There has been a lot of information in the news recently about herbs that can be used to help you lose weight.
There are a number of products that take these herbs and combine them with other ingredients producing so-called fat busting formulas. A few examples are:
- green tea
But do they really work? Are they safe?
Following are 2 natural weight loss herbs that are safe, and 2 that are not…
Unsafe Weight Loss Herbs
Evidence indicates that some stimulant or thermogenic herbs which increase the body’s metabolism should be avoided because they have potentially fatal side effects.
One of these herbs is ephedra — which, as you’ve probably heard on the news, people have died from the side effects (mainly cardiac side effects after they ingested this herb).
Other products that should be avoided are products commonly called diet teas that contain herbs such as cascara, buckthorn, senna, aloe and rhubarb root. They can really mess up your intestines if you use them too much, even causing your intestines not to work without a laxative stimulating them.
Hoodia (also known as Hoodia Gordonii) is another potential weight loss herb that has been around for awhile. Most of us have seen commercials for different products with this herb on TV and in the news.
Hoodia suppresses the appetite, which gives it a great deal of appeal as a weight loss product. This herb is indigenous to the desert areas of Africa and is one that has been used by the Kalahari San Bushmen for centuries.
It works by stopping the mechanism in the brain that tells you when you are hungry. There is little to no evidence stating whether or not Hoodia Gardonii is safe, or even if it actually helps people lose weight.
Those who are diabetic should not take Hoodia because it fools the brain into thinking the body’s sugar levels are fine. If someone is diabetic it’s possible that the herb could trick the body into the thinking it doesn’t need to eat when it does and sugar levels could fall dangerously low.
So now that you know what weight loss herbs are probably not safe and which ones you should probably not use… which ones are safe to take to help with weight loss? There are two!
Weight Loss Herbs That Are Safe
One herb that is safe to use is cayenne, providing you don’t have a problem with spicy foods.
Cayenne is a stimulant and thermogenic herb that can safely increase your body’s metabolism making it easier for you to lose weight.
Just sprinkle a little bit of cayenne on your food and it will help to suppress your appetite. It increases the production of epinephrine and norepinephrine, and it speeds up the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates as well. People with heartburn, gastritis or ulcers should approach using cayenne cautiously, because it may worsen your condition.
Another herb that is safe to take for weight loss is green tea. Green tea has a lot going for it in terms of weight loss.
It burns fat because of the high concentrations of catechin polyphenols which work with other chemicals to increase levels of thermogenisis and fat oxidation. This means it causes heat to be created in the body, which then burns fat.
Green tea also has the effect of helping to control glucose levels by causing carbohydrates to be released more slowly than they would be without it. In addition, there is a powerful antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate and it is thought that this ingredient actually inhibits the movement of glucose in the fat cells.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing a weight loss herb is that any herb when combined with medications (and in some cases even certain foods) can have side effects. It’s always a good idea to check with a naturopathic doctor before starting a weight loss plan that includes herbs. That way, you can be certain to choose not only a safe weight loss herb, but the one which is best for you.
My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.