Herbs for weight loss: losing weight in herbal medicine

In this article we deal with the most effective weight-loss herbs, generally safe natural aids to complement adequate dietary-behavioral interventions (see table).

See also:

  • supplements for weight loss
  • sports for weight loss
  • water to lose weight
  • "secrets" to lose weight
  • infusion for weight loss

The categories of "herbs" useful for weight loss are essentially four: that of diuretic drugs, that of stimulant drugs, that of drugs rich in fiber and mucilage, and that of drugs that accelerate metabolism. Other natural products potentially useful for weight loss, but not listed in this article, are chitosan (reduces fat absorption), garcinia cambogia (fruit pericarp - reduces the synthesis of fatty acids and increases the sense of satiety), the banaba and gymnema (leaves - hypoglycemic properties).

Diuretic / draining

What drugs : Asparagus (rhizome, roots), birch (leaves), cherry (peduncles of fruits), horsetail (aerial parts), ash (leaves and seeds), weeds (rhizome), maize (stigmas or "corn beards"), olmaria (flowers), ortosifon (leaves), ononide spinosa, (root), nettle (flowering plant, roots), pilosella (aerial parts), parsley (parts of areas, roots), ruscus or butcher's broom (rhizome), dandelion (root ) goldenrod (flowered tops).

Why : although diuretics can induce significant weight loss, they are not considered real remedies for weight loss. The lost kg are in fact represented by liquids and not by fat; despite this, the use of these herbs can help cleanse the body of excess toxins. Many of these harmful substances, in fact, are accumulated in adipose tissue and released into the circulation during weight loss. The diuretic effect is particularly useful also for those people suffering from cellulite and slight venous insufficiency, with a tendency to the formation of oedemas in the lower limbs.

How and when : to avoid drastic effects, and their dangerous consequences, we recommend the use of draining herbal teas, which also provide liquids and minerals at the same time. They can be taken regularly in a cup size per day, or for short periods of two or three cups a day.


What drugs : bitter orange (unripe fruit), cocoa, coffee (seeds), capsaicin, guarana (seeds), maté (leaves), ephedra (aerial parts), black tea (leaves), green tea (leaves), yohimbe (bark of the stem).

Why : this category of natural remedies is well known in the sports sector, where its stimulating and slimming effects are appreciated. Often used in combination with one another (in so-called stacks), these drugs produce exciting, anorectic effects (reduction of the sense of hunger) and tonic, with an increase in thermogenesis and metabolism.

How and when : an excessive use of these herbs for weight loss is accompanied by well-known and dangerous adverse effects, of a psychic nature (agitation, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia) and cardiovascular (palpitations, tachycardia and hypertension). Moreover, their slimming effect tends to diminish over time due to the phenomenon of addiction. For all these reasons, it is advisable not to prolong the intake beyond 4-5 weeks, without exceeding the recommended doses. These slimming herbs are generally contraindicated for those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, peptic ulcers and cardiovascular disorders in general.

Fiber and mucilage supplements

What drugs : bran; guar and guar gum; karaya gum; psyllium, psyllium seeds; agar agar; glucomannan; pectin; Konjac flour; algina and alginic acid; carrageenan.

Why : they increase the sense of satiety and reduce and slow down the absorption of nutrients; helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels, they avoid hyperphagic seizures following episodes of reactive hypoglycemia. Remember that the massive intake of bran for therapeutic purposes significantly reduces the intestinal absorption of calcium, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus, all essential elements for the organism, especially during growth, in the elderly, in debilitated subjects and in women in state of pregnancy. In this case, it is essential to supplement the diet with vitamin and mineral supplements.

How and when : give preference to the fibers naturally contained in food; these natural remedies for weight loss are generally taken 20-30 minutes before a meal, along with copious amounts of water. Fiber supplements, especially if in tablet form, should not be taken before going to bed, as they can cause oesophageal obstructions with consequent nocturnal asphyxiation by rapidly swelling. In general, its use is not recommended in the presence of intestinal obstructions or inflammation, pyloric stenosis, megacolon or megaretto, marked meteorism and functional dyspepsia.

Metabolism-accelerating plants

Which drugs : marine oak (fucus) and other algae.

Why : marine algae are a generous source of iodine, essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which are in turn crucial for supporting body metabolism; they are also rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers, which increase the sense of satiety and reduce and slow down the absorption of nutrients.

How and when : overdosage can cause hyperthyroidism, thyroid dysfunction, tremors, irritability, hot flushes, tachycardia, insomnia and arterial hypertension. In general it is a good rule to consult the doctor beforehand, to ascertain the absence of contraindications to the use of any slimming herb.


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