16 August 2008

Many people turn to herbal supplements and herbs to aid their weight loss naturally. This form of weight loss is considered safe and effective. You can improve health by losing weight by not hurting your body in the process. There are various ways by which these herbal supplements and herbs are thought to work for weight loss and those include adding bulk to the diet, increasing metabolism and increasing fat burning, nutritionally-rich preparations and mood enhancement.

If you want to lose weight with herbs and herbal supplements, consider a balanced preparation that also has a quality B complex to boost your energy levels.

Please have in mind that you should always educate your self about the herbs before you start using them. It is always a good idea to consult your health provider before taking herbal supplements or herbs for weight loss.

Below are some commonly used over-the-counter weight loss drugs and appetite suppressants. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any of these over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies for weight loss, as some could be a waste of money, or worse, dangerous.

Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium)
  • This herb works as ephedra, both contain beta antagonists which are known to cause body fat loss and increase metabolism in those who are combining exercise and dietary measures to lose weight.
Garcina Cambogia (Garcina cambogia)
  • The active component called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) for weight loss. It suppresses appetite and reduces the body’s ability to form adipose(fatty) tissue due to overeating and promote fat burning.
  • This same mechanism floods the liver with glycogen which leads the brain to respond by suppressing appetite.
Cayenne (Capsicum minimum, Capsicum annuum, C. frutescens)
  • Reputed to aid weight loss based on the principle of the heat of the plant matter.
Hoodia gordonii (Hoodia gordonii)
  • Hoodia has become the number one herb for appetite suppression in the United States. The active constituent in this herb is called P57.
  • Hoodia also enhances weight loss by lowering blood glucose, which lowers the insulin circulating in the blood, which in turn reduces fat storage.
Coleus (Coleus forskohlii)
  • Coleus works to assist weight loss by breaking down fat deposits and preventing production of adipose tissue.
Ephedra, Ma huang (Ephedra sinica)
  • Its active ingredient ephedrine were commonly found in herbal dietary supplements used for weight loss.
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
  • Green Tea contains caffeine and is reputed to aid weight loss amongst other health claims. It is also a rich source of antioxidants.
Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
  • Has a reputation to aid weight loss via increased metabolism. It is thought to work in a similar way to caffeine. Made from the seeds of a plant native to Brazil, guarana speeds up the brain's activity and is used to promote weight loss due to its stimulant and diuretic effect.
Guggul (Commiphora mukul)
  • Guggul is thought to affect metabolism, possibly reduce cholesterol levels and therefore may aid weight loss.
Guar gum (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus)
  • A plant based dietary fibre derived from the bean of the plant. Also known as guar, guar flour, and jaguar gum, guar gum is a dietary fiber obtained from the Indian cluster bean.
  • It has been noted to decrease appetite by providing a "feeling of fullness."
Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)
  • Yerba Mate herb is from Paraguay, South America reputed to increase metabolism and a strong brain. The principle side effects reported are excessive stimulation and high blood pressure
Spirulina (Blue-Green Algae)
  • Spirulina is thought to be useful in weight-control diets because its high nutritional value helps to satisfy hunger.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Known to lift mood and therefore may indirectly help weight loss.
  • If you are taking St. John's wort, you should avoid tyramine-containing foods (for example, aged cheese, cured or aged meats, wines, etc.).
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
  • Tis extract from a West African plant seed has replaced tryptophan supplements after the FDA banned sale of tryptophan due to its link to a rare and potentially deadly blood disorder.
  • In larger doses, 5-HTP may have a negative effect on the liver.
Chitosan (KITE-o-san)
  • This dietary supplement is made from chitin, a starch found in the skeleton of shrimp, crab, and other shellfish.
  • Chitosan cannot be digested; therefore it passes through itestinal tract unabsorbed without adding any calories. The chemical nature of Chitosan makes it bind with fatty foods, removing some of the fat from your body as it passes through rather than allowing it to be absorbed.
Chromium
  • It is tought to enhance the effect of insulin and therefore the breakdown.
Pyruvate
  • Pyruvate is formed in the body during digestion of carbohydrates and protein from food. It may have a slight effect in helping you shed pounds, according to some studies.
  • Found in the form of pyruvic acid, pyruvate can be found in various foods including red apples, cheese, and red wine. Pyruvate appears to be safe, but claims of boosting metabolism, decreasing appetite and aiding in weight loss need further study.
Aloe
  • Oral forms of aloe are added to herbal weight-loss products. Oral aloe produces a strong cathartic response (producing bowel movements) and many aloe weight-loss products are marketed as "internal cleansers."
  • However, aloe or aloe-containing products should not be ingested orally if you have intestinal problems like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or abdominal pain of an unknown reason.
Cascara
  • Cascara is a common ingredient used in weight loss products. One of the few herbs approved as an over-the-counter drug by the FDA, it is a strong stimulant laxative. Misuse of this herb has caused problems with the body's minerals (such as potassium, sodium).
Dandelion
  • Dandelion is a natural diuretic. It may produce significant weight loss by decreasing body water. However, it can cause allergic reactions and heartburn.
Glucomannan
  • Made from the root of Amorphophallus Konjac, glucomannan is said to contribute to weight loss by delaying the absorption of glucose from the intestines.
  • This effect is believed to be due to a "feeling of fullness" which may be due to the swelling of the glucomannan in the gut once it has been exposed to liquids.
  • Glucomannan and glucomannan-containing products have been banned in several countries due to the high incidence of gastrointestinal obstruction.
Herbal Diuretics
  • There are many varieties of herbal diuretics that are commonly found in over-the-counter weight loss products as well as herbal weight loss preparations.
  • Most of the diuretics used in over-the-counter treatments are derived from caffeine.
  • Herbal diuretics do not provide enough water loss to be considered effective in losing weight. More importantly, long-term weight loss is loss of fat, not water.

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