A diuretic is a substance that removes fluid from the body. Diuretics are very useful for things like losing weight, easing the discomfort of PMS, or lowering blood pressure. There are several herbs that work as natural diuretics. These are usually gentler than many prescription diuretics. Today I’m discussing two popular herbs that have been used for hundreds of years. They are Dandelion and Hibiscus.
The French called Dandelion ‘pis-en-lit’, which literally means water in the bed. The leaves help remove excess fluid from the body by increasing urine production. Dandelion is easy to use. The leaves and roots can be made into a tea, or you can use capsules. The tea can be purchased loose or in tea bags. You can also use dandelion for culinary purposes and pick the leaves fresh for salads or soups. Roasting the root makes it into a coffee substitute. Some folks even make wine from dandelions, though I’m dubious about the wine being a diuretic.
Do not use dandelion if you are pregnant or nursing. There has not been enough research to determine its safety. If you are allergic to ragweed, daises and marigolds you might want to skip using dandelion.
Hibiscus lowers the level of oxidation in cells. Oxidation can cause high blood pressure. Hibiscus can lower blood pressure as a diuretic by increasing the elimination of sodium without affecting the potassium levels. Potassium is important in balancing out sodium in the body. The ratio of potassium to sodium is very important in regulating blood pressure.
Hibiscus is popular as a tea. It is a sour tea, so you may want to use a sweetener of your choice. It is available in tea bags or loose. It is also available as an extract if the tea has too much ‘zing’ for your taste.
Hibiscus is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. There is some evidence that it may cause miscarriage. Hibiscus may lower blood sugar levels, so diabetics be careful. If you wish to use any herb be sure to talk to your health care practitioner first.
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