During this time of year, many of us who have pledged to lose weight are finding that shedding pounds is more challenging than we expected.
We perhaps start listening for and thinking about using herbs and other supplements, which may promise to curb our appetites or melt the pounds away quickly. It seems that every week a new herbal fad or previously obscure herb is discovered to melt fat, tone muscles and sculpt our bodies. We begin to wonder: Which of these herbal products work? Will any of them help me lose weight? Are they safe? Is there really a miracle herb for weight loss?
The truth is that herbs are very useful adjuncts to promote weight loss. The key word here is “adjuncts.” In our desperation to lose 10 pounds in five days, we sometimes feel desperate and suspend logic. We search and search to find that miracle herb which will rid our bodies of excess weight while we indulge in our favorite French Fries and chocolate cake. It is fiction that any herb or other supplement will simply erase the pounds. The bottom line is that to lose weight, we need to eat less and exercise more. But herbs can help.
Which Herbs Can Help?
Herbs are an excellent complement to a weight loss plan. Culinary herbs, especially fresh ones, add variety and taste to our foods without adding calories. Herbs supply healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, as well as a concentrated array of other healing plant compounds. Use herbs to help decrease cravings, eat less and enhance your metabolism.
When considering which herbs are likely to be most beneficial for you, consider which aspects of dieting are most challenging for you. Incorporate herbs which address your individual barriers to weight loss. For example, if you feel tired and do not have the energy to exercise, herbs which improve your metabolism may be most useful. If you are a “nervous” eater, you may need herbs which help you relax. Fortunately, some of the best herbs for weight loss are inexpensive and readily available. You probably have many of them in your kitchen or garden.
Warming Herbs Promote Weight Loss
Hot, pungent, spicy herbs such as cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger are classified as herbal stimulants, which have thermogenic properties. This means that they support a healthy metabolism and help to detoxify your body. Detoxification is an important aspect of a healthy weight loss program, as toxins held within fat cells are released during weight loss. Your body must eliminate the toxins so that you will feel vibrant and that weight loss can occur efficiently. Simply add spicy herbs to your foods to obtain these thermogenic “miracle herbs.” Prepare ginger tea and drink it throughout the day. The ginger tea has an added benefit: It can satisfy cravings for sugar.
Coffee and Tea Promote Weight Loss
Coffee, green tea and black tea all contain caffeine. Caffeine is an herbal stimulant which speeds up your metabolic rate, promoting weight loss. Consider the South American herb yerba mate, which is available in the tea section at grocery stores and in herb shops. Yerba mate is an outstanding herb for weight loss. Incorporate these beverages into your daily weight loss program. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may need to limit the use of these herbs.
Use Herbs to Obtain Nutrients which Support Weight Loss
Seaweed, such as kelp, nori, and dulse, add flavor to your diet. They may be sprinkled on foods, taken as supplements, or eaten as vegetables. Sea vegetables support thyroid function. Many people who struggle to lose weight have a sluggish thyroid gland, yet standard medical tests do not pick up on it. The nutrients in sea vegetables gradually enhance thyroid function and also enhance your metabolic rate.
Herbs which aid detoxification and support liver function, needed for efficient weight loss, include dandelion  root, chickweed, burdock root and cleavers. All of these wild herbs are readily available in herb shops, or you can harvest your own. Dandelion and burdock are herbal bitters. Bitters support bile production and flow. Bile is responsible for the breakdown of fat within the body. Dandelion leaves help your body to eliminate excess water.
Also consider flaxseeds, which are rich in nutrients and help you to feel “full.” Grind them right before using them.
While herbs do not offer miraculous overnight answers for weight loss, they are an important part of a weight loss plan. They offer the benefits of improved health, vitality and long-term weight loss when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program.
Do you use herbs to assist in weight loss? Share your tips in the section below: