3 Herbs for Weight Loss Support
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 help 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. As always, it's always optimal to consult with a health care provider before starting a new supplement routine and to help consider what might be right for you.
1. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
Cinnamon is a pretty remarkable herb—it can help to stabilize and regulate blood sugar1 and can slow the absorption of food2 so that you’re full for longer periods of time with the same amount of calories. It adds a sweet flavor to foods without added sugar, which can help discourage cravings. Cinnamon (Ginseng, too) can also help with fatty liver disease and can make you more insulin sensitive.
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.
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.
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 suppressant3 and may prevent4 the body from making and storing fat.
Garcinia is not a stimulant. Research seems to show that garcinia can block an enzyme that converts carbohydrates into body fat4.
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.
While clinical studies confirm that HCA is generally safe, 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).
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.
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.