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Herbs that can help with Weight Loss

Updated on March 9, 2011

Maitake

I love this picture of Maitake in its natural setting.  Fungi are so amazing, and this one used as an herb seems to show very promising results.
I love this picture of Maitake in its natural setting. Fungi are so amazing, and this one used as an herb seems to show very promising results. | Source

Herbs may be able to help in your weight loss

Many people are wanting to become more fit and healthy.  Losing weight if needed, is one way to do this.  Herbs are a wonderful and natural way to help in your goals to lose the extra weight that is dragging you down and hurting your health.  Consider possibly adding a small amount of these to your diet strategy to see if they don't help. 

As always, consult your physician with any questions, and learn all you can about the herbs listed below to see if they may not be the best thing for you personally.  Many have been very encouraged by the results they have found however and like the idea that it is a natural way to lose some weight.  Of course, you will want to drink a lot of water, keep active, don't overeat and get a good amount of sleep.  I will share below how some herbs may interact with possible weight loss.

Maitake, the King of Mushrooms

Maitake has some interesting effects in regards to weight loss.  It is in the mushroom family, but considered an herb.  The other names it goes by include hen of the woods, dancing mushroom, ram's head, and sheep's head.  The part used is the whole mushroom. 

As for weight control, the best studies that I am aware of are Japanese studies that have been done.  There were some animal studies done, where the animals were given a high fat and high cholesterol food.  Some of the feed had maitake added to it to see what the differences were if any.  The group that had maitake added to the high fat food, did not gain weight but the other group did gain weight.  At the end of the study, the animals that had the maitake, weighed up to about 25% less. 

More studies were done with overweight human adults, and the same kind of results were found.  They took maitake tablets, which is approximately 7 ounces of mushrooms in a day.  They made no changes to their diets other than the addition of maitake!  They lost anywhere from 12 to 26 pounds.  I think that is just amazing.  Do look into the possible side effects of maitake, and discuss with your doctor before doing anything drastic in regards to changes that could affect your body.  Safety first always! 

Ma Huang, Ephedra

Ma huang, or Ephedra Herb

Ephedra, is also known as Ma huang, Mormon tea, or whorehouse tea.  The parts of the herb used are the stems and branches.  Ma huang naturally increases the metabolic rate which is a very desirable thing for people wanting to lose weight.   It can increase the speed at which your body normally burns calories.  Even better, it can suppress the appetite some.  The more I study herbs, the more I will come across an herb that will say that one of the benefits is improving the appetite.   So there are some herbs on both sides there, depending on the need.  You may have heard of ephedrine studies, and that is a chemically isolated ephedrine, to be clear.  That was for weight control and was often used in conjunction with caffeine, which is also a stimulant. 

The differences aren't that significant for the person who was already on a low fat and regular exercise regimin, but there were differences with Ma huang.  The combination with caffeine increased the weight loss in studies by about 5 percent. 

There have been other studies done, Danish studies and Italian studies that showed overweight women that took oral ephedrine lost more weight compared to those that took just placebos.  The largest effects were in people that were clinically obese, or at least 20% heavier than recommended weight.  For those just a little bit overweight, that just want to lose a very few pounds, it wasn't as effective. Look into possible side effects if you are seriously considering using this herb, as some effects even if rare, can be unpleasant. 

No matter what, the experts agree the best thing to do is have a low calorie diet, and daily exercise for permanent weight loss.  That is the goal, and so these are great habits anyway.

Dandelion

Dandelion Herb, Fennel and Celery Seed

Dandelion is also known as Lion's tooth, piss-abed, and wild endive if you want to search it out.   Generally speaking, the parts used are the roots, but the leaves are also used in herbal remedies.  I have heard of people using the flowers as well.  It just depends on what the need is. 

Fennel has been known traditionally as a weight control herb, but really it turns out to be in regards to having a diuretic effect.  The better way long term to help with one's weight is low calorie, low fat and daily exercise.  The other names for fennel are Finocchio, Florence fennel, and carosella. 

Celery seed is another herb that has a diuretic effect.  It really is just a way to lose water weight which returns very often anyway. 

Both Dandelion and Fennel really just have more of a diuretic effect on a persons body.  This helps to take care of water weight, and not really the weight associated with the actual fat in one's body.  This can still be helpful to some people that need to lose some weight quickly, but you always want to be careful with diuretics and never abuse them. 

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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Rcrm, thank you for sharing that. I like how precise that sounds, and will have to look into it. Thanks for reading and for the comment.

    • rcrm89 profile image

      rcrm89 

      7 years ago

      Tim Ferriss recommends a combo of Policosanol, ALA, garlic extract and green tea flavanols (called PAGG stack) which he has utilised to good effect and detailed further in his book '4-Hour Body' which I have recently reviewed on HubPages.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Rosie, thank you very much! I hope you have a wonderful day too :)

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya oceansnsunsets, WOW! very interesting hub and I enjoyed the beautiful pictures too.

      Have a nice day!

      Rosie

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Rpalulis, that is interesting about the dandelions, and we are somewhat the same at our house now. As a landscaper, you would have quite the experience with them! Some people eat them, in salads, etc and they are a source of food for some pollinators that I have seen as well. Great to view what we saw as problems before, as herbs now. Great point. Thank you for the comment!

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 

      7 years ago from NY

      Years and years of being a landscaper I always viewed dandelions as one of my worst enemies when trying to beautify a a lawn. Over the years I have grown to tolerate them on my lawn and no longer view them as a weed but as an herb. Excellent hub, I learned of some new herbs today, and I love the photo of the Maitake

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Pamela, thank you! I do know they sell those herbs in capsule form at least, in health food stores. I am pretty sure you can get them in a tea form as well. I don't know that they would be easy to grow, at least not like some of the other herbs. (Especially not the dandelions, haha.) Thanks again for the comment!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great hub. I was not familiar with those first two herbs. Can you buy them in organic food stores? I don't think they grow in northern FL. Thanks for the information. I bookmarked your hub for future reference.

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