Losing weight is hard enough on its own, so why not get a little support to boost your metabolism and shed more pounds?
Forget weight loss pills and other unhelpful quick-fixes, there are many natural herbs for weight loss that can magnify the effects of your exercise and nutrition regime.
11 Natural Herbs For Weight Loss
Most of the herbs on this list can be taken fresh or dried and steeped into a tea. As with any other natural medicine, talk to your doctor before taking any of the weight loss herbs on this list as they can interact with medication or worsen pre-existing conditions.
1. Gurmar Leaves
This Indian herb, who’s name means “destroyer of sugar” in Hindi is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, but you may know it better as Gymnema sylvestre. The plant increases insulin production and increase the growth of cells in the pancreas to lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The plant also stimulates digestion, fight metabolic syndrome, and acts as both a diuretic and a laxative (1).
Chewing fresh gurmar leaves can also help curb cravings as it produces a prolonged desensitization effect for sweet and bitter tastes, making the most delicious treats bland and boring (2).
Ginseng is one of the most popular and easily recognized herbal medicines in the world, appearing in many cultures oceans apart (3).
The root is believed to treat cancer, heart disease, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms, and more.
The medicine improves weight loss and insulin sensitivity by activating the enzymes lipoprotein lipase (which is linked with obesity) in fatty tissue, as well as glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) and insulin receptor (IR) in the skeletal muscle and liver (4).
It also affects gut bacteria to improve digestion and fight obesity. Ginseng is an incredibly expensive root, so beware of inexpensive supplements as they might contain very little (it any at all) real ginseng (5).
Oregano doesn’t just taste great, it can also help you maintain an appropriate body weight. It keeps your blood sugar in check. It also has expectorant, and diuretic properties to help you flush out toxins as they are released from your shrinking fat cells.
It even stimulates bile production to clear your liver of toxins and improve fat absorption and metabolism to help your body better utilize fat for energy instead of storing it.
It also acts as a mild sedative to relax you and prevent emotional overeating.
Like oregano, sage is a weight loss herb that has many uses outside of the kitchen. Low doses help reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure while high doses increase alertness and calmness (6).
It helps reduce weight gain by improving digestion, minimizing gas, stomach pain diarrhea, bloating, and inflammation of the digestive tract (7).
It also helps treat nervous conditions by reducing blood pressure and manage diabetes by lowering blood sugar, increasing liver performance, and inhibiting gluconeogenesis (8).
Spearmint contains a compound called Azulene, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer effects. It also fights stomach spasms and treats indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea. It also stimulates bile production.
It also improves hormone balance to prevent estrogen-associated weight gain (9).
Guggul and gum guggul are the yellowish resin produced by the stem of the Commiphora Mukul plant (10).
It’s most well known for its ability to support poor thyroid production and prevent estrogen overload to keep the pounds off (11). This also has a positive effect on metabolism. It contains compounds that lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels and reduces inflammation while also preventing oxidative damage (12).
7. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle contains a chemical compound called silymarin, which decreases blood sugar, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with diabetes (13).
It also treats liver disorders and chemical damage caused by chemicals and drugs. This is important to allow your body to detoxify itself as you improve your diet and workout regime to bring your body up to speed with your new lifestyle.
8. Dandelion Root
Bitter herbs, like dandelion and chamomile, can be taken as a tea before meals to stimulate gastric secretions and promote fat and cholesterol breakdown (14).
It also has hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects that prevent hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis (a disease of the arteries caused by high cholesterol) caused by metabolic syndrome-associated oxidative stress (15).
9. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a tea ingredient related to holly. It modulates genes that have been affected by obesity to restore them back to their original state. It also prevents obesity-related diseases by modulating signaling pathways that regulate adipogenesis, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and insulin signaling responses (16).
Yerba mate also promotes weight loss by decreasing the differentiation of pre-adipocytes and to reducing the accumulation of lipids in adipocytes, both of which contribute to a lower growth rate of adipose tissue, lower body weight gain, and obesity (17).
If that wasn’t enough, the herb improves satiety, boost energy expenditure, and reduce blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
10. Coleus Forskohlii
Coleus, like guggul, is most beneficial for hypothyroidism, or poor thyroid function (). Since poor thyroid function can increase estrogen levels, it’s particularly beneficial for overweight women by balancing out their hormones. It also has no clinically significant side effects (18).
It also works well for men: A 2005 12-week study found that 250 mg of 10% forskolin (the active compound in coleus) extract twice a day improved bone mass and testosterone levels in overweight and obese men (19).
Mint has pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and vasoconstrictor effects that improve exercise performance to increase weight loss as you exercise (20). It also improves oxygen flow to your muscles and prevents lactate buildup in the muscles, to fight muscles soreness and increase stamina.
It also work to improve digestion and nutrient absorption to make your your body is getting all the nutrients it needs as you improve your health.