10 Best Herbs for Weight Loss
Here are our picks for the 10 best herbs for weight loss to help you shed those unwanted pounds naturally.
There are many ways people can lose weight. We can eat more vegetables, we can cut back on our sugar intake, we can work out and, of course, we can go on a diet. What we aren’t usually told to do is eat more of something.
Surprisingly enough, eating certain foods can help us lose weight. Among the most effective are herbs. They’re most often used as seasoning, so we don’t typically eat a lot of them. But they help keep our weight down when added to our diets by either letting us better fight off food cravings or boosting our bodies’ ability to burn fat.
To help you get started on your weight loss journey, here are our 10 picks for the best herbs for weight loss that will not only make your meals more tasty but also more healthy.
Ginseng is a fleshy, light-tan root with stringy, twisted shoots. It vaguely resembles a voodoo doll, hence its nickname “man-root.” A staple in traditional Chinese medicine, it has many health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, it may reduce inflammation, boost your brain’s functions, your immune system and your energy levels; and lower your blood sugar or blood glucose. Studies suggest it’s a powerful weight loss aid, able to stimulate weight loss, delay the absorption of fat and modify its formation. It’s available as herbal teas, energy drinks and dietary supplements.
Caralluma fimbriata, or caralluma for short, is an edible cactus that grows in India. It’s used in preserves (ex: chutneys), medicine and diet pills. It’s thought to aid weight loss by increasing the levels of serotonin, the chemical that affects mood, emotions, appetite and digestion, in the body. When this happens, your appetite decreases. The less you want to eat, the less food you consume. The less food you eat, the more you lose weight.
Gymnema sylvestre is a woody vine with green, elongated, oval-shaped leaves that is native to Asia. Australia and Africa. Aside from just gymnema, its common names include Australian cowplant, periploca of the woods and gurmar, which is a Hindi term meaning “sugar destroyer” in English. Its last nickname perfectly (although a bit dramatically) describes its ability to ward off sugar cravings by reducing the sweetness of foods. Excessive sugar intake has been proven to cause weight gain. Since gymnema sylvestre helps avoid this, it effectively aids weight loss.
More commonly known as ashwagandha or winter cherry, withania somnifera is a short, tender shrub with elliptic, dull-green leaves that bear small, green, bell-shaped flowers and tiny, round, orange-red fruit. Native to India and North Africa, it’s been called the “king of Ayurvedic herbs,” able to reduce the levels of cortisol—the stress hormone—in the body. Since being stressed can lead to overeating and withania somnifera helps relieve it, the herb is effectively a weight loss aid.
Green tea isn’t just a nice, relaxing drink. It’s also a great weight loss aid, thanks to its several weight loss-aiding properties.
To begin with, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant that can boost metabolism.
It also has caffeine, which helps our bodies burn fat.
Last but not least, it’s scientifically proven to curb food cravings by suppressing appetite as well as stimulate the hormones that help burn fat as well.
Aside from planting some in your garden, you can take hibiscus flowers and boil them to make a vermillion-colored tea that can help you lose weight. The plant itself contains antioxidants called anthocyanins, phenolic compounds and flavonoids that all boost fat elimination by helping regulate the genes involved in fat digestion. It’s also been scientifically proven to lower the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver, fat accumulation and adipogenesis. It also reduces ghrelin, the hunger hormone, in the body as well as blood pressure.
Just like the hibiscus, the dandelion is a pretty flower that can be turned into fat-fighting tea. It’s been scientifically proven to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-diabetic and anti-obesity properties. It also increases our sensitivity to insulin and our ability to secrete it, which both help regulate our blood sugar levels, as well as improve digestion. Its leaves may also help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol levels and a type of fat found in the blood called triglycerides.
Almost everybody knows aloe vera is good for our hair and skin. What most of us probably aren’t aware of is how helpful it is in losing weight.
In addition to being an Ayurvedic herb for having laxative properties, it can help boost metabolism, enabling our bodies burn fat better.
To enjoy its weight loss benefits, you can take 1–2 teaspoons of aloe vera extract every day or take the plant’s gel right from its leaves and add it to the juice or smoothie you drink every morning.
Usually eaten as part of a salad or burger, arugula is quite a nutritious herb. It’s a great source of folate, vitamins A, C and K; and the dietary minerals magnesium, manganese and calcium. As a weight loss aid, it helps our bodies produce a digestive enzyme that helps metabolize carbs.
Most commonly used as seasoning in a variety of dishes, such as stews, casseroles, salads and soups, rosemary is a surprisingly good weight loss aid. It has antioxidant properties and helps reduce blood sugar levels by increasing liver glycolysis, or the breakdown of glucose stored in the liver. It also increases fat oxidation, or the process of breaking down fatty acids.
- “13 Herbs That Can Help You Lose Weight” by Rachael Link for Healthline
- “15 Powerful Herbs For Weight Loss And Their Benefits” by Charushila Biswas for Stylecraze
- “Herbs and Spices Can Be Extremely Helpful When You’re Trying to Lose Weight—Here Are 15 to Stock Up On” by Kaitlin Vogel for Parade
- “7 Proven Health Benefits of Ginseng” by Arlene Semeco for Healthline
- “What is serotonin, and what does it do?” by James McIntosh for Medical News Today
- “Ashwagandha” by Mike Murray, RDN for Examine
- “Hibiscus Tea for Weight Loss: How It Works & How To Use” by Tatiana Zanin for Tua Saúde
- “Everything You Need to Know About Insulin” by Jessica DiGiacinto and Valencia Higuera for Healthline
- “Weight Loss: How To Use Aloe Vera To Lose Weight,” NDTV Food Desk
- “Fat burning: how does it work?” by Asker Jeukendrup for Mysportscience