application of this will helps to prevent the water retention and cures many stress and health alignments.
- Add 20 drops each of cypress, juniper, and geranium essential oils to bath tub.
- Stir well and get in and soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Pat dry with soft towel.
- Repeat 2-3 times a week.
17. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar replenishes potassium and reduces sodium levels. It also balances the body’s pH level and prevents fluid retention.
- Mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink.
- Do this twice a day.
- Gradually work up to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per glass.
Process 2: For Water Retention In Legs
- Fill a small tub with equal quantities apple cider vinegar and water.
- Soak feet for 10-15 minutes.
- It also reduces foot odor.
18. Ice Packs
Ice packs reduce swelling. Those who suffer from diabetes or poor circulation should not use this method unless directed to by a doctor.
- Fill a Ziploc bag with ice cubes.
- Wrap it in a towel.
- Apply to swollen areas and leave on 10-15 minutes.
- If feet are swollen, soak them in ice water for 5-10 minutes.
- Follow this regularly to get rid of the problem
- Note: You can also you a bag of frozen veggies.
Onions cleanse and detoxify the body and blood. It also prevents the stones formation in kidneys. Although it has many medicinal benefits If you eat this excessively will cause bad breath.
- Add chopped onion in 4 cups of water.
- Boil for few minutes.
- Add pinch of salt.
- Let it cool for few minutes and strain in another bowl
- Drink a cup of juice to cure water retention.
- Repeat 3 times daily.
20. Comfrey-Coltsfoot Poultice
This method is great for pregnant women suffering from swollen feet.
- 2 ½ teaspoons comfrey
- 2 ½ teaspoons coltsfoot
- 5 cups water
- Pour water in a pan and bring this to boil.
- Now add comfrey and coltsfoot and boil for 5 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat and Let cool 10-15 minutes, then strain.
- Soak a clean cloth in the water and place it on swollen body part.
- Do this 3 times daily to get complete relief from swelling.
Nettle is a natural diuretic. For best results, drink nettle tea daily.
- Boil 1 cup of water and add 1 teaspoon nettle root powder.
- Let steep 10-15 minutes, then drink.
- Drink this 3 times a day to get fast results
22. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt draws excess fluids and harmful toxins out of the body. It soothes sore muscles and calms the nerves.
- Fill the bath tub with warm water and add 2 cups of epsom salt.
- Stir well and soak in the tub for 15-20 minutes.
- Repeat three times a week.
Tips to Prevent Water Retention
- Sugar increases insulin level in body which decreases the body’s ability to flush out the salt or sodium. Avoid sugar to get rid of retention.
- Drink rosemary, hawthorn, or meadowsweet tea 3 times daily.
- Get regular exercise prevents the water to store in unnecessary parts of the body.
- Running, bicycling, aerobics help to move the blood and excess fluid out from ankle.
- Eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones prevent other health problems including water retention.
- Keep hydrated, but avoid alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages.
- Avoid tight clothing which increases the swelling and makes you feel discomfort
- Prop up your feet whenever you’re relaxing on the couch. It shifts the gravity and drains fluid from the swollen limbs.
- Increase your intake of vitamin A, B1, B5, B6, C, and D which helps to decrease water retention.
- Try to avoid sitting for long periods. At the office, get up regularly and walk around or stretch.
- Certain medications like birth control pills and steroids can cause water retention. Talk to your doctor about switching to other birth control pills if yours causes water retention.
- Rosemary is an effective herb to treat the retention. Take 3 gms of this dried herb and steep it in a cup of boiling water for about 10 – 15 minutes. Strain and drink this to get relief from the problem. For more effective and quicker results, have this for 3 cups a day on daily basis.
- You can also use meadowsweet by preparing its infusion and drinking 3 – 4 cups everyday till you completely prevented this retention.
- Always use hawthorn which improves vascular tone. You can take this by infusing the herb for 20 minutes in hot water and drink this by straining the water for thrice a day on regular basis.
- Small changes in your diet and lifestyle at least till the problem get cleared.
- Consult your doctor immediately if swelling lasts more than a week or if you’re pregnant or if you have diabetes or any other serious health ailment as this can be a sign of any health problem.
Remember that although these remedies are natural and safe, results may vary from one person to another.
Have you tried any of these home remedies for water retention? Do you know of others we haven’t mentioned? Share your experience with us!
Hi everyone, this is Rajee!
I live the beautiful city of Baltimore, where my husband works.
I’m from India. I have been visiting India on and off for past few years and my mom was an inspiration for me to start this site. She has a wealth of knowledge on home remedies for a large number of health problems, and we grew up in an environment where frequent visits to the doctor just wasn’t logistically or financially feasible.
Despite this, she managed to raise a family of healthy kids, and my goal here at Home Remedies for Life is to pass on some of her knowledge of natural remedies.