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 Weight Control 
Infocenter

Holistic-online.com

Herbs for Obesity

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe vera juice improves digestion and cleanses the digestive tract.

Astragalus (Astragalus gummifer)

Astragalus increases energy and improves nutrient absorption. 
Caution: Do not use this herb in the presence of a fever.

Bee pollen

Bee pollen stimulates the metabolism and helps to curb appetite. Take up to 1 teaspoon daily.

Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Bladderwrack contain iodine, which helps to enhance thyroid function. Dosage: Take 150 milligrams at breakfast and another 150 milligrams lunch for two months. 
Caution: Check with your doctor before taking this herb if you have a thyroid disorder, high blood pressure, or heart problems. If you are allergic to shellfish and/ or sensitive to iodine, do not take this herb. Also do not take kelp and bladderwrack at the same time.

Brewer's yeast

Brewer's yeast will help to reduce various cravings for food and drink.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

This herb a great folk reputation for shedding weight.

You can eat it raw in salads. Alternately, you can steam it and eat it like a vegetable. For a great weight loss salad, mix chickweed, dandelion, evening primrose, stinging nettle (cooked and cooled), plantain and purslane. Add this to your regular salad.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil, extracted from coconuts, is a rich source for medium chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTS) are special types of saturated fats separated out from coconut oil that range in length from six to twelve carbon chains. Unlike regular fats, MCTs do not appear to cause weight gain; they actually promote weight loss.

Medium Chain Triglycerides and Long Chain Triglycerides

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTS) are special types of saturated fats separated out from coconut oil. It range in length from six to twelve carbon chains.

The long-chain triglycerides (LCTS) are the most abundant fats found in nature. LCTs are the storage fat for both humans and plants. They range in length from eighteen to twenty-four carbons.

MCTs are used by the body differently than LCTs. This is because of the difference in length of carbon chains. The larger LCTs are difficult for the body to metabolize. So the body tends to store these fats. MCTS, on the other hand, are easy to metabolize. So, they are rapidly burned as energy. They also promote the burning of LCTs.

Because of the way body handles MCTs, MCTs do not appear to cause weight gain like the conventional fats do. They, in fact, actually promote weight loss. LCTs are usually stored in the fat deposits. Since their energy is conserved, a high fat diet decreases the metabolic rate. Lower the metabolism, higher the weight gain.

Scientists suggest that medium-Chain Triglycerides promote weight loss by increasing thermogenesis (heat production). Thermogenesis is the method by which the body "wastes" calories. There is evidence that the level of diet-induced thermogenesis is what determines whether an individual is likely to be overweight. In lean individuals, a meal may stimulate up to a forty-percent increase in heat production. In contrast, overweight individuals often experience only a ten-percent or less increase in heat production. The food energy is stored instead of being converted to heat. In actuality, the food is more efficiently converted in case of LCTs. So, ther eis less need for them to obtain the same energy. (LCTs is like a fuel efficient car. It needs less fuel to go to the same distance as compared to a fuel guzzling car (like MCTs). So, for the same food consumption, LCTs will have more fat stored int he body promoting weight gain.

This has been demonstrated in clinical trials.

In one study, scientists compared the thermogenic effect of a high-calorie diet containing forty-percent fat as MCTs to that of one containing forty-percent fat as LCTs.

The thermogenic effect (calories wasted six hours after a meal) of the MCTs was almost twice as great as that of the LCTs. (120 calories vs. 66 calories.) It appears that the excess energy provided by fats in the form of MCTs would not be efficiently stored as fat. Instead, they would be burned and produce heat.

A follow-up study demonstrated that MCT oil given over a six-day period can increase diet-induced thermogenesis by fifty percent.

In another study, researchers gave single meals of 400 calories composed entirely of either MCTs or LTCs. Six hours after eating, scientists found that the thermogeneic effect of MCTs was three times greater than that of LCTs. Interestingly, MCTs had no effect on the blood fat level. The LCTs, on the other hand, elevated blood fat levels by sixty eight percent. Blood fat level is a significant risk factor for contracting CHDs.

Researchers concluded that substituting MCTs for LCTs in your diet would produce weight loss as long as the calorie level remained the same.


In order to gain the benefit from MCTs, a diet must remain low in LCTs. Use MCTs (coconut oil or other products containing MCTs) as an oil for salad dressing, as a bread spread, or simply taken as a supplement. Coconut oil is an important herb used in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayurvedic physicians often prescribe that coconut oil be massaged on the body.

Recommended Dosage: 1 to 2 tablespoons per day.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion may flush out the kidneys, boost metabolism, and off- set a craving for sweets. Eat the leaves raw in a salad or make a tea by boiling 2 to 3 tsp of the root in a cup of water for I 0 to 15 minutes. Drink three times a day. 

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis).

This herb is a good source for tryptophan which is believed to help in weight loss. Take a half-teaspoon of evening primrose oil three times a day.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel removes mucus and fat from the intestinal tract, and is a natural appetite suppressant.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Fenugreek is useful for dissolving fat within the liver.

Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Green tea enhances the ability of the body to burn fat. Choose a standardized extract containing 50 percent catechin and 90 percent total polyphenols and take 300 milligrams thirty minutes before breakfast and another thirty minutes before lunch. Do not take more.

Guggul  (Commiphora mukul)

This is a popular herb used in Ayurveda. Guggul is frequently recommended by Ayurveda practitioners for weight control in addition to use in lowering cholesterol. In clinical trials, intake of guggul derivatives regularly for three months results in four times the weight loss compared to placebo.
Dosage: 2.25 grams twice a day 

Kelp (Fucus spp.)

Kelp is a type of seaweed thatís rich in antioxidant vitamins and iodine. It is believed to stimulate a hormone produced by the thyroid gland thatís responsible for boosting metabolism, so youíll burn more calories by the hour. You can also get other kinds of seaweed in your diet by adding them to soups and salads. Kelp is very useful for thyroid-related obesity.

Dosage: Take 300-1,500 mg daily as directed on the label.

Caution:  Check with your doctor before taking kelp if you have a thyroid disorder, high blood pressure, or heart problems. 

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice root strengthens the adrenal glands, thus helping to sustain a regulated blood-sugar level and reduce cravings for sweets. Licorice tastes sweet. 
Dose: Take a cup of licorice daily, one week out of every month for up to three months. Licorice can also be added to other teas to sweeten them.

Caution: Do not take licorice by itself on a daily basis for more than five days at a time, as it can elevate blood pressure. Do not take it at all if you have high blood pressure. This herb should be used with caution. Check the herbal database for other important safety information.

Malabar tamarind (Gareinia cantbogia)

The Malabar tamarind is a yellowish fruit that is about the size of an orange, with a thin skin and deep furrows similar to an acorn squash. It is native to southern India, where it is dried and used extensively in curries (especially fish). It looks black when dried.

The dried fruit of Malabar Tamarind contains about thirty percent hydroxycitric acid. It is a powerful lipogenic inhibitor. (Lipogenic inhibitor is a substance which helps prevent the production of fat.)

In animal studies, hydroxycitrate has been shown to be a powerful inhibitor of fat formation. One study showed that hydroxycitrate produced a "significant reduction in food intake, and body weight gain" in rats. The results in humans are not yet proven.

In addition to inhibiting the production of fat, hydroxycitrate may also suppress appetite. 
Note that hydroxycitrate only inhibits the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. It will have no effect if a high-fat diet is consumed.

Recommended Dosage: 500 mg three times per day. Take it along with a supplement of Chromium for best results.

Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps digest both proteins and fats.

Herbalist Dr. Duke reported that one person in Costa Rica lost 100 pounds by eating one whole fresh pineapple per day. Pineapple is loaded with nutrition, and is also great for your digestion.

Plantain or psyllium (Plantago)

Psyllium is the seed of Plantain. Metamucil is a commercial product that contain psyllium.

Herbalists say that the weight-loss effect of plantain and psyllium is related to the spongy fiber (mucilage) in the seeds and to specific chemicals (polyphenols) in the leaves.
In one Italian study, scientists gave women who were seriously obese (over 60 percent over their recommended weight) three grams of plantain in water 30 minutes before meals. The plantain group lost more weight than a similar group of women who simply cut back on their diet.

Dose: Take a teaspoonful of psyllium mixed well with a glass of juice or water. Take it before each meal.

Caution: If you are allergic to this herb, stop its use immediately.

Red pepper (Capsicum), Hit Mustard, and other hot spices

Scientists have found that people who took hot spicy foods (adding a teaspoon of red-pepper sauce and a teaspoon of mustard to meal) raised their metabolic rates by as much as 25 percent. The hot spice also stimulates thirst, so you drink more liquids that also helps in gaining less weight.

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus)

Siberian ginseng helps to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for sweets. It is also a natural energizer. 
Dose: Choose a standardized extract containing 0.5 percent eleutheroside E and take 100 milligrams daily, two weeks out of every month, for up to three months.
Caution: Do not use if you have high blood pressure.

Walnut (Juglans)

A study of more than 25,000 Seventh-Day Adventists showed that those who ate the most nuts were the least obese. Walnuts are rich in serotonin. Serotonin is shown to make us feel full; so we eat less as a result.

The following herbs are helpful for those with signs of coldness:

Cumin 
Ginger 
Cloves 
Spearmint 
Fennel 
Cayenne

The following herbs are helpful for those with signs of heat:

Peppermint 
Chamomile 
Kohlrabi 
Turnip 
White pepper 

Chinese Herbal  Medicine

Chinese Patent Formula 
Bojenmi Chinese Tea (Reduce Fat Tea)
This Chinese herbal formula is useful for combating weight gain and obesity. It has beneficial effects on the Stomach and Spleen, dispels Dampness and phlegm, invigorates Qi, promotes urination, and reduces fat.
Dosage: Steep one bag per cup of water; drink up to three cups a day.

Alisma, astragalus, and atractylodes is a Chinese herbal combination that helps to encourage weight loss. Alisma is a diuretic; astragalus enhances energy; atractylodes helps the digestion of carbohydrates. These three herbs work best when taken together. Select a combination formula and take one dose, as directed on the product label, two to three times daily.

Other Herbs

Combine 1 tbsp. of yarrow and 1 tbsp. of sea weed. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of this mix, steep for eight minutes, strain and drink 1 cup three times daily for one to two weeks.

Other slimming herbs often included in herbal tea mixtures include kelp, chickweed, dandelion, sage, hawthorn berries, licorice root, papaya leaves, anise, wormwood, black alder bark, lovage and saffron.

Alfalfa, com silk, dandelion, gravel root, horsetail, hydrangea, hyssop, juniper berries, oat straw, parsley, seawrack, thyme, uva ursi, white ash, and yarrow can be used in tea form for their diuretic properties.

Butcher's broom, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, Garcinia cambogia, ginger, green tea, and mustard seed are thermogenic herbs that improve digestion and aid in the metabolism of fat.
Caution: Do not use cinnamon in large quantities during pregnancy.

Bladderwrack, borage seed, hawthorn berry, licorice root, and sarsaparilla stimulate the adrenal glands and improve thyroid function.
Caution: If overused, licorice can elevate blood pressure. Do not use this herb on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row. Avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.

Ephedra, guarana, and kola nut are appetite suppressants.
Caution: Do not use ephedra if you suffer from anxiety, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, or insomnia, or if you are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor drug for depression.
Note: Due to the high incidence of abuse of the ephedra and the resultant deaths and serious injuries, FDA has banned the sale of ephedra in the US. A number of other countries have banned the use of ephedra too. We recommend that you do not use or buy any products with ephedra.

Siberian ginseng aids in moving fluids and nutrients throughout the body, and reduces the stress of adjusting to new eating habits.
Caution: Do not use this herb if you have hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, or a heart disorder.

See Also:

Herbs for Stress Management

Herbal Medicine Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Herb Knowledgebase in Holisticonline.com

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