Diuretics help your body release extra water through your urine to reduce water retention. Since prescription diuretic medications may lead to side effects, herbal supplements may be worth considering as alternatives. Fresh peppermint leaves and peppermint oil may have some benefits as a diuretic, but you should consult your doctor if you suffer from water retention and before using herbal supplements.
Overview of Peppermint
Peppermint grows in Europe and North America. You can use the leaves to make tea, or in recipes such as lamb with mint, mint-flavored yogurt sauce or fruit salads with mint garnishes. Common uses of peppermint oil as a dietary supplement include for the treatment of headaches, muscle pain and symptoms of indigestion, such as stomach pain and nausea. Peppermint may be effective in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint, which is a diuretic, according to Encyclopedia.com.
Background on Diuretics
Diuretics relieve water retention by encouraging your body to release extra sodium, accompanied by water, in your urine. This is important because too much water in your body increases your blood pressure and places stress on your kidneys. Your doctor may also recommend diuretics for heart failure, edema and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Thiazides, loop diuretics and potassium-sparing diuretics are common classes of prescription diuretics. Peppermint may have diuretic properties, and may improve symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome, according to the University of Maryland.
Peppermint can act as a diuretic if you use it as part of a healthy diet to prevent or reduce bloating due to water retention. It is important to stay hydrated, and peppermint tea counts toward your daily fluid recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids per day. A high-sodium diet has an anti-diuretic effect, and fresh peppermint is very low in sodium, with only 1 milligram per 2-tablespoon serving. Keep in mind that some conditions may require prescription diuretics rather than simple dietary modifications to maintain a healthy fluid balance in your body.
Potential side effects of prescription diuretics include dizziness, thirst, higher blood sugar or cholesterol, gout and menstrual irregularities. Peppermint does not cause these effects, but you may be allergic to mint or experience heartburn when you take peppermint oil, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. If you are trying to lose weight, diuretics, or water pills, are not a healthy long-term solution because they only help you lose water weight. The only way to lose body fat is to eat fewer calories than you expend.
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.