Weight gain and obesity are a matter of concern for many. For some, it can be a constant battle to try to burn off the calories they take in through exercise and normal daily activities.
Genetics and hormonal fluctuations can contribute to weight gain or a person’s ability to lose weight. Other causes are inactivity, an unhealthy diet or eating habits, lack of sleep, excessive stress and certain medications. Even some medical conditions can lead to added weight.
Being overweight puts you at higher risk of developing a number of health problems, such as high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, sleep apnea, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and osteoarthritis.
A healthy diet and exercise program can help you manage your weight. At the same time, you can try some herbs to help lose weight.
Here are the top 10 herbs for weight loss.
Ginger can be effective in promoting weight loss. A 2012 study published in the Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental journal found that ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety. This prevents unnecessary snacking and compulsive eating of high-calorie foods.
In addition, ginger improves digestion and boosts your metabolism.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily.
- Chew small pieces of ginger between meals or add grated ginger to main dishes.
- You can also take ginger capsules, but only after consulting your doctor.
2. Green Tea
Drink green tea to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. The antioxidant called catechins in green tea stimulate the fat-burning process.
A 2014 study at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences found that mice fed a high-fat diet that also consumed decaffeinated green tea extract and exercised regularly experienced weight loss and significant health improvements. Researchers suggest that green tea looks promising for people who wish to lose weight.
- Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of good quality green tea in a cup and pour hot water over it.
- Let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes, then strain it.
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea throughout the day.
This herb also can help you reach your weight loss target. Curcumin, one of turmeric’s most thoroughly studied active ingredients, helps increase the flow of bile. This is important in breaking down fat.
It also improves insulin resistance as well as treats inflammatory symptoms associated with obesity and metabolic disorders.
- Prepare a detox drink by mixing 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, juice from 1 lemon, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a little raw honey (for taste) in 1 cup of warm water. Drink this once daily.
- You can also drink turmeric tea. To make the tea, add ½ teaspoon each of turmeric powder and dry ginger powder to 2 cups of boiling water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, add lemon juice for taste and drink it twice daily.
- Another option is to take curcumin supplements after consulting a doctor.
This beautiful herb is loaded with nutrients, flavonoids and various minerals that help lower the body’s absorption of fats and carbohydrates. This in turn aids weight management. In addition, its diuretic nature helps you shed water weight.
In a 2014 study published in the Food & Function Journal, researchers found that people who took tablets made from hibiscus extracts for 12 weeks showed reduced waist circumference, body fat percentage and hip-to-waist ratio.
- You can drink 2 to 3 cups of hibiscus tea daily. To make the tea, add 2 tablespoons of dried hibiscus petals to 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and add honey and lemon juice for taste.
- You can also take hibiscus in supplement form after consulting a doctor.
Note: If you are a pregnant or nursing woman or taking medication, consult your doctor before taking this herb.
5. Korean Ginseng
Korean ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng or Asian ginseng, is valued for its ability to boost energy levels and speed metabolism, which help with weight loss. In addition, it improves insulin sensitivity as well as stress management.
- You can drink 2 cups of Korean ginseng tea daily. The tea is readily available in the market.
- Alternatively, take 1 to 3 capsules of 500 mg Korean ginseng daily for 3 months or less.
Do not take this tea or supplement without your doctor’s permission.
Note: Avoid using Korean ginseng for extended periods. Do not use this herb if you have hormone-related conditions.
Dandelion is another useful herb for overweight people who wish to shed some pounds. The phytochemicals in dandelion give it diuretic and laxative properties. It increases the volume and frequency of urination, which helps get rid of water weight.
In addition, this herb helps normalize blood sugar, remove toxins from the body, suppress appetite and fight inflammation.
- Drink a cup of dandelion tea daily prior to each meal. To make the tea, add 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion root to 1 cup of water and boil it for 1 minute. Remove from heat and steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink your tea.
- You can also add fresh dandelion greens to salads or soups.
Avoid taking this herb for extended periods.
Note: As this herb can interact with certain medications, consult your doctor before using it.
Oregano also helps you lose weight. It has an active component called carvacrol that helps dissolve fat. This herb also aids digestion and reduces bloating. In addition, it helps fight depression and stress, two common causes of overeating and weight gain.
- Drink a few cups of oregano tea daily. To make the tea, steep 3 teaspoons of oregano leaves in 1 cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and drink it.
- Alternatively, add 4 or 5 drops of oil of oregano to a glass of low-calorie fruit juice and drink it once daily.
- You can also take oregano capsules with at least 70 percent carvacrol. Consult your doctor before taking this supplement.
Sage is another great weight-loss herb, thanks to its stimulant, diuretic and antioxidant properties. Being a stimulant, it boosts your metabolic rate to help you burn more calories. In addition, it helps reduce inflammation, treat anxiety and promote sound sleep.
- Put 1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon of dried sage) in a cup.
- Pour boiling water in the cup, cover and steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and add lemon juice for taste.
- Drink this tea 2 or 3 times daily.
Note: Do not consume sage if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Peppermint also helps reduce weight. Being a natural appetite suppressant, it helps decrease hunger pangs and control your appetite to manage overeating and reduce intake of unnecessary calories. This herb also aids digestion and reduces bloating.
Plus, the calming, soothing scent of peppermint helps reduce stress, one of the reasons behind weight gain.
- Drink a few cups of peppermint tea daily. To make the tea, steep 1 tablespoon of fresh peppermint leaves in a pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain, allow it to cool and drink it.
- Also, put a few drops of peppermint oil on a clean handkerchief and inhale it. This will help reduce food cravings.
10. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a good herb for weight management. Its active constituent silymarin improves liver functioning to enhance your body’s natural detoxification process, which in turn promotes weight loss.
By boosting toxin removal through detoxification, this herb also helps restore metabolism and increase fat loss.
You can take milk thistle in capsule form or as a tincture. For proper dosage, consult your doctor.
Note: Seek medical advice before taking milk thistle if you have a medical condition.
- Start your day with a glass of lemon water.
- Practice oil pulling to get rid of toxins and improve metabolism.
- Drink water and other healthy fluids to help your body burn fat faster.
- Soak in early morning sunlight for a few minutes daily to help your body make vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for weight loss.
- Start your day with a healthy breakfast.
- Eat smaller meals (healthy foods) 4 or 5 times throughout the day instead of 2 large meals.
- Eat healthy snacks between meals.
- Enjoy regular exercise and play some sports on weekends.
- Avoid stress as it can cause weight gain.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can increase your appetite and lead to weight gain.
- Stay away from cigarettes, alcohol, refined sugars and saturated fats.