While herbs can assist or support weight loss, they should not be used as some in the past have used laxative remedies like Senna to increase the elimination of waste through irritation of the gut. Any bowel irritant will most likely cause cramping and other problems. A good balanced diet with healthy organic foods free from pesticides, combined with regular daily exercise and then, herbs to boost the body’s ability to process food, stimulate the organs of digestion and elimination of toxins are a must for healthy weight loss.
There are three actions that herbal remedies can support and assist the body in reducing fat stores and increase the chances of weight loss in individuals. They are the following:
- Increase the metabolic rate of the body through stimulation of important organs like the liver.
- Assist the body to flush fluids and thereby removing toxins from it.
- Stimulate digestion and the breakdown of fatty acids and control inflammation
Blood sugar management is also an important part of the weight loss regime. The following herbs are common natural weight loss aids, to be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and aerobic activity.
Herbal tea is one of the most pleasant ways to assist your body to lose excess weight. There are several very pleasant tasting teas that enhance weight loss with regular use.
Peppermint tea increases metabolic rate through stimulating the liver to burn fat rather than store fat.
Green tea is considered a popular choice to enhance weight loss. The presence of anti-oxidants called catechins in Green tea make this possible. The catechins decrease the chances of lipids being absorbed in the gut. An amino acid Theanine in green tea encourages dopamine release and then the tea drinker becomes happy and relaxed; then in this relaxed state you tend to eat less. Ginger instead of milk added to green tea improves digestion and adds flavor to your tea.
Cinnamon tea helps to balance the blood sugar and with a balanced blood sugar you are unlikely to have a large appetite and tend to use energy rather than store it.
Turmeric helps the body to break down and digest fatty acids and controls cholesterol and inflammation. It can be taken in tablet or powder form, as well as a tea. Natural honey is a good sweetener for the bitter taste in tea, but if weight loss is the aim, fresh turmeric root can be combined with peeled and grated fresh ginger root and a cinnamon stick combined in a saucepan with two cups of water and two orange quarters and a pinch of sea salt.
Dandelion root is a very common herb that grows freely in many gardens and is often regarded as a weed. Its diuretic increases production of fluids particularly bile and it flushes the system removes many toxins and aids in fat digestion. It is rich in potassium, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and the A, D, C and B vitamin groups. A very versatile herb it can be chopped up raw and added to a salad. The leaves can be cooked and tossed in fresh butter with some salt or pepper to taste. It can also be drunk as a coffee or steeped as tea. Dandelion root is a detoxifier and rids the body of poisons that cause constipation, joint inflammation, and disorders of the urinary tract.
Ginseng has been touted as a herb that is effective for controlling weight as it tends to give the user energy and stamina and in making one more active, you expend more calories. Modern research continues to support its use for both for weight loss and diabetic control. Ginseng, an adaptogen, is known to make the body cells less able to store fat and enhances the body’s ability to deal with stress. Both the leaves of the plant and the root are used. The more common form of ginseng used is the powder or tablet form.
Milk Thistle is an important herb for liver health. Like Dandelion, it is a naturally occurring garden herb. The seeds are most useful and have a gentle laxative effect and are an anti-inflammatory which promotes liver health. As the liver is an organ that cleanses the blood of impurities, a healthy liver is a must for the slim, healthy well-functioning body.
All herbs listed here should be used under the competent guidance of a naturopath or with a trained herbalist’s advice if they are to be taken regularly for chronic or acute conditions and for weight loss.