Water retention is medically termed as edema. It is a condition in which excess fluid gets trapped under the body tissue which causes swelling on that particular part. This normally affects the ankles, hands, legs and feet. The problem of water retention arises when the lymph system fails to remove the fluids which lead to retention of these fluids in the body tissues.
Some factors that cause water retention are – heart problems, high sodium intake, poor blood circulation, vitamin deficiencies, lack of exercise, venous insufficiency, stress and anxiety, menstruation, hot weather, pregnancy, allergies, high blood pressure, kidney problems, liver disease, thyroid disorders, exposure to high altitudes, medications and oral contraceptives, and chronic lung disease.
The primary symptoms of edema are gaining oodles of weight. These symptoms can vary from person to person. Apart from swelling and aching of the affected body parts (usually it affects feet, ankles and hands); you may also feel stiff joints. It also causes weight fluctuations.
Home Remedies to Cure Water Retention
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice cleanses the excess fluid and toxins from the body. Take a cup of warm water and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to it. Sweeten it with a teaspoon of honey. Drink it once a day, for a week.
2. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds enhance the sodium and water output from the kidneys and prevent development of toxins in the body. Fill a cup with hot water and add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds to it. Cover it with a lid for 10 minutes, and then strain. Sip this fennel tea 3 times a day.
3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is loaded with a number of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium that balances the proper fluid level in the body. Just drink a cup of cranberry juice daily without adding any sweetener. This will accelerate the healing process. Alternatively, you can also have cranberry pills.
Aromatherapy stimulates the lymphatic system and encourages fluid drainage, which decreases water retention. Fill your bath tub with warm water and add 20 drops each of cypress, geranium and juniper essential oils. Now, soak in for 10 minutes. Do this thrice in a week.
5. Epsom Salt
Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt in lukewarm bathwater. Soak in for 15 minutes. Do this 3 times in a week. This will soothe your sore muscle, calm the nerves and relax your body.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar replenishes potassium in the body and reduces sodium levels. Simply add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Drink it two times a day. Moreover, you can increase its dosage by two tablespoons per glass.
- If you have water retention in your legs, then take equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar and soak your feet in this solution for 10 minutes. Besides, it also reduces foot odour.
Onion has blood cleansing properties that detoxify your body. Besides, it also prevents the formation of kidney stones. Boil four cups of water and add some raw onions to it. Add a pinch of salt. Afterwards, strain the solution. Sip 2-3 cups of this solution every day until you feel relieved.
Garlic is one of the best cures for water retention. Masticate a couple of garlic cloves (raw) every morning. You can also add garlic to your broths, soups, stir fries and gravies. Alternatively, spread raw garlic paste on your bread.
Bananas are loaded with high amount of potassium that eliminates fluid retention. So grab a few bananas and eat them plain. Alternatively, slice them on your cereal or prepare a smoothie.
If you don’t like banana, then munch on some raisins to alleviate water retention.
11. Ice Packs
When ankles puff up apply an ice pack, in order to bring them back to normal size. Fill ice cubes in a plastic bag with a zipper seal, wrap a light towel around the bag, and place it on to the affected area for five to ten minutes. A bag of frozen veggies also works well. In summers, dip legs (ankle-deep) into a tub filled with ice water.
Note – People who have diabetes or poor circulation in their feet should skip the ice bath, unless directed by any physician.
Too many rich treats may cause stomach to bloat. If you've overindulged and are witnessing the after-effects, treat your stomach with a cup of plain, low-fat yogurt that contains active cultures. The active cultures assist in digestion and increase good bacteria in the gut.
13. Coriander Seeds
Soak 3 tablespoons of coriander seeds in one glass of water. Boil them down till water reduces to half. Filter the solution. Wait until it cools down. Drink it twice a day.
Soak three tablespoons of barley in one glass of water. Leave it overnight. Strain the decoction and drink 2 glasses of this solution daily to reduce the water retention.
Herbal Remedies for Water Retention
15. Dandelion Root Tea
Dandelion has diuretic affect, which helps dump the retained water from the body. It is rich in potassium and magnesium, hence, reduces excess sodium levels from the body. Take one teaspoon of dried dandelion herb and soak it in a cup of hot water, for around 10 minutes. Afterwards, filter this infusion and drink it three times in a day. Alternatively, dandelion tincture or its supplements can also be consumed 1-3 times a day.
Note – Consult a physician before taking this herb.
16. Butcher's Broom
This herb is helpful for water retention which is caused by venous or lymphatic disorders. Have 300 – 450 mg of this herbal extract every day with vitamin C.
Take 3 grams of this dried herb and infuse them in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Filter this rosemary infusion and drink 3 cups in a day.
Prepare an infusion of meadowsweet and drink 3 – 4 cups in a day.
Hawthorn improves the vascular tone. Simply steep this herb for 20 minutes and strain the solution before drinking. Take thrice a day.
Parsley is full of diuretic properties, which provides respite from toxins and excess fluid from the body. Boil 2 teaspoons of dried parsley leaves in a cup of water. Then, steep it for 10 minutes. Drink this infusion 3 times a day. Moreover, you can add lemon juice to it.
- Alternatively, grind a handful of parsley leaves and add water to make a paste. Apply it on the swelling and wait for half an hour. Rinse off with water. Repeat it twice a day.
Nettle is a natural diuretic that prevents and reduces water retention. Simply boil a cup of water and add one teaspoon of nettle root powder. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Drink this tea three times a day.
22. Corn Silk
Brew fresh or dried corn silk in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and sip it to relieve the tissues from excess water retention.
23. Coltsfoot – Comfrey Poultice
Boil 5 cups of water. Add 2½ teaspoons of coltsfoot and comfrey to the hot water. Allow it to boil for extra 5 minutes and then remove it from the heat. Let it cool and strain. Dip a clean washcloth in this herbal solution and place it on the swollen areas. Repeat it 2-3 times a day.
24. Diuretic Herbal Tea
Place ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon corn silk, ½ teaspoon couch grass, ½ teaspoon celery tops, 10 cherry stems, 1 dandelion leaf (chopped), 1 blackberry leaf (chopped) and 1 bunch parsley in a large pot. Cover the herbal mixture with 1 liter boiling water. Steep it for 10 – 15 minutes. Sip it several times in a day.
- Limit your salt intake.
- Exercise regularly.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Consume more diuretic foods such as bananas, cucumbers, pineapple, cabbage, etc.
- Instead of three big meals, eat six small meals per day.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes.