Water retention is the broad term used to describe an abnormal build-up of fluid in the body.
The term is often used interchangeably with the terms ‘fluid retention’.
The human body is comprised about 65-75% water, so we need to continually consume fluids in order to maintain this balance.
But a build-up of too much fluid in the body’s tissues can lead to problems.
Water retention typically occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in one or a few parts of the body.
Physical symptoms associated with water retention can include swelling, often around joints; a bad cough; a severe headache or problems with stiffness and weight gain.
The reasons for this fluid build-up can range from an underlying injury around a joint space, such as a badly twisted knee, ankle or elbow to more serious conditions.
Some diets overly rich in salt, can also lead to increased water retention.
Here the fix can be simply a case of reducing and monitoring salt intake in cooking and by being more observant of ingredient labels.
The active ingredient in most water retention supplements are plants from the Asteraceae Compositae family. These includes extracts from flowering plants like dandelions.
This plant family has been part of traditional herbal medicine for hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of years, in both eastern and western herbalist traditions.
The active extract in the Holland and Barrett ‘HRI Water Balance Tablets is derived from the dandelion herb. It also includes extracts from the Uva-ursi leaf and Buchu leaves. This product is used to relieve the symptoms of mild water retention, based on traditional use only.
Uva-ursi is a plant which is naturally found in the wilds of northern Europe and north America. It has many names including the colloquial names of ‘bearberry’, and ‘kinnikinnick’.
Buchu leaves are derived from three related plants of the same name, a species native to South Africa, as part of the fynbos plant kingdom.
These herbs continue to be researched by scientists interested in their apparent diuretic effects.
A diuretic is a substance that causes the body to flush more water through the kidneys as urine. Other diuretics include caffeine and alcohol. Overconsumption of diuretics can be dangerous and it important not to mix diuretic medicines.
Other so-called ‘water pills’ such as the Herbal Classics Water Retention Tablets use similar blends of natural ingredients.
This product is used to relieve the symptoms of mild water retention, based on traditional use only. Adults should take 2 tablets, twice a day, after meals.
Any ingredient that can be considered a diuretic should be taken with care and it is important to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging.
It is also important keep hydrated by drinking water and other non-diuretic beverages.
Water also aids with digestion and should not be removed from your diet.
Every ingredient, no matter how pure or natural, has the risk of interaction with other medicines or the chance that one might have a less desirable reaction.
If you have an existing diabetes, kidney inflammatory condition, or if you suffer from any obstructive or inflammatory disease then it is best to speak to your primary care doctor before taking any new traditional herbal medicine.