Cathy Schram

Natural Diuretics

Fingernails & Health

Q: I feel like I have been retaining a lot of water lately. Are there any natural diuretics that may help?

A: Yes. There are actually a number of herbs that are classed as diuretics. There are many reasons you may be retaining water. Tissues hold water when they are damaged through inflammation, in which case, anti-inflammatory herbs may reduce swelling and aid in the repair. It could be hormone related or a problem with lymphatic drainage and kidney function. In this case you would want to take herbs that stimulate the kidneys. Some good choices are juniper berries, buchu and uva ursi. However, you do not want to use these herbs if the kidneys are inflamed. The other type of herbal diuretics nourish and improve kidney function without stimulation. These would include cornsilk, nettles, goldenrod and horsetail. They really help the kidneys filter waste much more effectively.
If it is just a matter of occasional bloating, I would recommend a product that contains a combination of some of the herbs that I mentioned.

Believe it or not, but drinking more water, eating celery and using sea salt will also be helpful.

Q. I have heard that your fingernails can help determine if you are lacking certain nutrients. Can you go over some of the symptoms?

A: You are right. Nail changes can indicate a number of problems in the body. Following are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Weak, brittle nails – May be lacking in silica, minerals, Vitamin A or calcium
  • Splitting/vertical ridges – Lack of HCI in the stomach (digestive issues)
  • Horizontal ridges – May indicate anemia. Add some iron.
  • White spots on nails – Often a zinc deficiency
  • Dark and/or thin, flat spoon-shaped nails – May have a Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Clubbed, blue or purple – Poor circulation
  • Nails separated from the nail bed – May be a thyroid disorder

Any major changes to the nails should be reported to your health care practitioner as there could be a more serious underlying problem.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.
Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.