Herbs: Key Plants for Natural Weight Loss

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One of the hottest topics out there: weight loss.
Many companies capitalize on the world health crisis of obesity, and other weight-related disorders, by selling and marketing products that simply don’t work. Pills, wraps, shakes, programs, you name it – it’s out there, and it’s been bought by somebody, most likely millions of somebodies.

And, it really is no secret: the world is in crisis. According to the World Health Organization, rates of obesity have nearly tripled, with 39% of all adults over a healthy weight[1]. And, maintaining an unhealthy body weight can cause many different health issues, like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, pain, and death[2].

But thankfully, hundreds of dollars in special shakes and pills isn’t the answer.
The Earth already gives us everything that we need to support and maintain a healthy life, and our body weight is no exception. Of course, it’s important to remember that we can’t be eating 4 double cheeseburgers for every meal, and expect anything to keep us healthy. But, plants are so very incredible, and several powerful ones interact with our metabolism and appetite to impact our weight. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.

 

1. Ginseng

Ginseng is one herb recognizable by many researchers, as it has been studied extensively; especially for its impact on weight. One reason for this could be because of its ability to impact the gut microbiome – specifically the ones, like phyla Bacteroidetes, that directly impact Body Mass Index(BMI)[2, 3] Ginseng also acts as an appetite suppressant, reduces fat in the liver, lowers cholesterol, and can even help your body burn more fat during exercise[4, 5]. The really interesting aspect of ginseng is that, even when eating a diet where one would expect to gain weight, intake actually suppresses the expected increase, which literally means it causes you to gain weight at a slower rate than you would without it[6].

 

2. Cayenne Pepper

Capsicum annuum is a species of plants, typically recognized by their hot red peppers – one of which is the cayenne. This moderately hot pepper is also widely known for its weight-loss properties. By boosting fat loss, particularly fat in and around the abdomen, and suppressing appetite, the cayenne pepper has passed many lab tests on its ability to help one lose weight and get healthier[7]. Just 12 weeks of treatment with this pepper yields impressive results in weight loss and food intake, and the great news is that adverse reactions have never been documented[8].

3. Green Tea

Green tea is beneficial for so many different aspects of health, including protection against disease and cancer, reducing stress, boosting energy, and reducing body weight[9]. Green tea, with or without caffeine, has the ability to “significantly decrease body weight” by boosting metabolism and aiding in the body’s ability to burn fat, even while resting[10, 11]. When exercising though, green tea helps the body burn fat quicker and more efficiently, influencing greater weight loss, and “significant reductions in total and subcutaneous abdominal fat areas”[12].

4. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices used in the US – and you can find it in everything from coffee to baked goods, and even candy. But, like any herb, cinnamon isn’t just great for your taste buds, it’s also extremely beneficial for the body. Ingestion of cinnamon produces a body-wide anti-inflammatory effect, offers protection over the cardiovascular system, regulates blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and can also inhibit cancer growth[13]. Cinnamon actually carries real merit when being used as the sole therapy for diabetes, and greatly lowers one’s risk of developing a metabolic syndrome, like heart disease[14, 15]. Cinnamon directly impacts the metabolism, turning its attention to fat cells, and causes them to “start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis”[16].

5. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an herb native to some parts of Europe and Asia, and has been used throughout these countries for centuries. Fenugreek can be taken to help boost a workout, significantly impacting “upper and lower-body strength, and body composition”, by improving endurance and muscle mass[17]. Ingestion of fenugreek suppresses weight gain, improves blood glucose levels, and lowers cholesterol[18]. Its consumption helps prevent the onset of diet-induced diabetes by over 400%, and reduces glucose levels in those already diagnosed with the disease[19].

6. Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb I have boasted about tirelessly, as it is one that has helped significantly in my own life. Turmeric has been well-documented for its abilities to aid in both preventing and reversing Type 2 diabetes[20]. Within two months of daily dosing, with turmeric’s active component curcumin, this herb can significantly lower blood glucose levels, and improve insulin sensitivity[21]. Because inflammation plays a major role in obesity and metabolic disease, curcumin actually has the ability to adjust targets that affect body weight. It suppresses overall body weight gain and promotes in increase in the body process that burns fat[22, 23]. In fact, there have been over 300 scientific reports on curcumin’s effects on obesity and obesity-associated complications[24].

7. Cumin

What we know as cumin typically includes the pungent ground seeds from a plant in the parsley family. It is often used in Indian cooking, or when seasoning meat, but has so many more benefits than just giving a dish a deep, flavorful tone. When mixed with lime, cumin showed remarkable potential for reducing weight, BMI, and fasting blood glucose within just two months[25]. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity effects, cumin remains a great option for reducing waist circumference, cholesterol, fat mass, and overall weight[26, 27].

8. Peppermint

Peppermint is most often recognized by its aromatic scent, and can be found in different teas, toothpaste, and skin-care products. It takes about 1.5 pounds of peppermint leaves to make one 10 ml bottle of peppermint essential oil, so this way is one of the best for potent peppermint health support. When taken orally, peppermint essential oil has shown the ability to instantly increase exercise performance, as well as boosting endurance[28, 29] Ingestion of peppermint tea lowers blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, leads to weight loss, and lowers overall BMI[30].

 

Conclusion

While these herbs will not magically erase a constant stream of high-sugar, nutrient-devoid foods, they do prove to be a priceless asset when supporting your body through healthy diet and exercise. Not only are these herbs pure from the earth, but their cost is significantly lower than you might find through a fancy pill. Everything is already here for our benefit, we just have to learn to understand their true value. 

Until next time,
Savannah

 

References:

1. World Health Organization Obesity and Overweight
http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
2. CDC The Health Effects for Overweight and Obesity
https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
3 NCBI Influence of Panax Ginseng on Obesity and Gut Microbiota in Obese Middle-Aged Korean Women
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986624/
4. NCBI Association between Body Mass Index and Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes Ratio in an Adult Ukrainian Population
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440985/
4. NCBI Ginseng and Obesity
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5766689/
5. Nutrients Red Ginseng Treatment for Two Weeks Promotes Fat Metabolism during Exercise in Mice
http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/6/5/1874/htm
6. Semantic Scholar Weight Gain Reduction in Mice Fed Panax Ginseng Saponin, a Pancreatic Lipase Inhibitor
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Weight-gain-reduction-in-mice-fed-Panax-ginseng-a-Karu-Reifen/2922f2647711267d8bcf210a09ac04e35306aa56
7. NCBI Review: Capsaicin may have Important Potential for Promoting Vascular and Metabolic Health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477151/
8. NCBI Dietary Capsaicin and its Anti-Obesity Potency: from Mechanism to Clinical Implications
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/
9. NCBI Beneficial Effects of Green Tea: A Literature Review
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/
10. NCBI The Effects of Green Tea on Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance: A Meta-Analysis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19597519
11. Oxford Academic Effect of Green Tea Extract on Fat Oxidation at Rest and During Exercise: Evidence of Efficacy and Proposed Mechanisms
https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/4/2/129/4591621
12. Oxford Academic Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Individuals
https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/139/2/264/4750912
13. NCBI Cinnamon: Mystic Powers of a Minute Ingredient
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466762/
14. NCBI The Glycaemic Outcomes of Cinnamon, a Review of the Experimental Evidence and Clinical Trials
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609100/
15. BMC Effect of Oral Cinnamon Intervention on Metabolic Profile and Body Composition of Asian Indians with Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Double-Blind Control Trial
https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12944-017-0504-8
16. Science Daily Cinnamon Turns Up the Heat on Fat Cells
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171121095145.htm
17. NCBI The Effects of a Commercially Available Botanical Supplement on Strength, Body Composition, Power Output, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance-Trained Males
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978122/
18. NCBI Fenugreek Seed Extract Inhibit Fat Accumulation and Ameliorates Dyslipidemia in High Fat Diet-Induced Obese Rats
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4020548/
19. NCBI Role of Fenugreek in the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Prediabetes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591578/
20. Hindawi Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review 
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/636053/
21. American Diabetes Association Curcumin Extract for Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/35/11/2121
22. NCBI Potential Role of Bioavailable Curcumin in Weight Loss and Omental Adipose Tissue Decrease: Preliminary Data of a Randomized, Controlled Trial in Overweight People with Metabolic Study. Preliminary Study. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26592847
23. NCBI Curcumin: A Review of its’ Effects on Human Health
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
24. NCBI Targeting Inflammation-Induced Obesity and Metabolic Diseases by Curcumin and other Nutraceuticals
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3144156/
25. NCBI The Effect of Cumin Cyminum L. Plus Lime Administration on Weight Loss and Metabolic Status in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065707/
26. Semantic Scholar Effect of Cumin Powder on Body Composition and Lipid Profile in Overweight and Obese Women
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effect-of-cumin-powder-on-body-composition-and-in-Zare-Heshmati/5e60284f02f19b8fdae73c971bc20808e20c96db
27. Clinical Trials.gov Effect of Consumption of Black Cumin (Nigella Sativa L.) Water Extract on Weight Loss in Overweight Women
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01360957
28. NCBI Instant Effects of Peppermint Essential Oil on the Physiological Parameters and Exercise Performance
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103722/
29. BMC The Effects of Peppermint on Exercise Performance
https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-10-15
30. SciELO Investigation of the Effects of Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) on the Biochemical and Anthropometric Profile of University Students
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0101-20612011000300006