3 Herbs for Weight Loss Support

RYT 500 By Amy Jirsa
RYT 500
Amy Jirsa, LMT, is a master herbalist, E-RYT 500 yoga teacher, forager, and writer from Maine. She is the author of Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs with Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More and the founder of Quiet Earth Yoga.
Medical review by Heather Moday, M.D.
Allergist & Immunologist
Heather Moday, M.D. is the founder of the Moday Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine in Philadelphia, where she practices both traditional medicine and integrative medicine.
3 Herbs for Weight Loss Support

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Okay, so I don’t need to tell you what a huge issue weight loss is, nor do I need to tell you that there are countless factors to take into consideration when deciding the best approach to weight loss. For example, your activity level, current state of health, whether you have a parasite or yeast (Candida) overgrowth, or a glandular dysfunction.

That said, I’ll give you the good news. Herbs are powerful, multi-taskers. They work for you on many levels: herbs can fight fatigue, treat overgrowth in your GI tract, boost your metabolism, and add flavor to your foods so that they are more interesting (and you won’t desire to eat as much in order to be satisfied).

A few realistic notes to keep in mind:

Firstly, with age your metabolic rate drops. This is just the truth of the matter. The hormonal changes that occur with age cause  a decrease in your ability to burn fat and build muscle. That doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight as you get older It just means that there is no easy fix and no miracle product that will do it for you. 

Secondly, true and permanent weight loss is a whole body and lifestyle change. Your attitude, nutrition, sleeping and exercise habits must change in order to change your body. Can certain herbs help? You bet. Will they do it for you? No way. If you have a lot of weight to lose, talk to your doctor first to make sure that there is nothing else that would be preventing weight loss.

Finally, if you let it, this can be a joyous journey of transformation. Don’t focus on the end goal. Let each minute and each day be a destination in and of itself. It’s not going to be fast or necessarily easy, but it can be exciting, challenging, and revolutionary to your overall well-being.

1. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)

Cinnamon is a pretty remarkable herb—it helps to stabilize and regulate blood sugar, slowing the absorption of food so that you’re full for longer periods of time with the same amount of, or fewer, calories. It adds a sweet flavor to foods, which can help discourage cravings. Cinnamon (Ginseng, too) also helps with fatty liver disease, can make you more insulin sensitive and lowers LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol.

Now, a note: cinnamon won’t necessarily cause your body to release stored fat or increase metabolism. What it does, however, is normalize the burning and digestion of fat and improving glucose metabolism  This can make a huge difference in your weight loss efforts.

Cinnamon is also anti-fungal and may help to kill off parasites and yeast overgrowth, otherwise known as Candida. Ridding your body of these unwelcome creatures is paramount to permanent weight loss. Here’s why: parasites need fuel, like easily digested sugars, to reproduce. They will cause their host to have intense sugar cravings and a desire to overeat. Also, the body will try to rid itself of these freeloaders, so if it’s spending energy on that, it’s not going to have much left for metabolizing fat.

Side note: though it is most likely safe, cinnamon can be a common food allergy food . In addition large amounts of Cassia Cinnamon may be harmful for people with liver disease.

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2. Garcinia (Garcinia cambogia):

Garcinia is a berry, usually found in herbal weight loss supplements, although you can find the whole fruit supplement as well. This berry has a good reputation as an appetite suppressant and may prevent the body from making and storing fat. It’s also the source of the extract hydroxycitric acid (HCA), commonly found in weight loss formulas such as CitriMax.

Garcinia is not a stimulant. Research seems to show that garcinia can block an enzyme that converts carbohydrates into body fat.

There are many ways to take this herb. Over-the-counter weight loss supplements usually offer HCA in dosages of 250 to 1,000 mg 3 times daily. However, I would recommend finding a garcinia extract (in capsule or tincture form), which utilizes the whole fruit (and not just the HCA component). Why use the whole fruit? Well, first, it’s a whole food and herbalists will always recommend you take an herb in its full, unadulterated form. Herbs are designed so that all of their parts work together.

Side note: Clinical studies confirm that HCA is generally safe but it may interfere with certain medications such as blood thinners, antidepressants, allergy medications and statins.

3. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus):

In order to lose weight permanently you must make exercise part of of lifestyle.  My recommendation? Walking and yoga, which offers cardio work, flexibility and strength training all in one class. If you are new to working out or have a lot of stress in your life. try the adaptogenic herb, Siberian Ginseng Adaptogens help the body adapt to the stress of change, both physical and mental. Siberian Ginseng is not to be confused with Panax Ginseng which although an adaptogen as well has different properties. Siberian Ginseng may  however, give you more access to stored energy, make you less tired and, therefore, more likely to stick to a new routine. Try capsules or a tincture, following recommended doses (and remembering that these doses are designed for a 150lb adult, so adjust accordingly). For optimum results, take ginseng in an on-again, off-again fashion (i.e. one month at a time, take a two-week respite from the herb, then repeat).

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Keep in mind:

If you were to Google “herbs for weight loss,” you’d be inundated and overwhelmed with results for many supplements. I don’t argue that there are other herbs out there to support your weight loss efforts. However, the three herbs I’ve compiled here are, in my opinion, the most effective. The natural world is of immeasurable support to our weight-loss goals. Not only does nature give us herbs which are healthy, safe and filled with nutrition, nature also gives us foods that are great for natural weight loss and a free and ready-made gym. Get outside, breathe, walk, run, climb a tree or a mountain, pick flowers, meditate. Find fulfillment in the world around you. Changing your surroundings can change your mind, and changing your mind can change your body.

Want to learn more about adding natural ? Check out the 5 Supplements We Became Obsessed With This Year.

Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach! Enroll today to join our upcoming live office hours.

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