Health advantages of natural diuretics vs. water pills.Credit: Farmer T (

Natural diuretics as well as drug diuretics, also referred to as water pills, work by forcing the kidneys to increase urine output. Individuals experiencing water retention, or edema, generally take diuretics to get rid of excess liquids. Additionally, persons on weight loss programs are sometimes encouraged to take water pills to promote water weight loss. While water pills might help your body with water retention, many ignore the unpleasant side effects that prescription diuretics often produce. For this reason, you might find it advantageous to consider the differences between natural diuretics vs. water pills. 

Water Pills and Loss of Minerals

Because the body loses minerals through the urine, loss of minerals is a major side effect when taking diuretics on an ongoing  basis. This is why patients taking water pills often experience leg cramps, muscle aches and fatigue, among other symptoms. 

Just as the body needs vitamins to work efficiently, it also needs minerals. If you are like most people, you likely associate minerals with calcium and strong bones. However, minerals play a crucial role in most processes in your body. Calcium not only helps with bone density, it also affects hormone levels. Another example is magnesium, another important mineral. This mineral affects the heart, kidneys, muscles and brain function. 

Research indicates that a magnesium deficiency is related to a number of chronic disorders such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart problems, kidney disease and immune system disorders, among other conditions. 

Another important mineral, which is lost through the urine, is potassium. Potassium plays a major role in controlling blood pressure, heart rythym and maintaining water balance in the body. Increasing urine output also increases potassium loss, which could lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, concentration problems, weakness, and a number of other symptoms and disorders.

While water pills, or drug diuretics, efficiently do their job and rid the body of extra liquids, they do nothing to replenish lost minerals. This is why a person who takes water pills on an ongoing basis often develops other health conditions. All body organs need nutrition, which includes vitamins and minerals, to operate. When minerals are depleted, organs suffer and eventually stop working. The result is organ failure and death.    

Natural Diuretics and Their Healing Properties

One difference between natural diuretics and water pills is that the first are generally natural sources of minerals and vitamins. They nourish the blood and organs while increasing urine output. Natural diuretics generally contain healing and cleansing properties, which cannot be said of water pills.  

For example, parsley, a strong diuretic, is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It enhances the immune system, improves kidney function and works as an anti-inflammatory.  

Another example of a natural diuretic is dandelion. It is often an ingredient in edema home remedies and water retention formulas. Besides promoting increased urination, it builds the blood and supports the liver. It also contains antimicrobial properties and improves liver function. 

Other examples of natural diuretics include the following:

  • Burdock root
  • Cilantro
  • Horsetail
  • Corn silk

Warning About Natural Diuretics and Water Pills

Excess water retention is often a symbol of an underlying health condition. If you chronically suffer from water retention, or swelling, treating it with natural or prescription diuretics will only mask the problem. Your best option is to seek qualified medical help. Kidney disease, lymphatic blockages, lack of circulation and heart disease often cause water retention. You will need to address the root cause to prevent future complications.

Please note that the information in this article is for informational purposes only. If you are currently taking diuretics and have any concerns about their side effects, consult your doctor regarding alternative options. Consider discussing the significant differences between natural diuretics vs. water pills with your doctor.   

Copyright © 2011 Ana Jackson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part constitutes plagiarism, is illegal and strictly prohibited.


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