Herbs That Increase Metabolism for Weight Loss
Some herbs act on digestion, metabolism, or appetite to impact weight loss. Certain substances can increase thermogenesis, or metabolism, which may lead to weight loss.
Certain thermogenic, or stimulant, herbs have a reputation for aiding weight loss, but according to the FDA should be avoided due to serious or possibly fatal side effects. Weight loss herbs to avoid include: ephedra (or products containing ephedra), which can have dangerous cardiac side effects, herbal laxatives such as cascara sagrada or senna, which can cause serious intestinal problems.
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Herbs which may safely aid weight loss include the following:
» Cayenne contains a substance called capsaicin, which may stimulate digestion and increase metabolism and fat burning.
» Green tea contains caffeine and antioxidants that appear to stimulate metabolism.
» Seaweed, or kelp, is a natural thyroid stimulant, which may boost metabolism.
» Nettle is considered to be a thermogenic herb.
» Ginseng helps to boost energy and metabolism.
Anyone with problems or health conditions related to any of these herbs or their actions should not use them.
Hoodia Gordonii: “New” Herb for Weight Loss
The herb Hoodia gordonii (or just “Hoodia”) has gained recent attention as an aid for weight loss, due to its appetite suppressing actions. The plant grows in African desert regions, and has been used by the Kalahari San Bushmen for many hundreds of years.
Studies at Brown University indicate that Hoodia appears to work by interrupting or stopping the hunger mechanism in the brain. There is almost no research on the effectiveness of Hoodia as an herbal weight loss supplement, and no substantial information on its safety.
Diabetics should probably avoid Hoodia, because this herb “tricks” the brain into thinking that the body has sufficient blood sugar levels, which may interfere with the function of normal physiological processes that indicate when blood sugar is becoming dangerously low.
Fiber to Suppress Appetite
Taking soluble fiber supplements adds bulk and makes one feel full, but without any added calories. It is imperative to drink adequate water when using fiber supplements to avoid constipation and digestive problems, and fiber supplements should be taken under supervision of a health care professional. Foods high in soluble fiber include apples, oatmeal, beans, and pears.