Herbal Medicine For Weight Loss

Herbal medicines can help you lose weight by controlling your appetite, boosting your metabolism, reducing your stress, and increasing your energy.

Herbs can help you lose weight, but there's no one-size-fits-all approach. To figure out which herbal remedies will best support you, you need to be like the herbalists of the past. They used experimentation and careful observation to determine just what plants would meet their needs. Lucky for you, you don't have to go foraging in the woods for leaves and roots. You can find what you need at your nearest health food store or on the Internet.

When deciding which herbs to try, think about what sort of herbal support you need. Is your hunger out of control? Are you feeling physically sluggish, constipated and bloated? Do you lack the mental and physical energy you need to stick with your diet and exercise regimen? Do emotions like anxiety or depression drive your eating? Are you raiding the refrigerator because you can't sleep? Any of these things can slow down your weight loss and all of them can be helped with herbs.

First you might look for something to suppress your appetite. Unfortunately, there aren't many herbs that trick the body into thinking it's full. Ephedra, which curbs hunger effectively, was banned in 2003 by the FDA because of its dangerous side effects. However, in April of 2005 a judge struck down this ban, so ephedra may become available again. Recently a new appetite suppressant has come onto the market: a cactus-derived substance known as hoodia gordonii. The Bushmen of the Kalahari have used it in the past to cut appetite during times of famine. Because of the difficulty in producing it, hoodia is very expensive.

After investigating appetite suppression, you might explore herbs to boost your metabolism. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that a slow metabolism can be revved up with thermogenic (heat-creating) spices like cinnamon, ginger, pepper and cayenne. You can find teas combining these ingredients or just use them in your cooking. Some people find that these spices actually increase appetite. It's up to you to see how your particular body reacts. Caffeine offers a well-known metabolic pick-me-up. If you don't like the taste of coffee, try green tea. You'll benefit from its antioxidants along with the increased energy it brings you.

You might suffer from an underactive thyroid; this can slow metabolism significantly. Symptoms include feeling cold all the time and suffering from dry skin, sore muscles and weight gain. If you suspect this is your problem, try an iodine-rich therapy like kelp.

Sluggishness caused by constipation and inadequate digestion can slow your weight loss. Then you need to look to digestive aids. Common herbs like basil, fennel, and anise all support healthy digestion. Some herbs you may not have heard of that also improve digestion include cascara, buckthorn and senna. Cascara is particularly favored among herbal therapists and was known in the past as the "sacred root" because of its quickness in addressing constipation. Buckthorn, grown in northern Africa, western Asia and Europe, has been used since the 13th century. Senna was once prescribed by ancient Arabian physicians and remains widely used today. Dandelion, as well, is a popular laxative.



Some herbs work as diuretics: they make your body release excess water. If you feel bloated, try buchu or uva ursi. Buchu leaves, from a plant native to South Africa, have a pleasant peppermint fragrance. Uva ursi is sometimes called "bearberry" for its pink and red berries loved by bears.

Laxatives and diuretics are short-term solutions for controlling your weight. In the long term, you need to address the emotional factors that cause you to overeat and break your diet. Stress-related eating can be combated with herbs that relax and soothe. Pacific Islanders have used kava, a tranquilizer and sleep aid, for centuries. Valerian has been in use since the time of Ancient Greece. You might try a tea made with either one for times when you feel anxious and liable to overeat or for when insomnia drives you to the kitchen. You could also try chamomile, catnip or lemon balm, which are known for their relaxing properties.

If your problem is rather that you can't get motivated to exercise and stayactive, then you'll need a remedy that energizes you. Gingko increases blood flow to the brain at the same time it eases anxiety, so if you're feeling mentally fatigued and stressed at the same time, you might want to try it. Ginseng combats fatigue and weakness. Caffeine, in coffee or tea or cola nut, is an obvious choice. If you want to avoid caffeine, try a cup of energizing Peppermint tea.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of herbs to promote your weight loss. To make your task harder, they come in a variety of forms. Pills and capsules offer convenience and standardized dosages. Concentrated liquids known as extracts and tinctures provide fast relief. If you buy herb leaves or powders you can make teas and smoothies that satisfy your hunger and treat your weight loss challenges at the same time.

As you establish healthy lifelong eating habits, use the various herbal therapies that work best for you. You will need different herbal support at different times of the day and different phases of your diet. With careful experimentation and observation, you can find herbs to help you control your weight.

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