Although there is no “magic pill” that will make your excess weight melt away and stay gone (no matter what the commercials say) there are some herbs that can help you in your quest to lose the fat and reach a healthy weight. Some are mild diuretics and work by reducing water weight, others have a thermogenic effect and increase metabolism, and a few can even reduce your feelings of hunger.
Like anything else, herbs must be used properly to have the desired effect while minimizing the risks of unwanted side effects; but used with care, in conjunction with a healthy diet, they can help you lose weight safely and more easily.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelion is a mild diuretic, laxative, and digestive aid that enhances fat metabolism and helps to reduce cholesterol and enhance elimination of fatty acids through the digestive system. Dandelion also contains many of the vitamins and minerals depleted by the use of diuretics, minimizing the chance of imbalances. (Long term use can still cause electolyte depletion, as with any other type of diuretic.)
drink 3 to 4 cups of dandelion leaf tea a day, or
add fresh dandelion greens to salads or soups, or
15 to 30 drops of dandelion tincture per day
Garcinia cambogia (Malabar tamarind): Garcinia cambogia is a metabolic stimulant and appetite suppressant that burns fat and aids in digestion.
To use: Take 500 mg. three times a day, for no more than 8 weeks.
Gymnema Sylvestre: Gymnema will reduce sugar cravings and help balance blood sugar. It is thought to block glucose receptors in the gut as well, preventing the absorption of sugar.
Caution: Do not take gymnema if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, allergic to milkweed, or taking antidepressants or medication for diabetes. You should also avoid it if you’re taking St. John’s Wort, willow bark, or aspirin.
Psyllium (Plantago psyllium): Psyllium is a “bulking agent” that helps to reduce hunger and encourage elimination of waste.
To use: Mix 1 tsp. of psyllium powder into 2 cups of water or juice twice a day.
CAUTION: When using psyllium, you must drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day or severe constipation will result. It can cause upset stomach, bloating, and gas. Pregnant women and asthmatics should not use psyllium at all.
Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper is both a medicinal herb and a spice that serves to stimulate metabolism enabling your body to burn more calories. Capsaicin is one of the key properties that results in this fat loss. A study in the Netherlands revealed that participants who consumed a teaspoon of cayenne pepper prior to each meal ended up gorging on fewer fatty foods and fewer calories. Plus, capsaicin increases thermogenesis resulting in greater calorie burning.
Try these five herbs and see how they work for achieving your weight loss goals, but take heed of the warnings and cautions and consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle.