Herbs for weight loss are supposed to be the safe, effective and natural way to lose weight; free from harmful side effects and so on. However the claims made by herbal weight loss products about efficacy and safety are to be treated with caution and it must not be assumed that simply because something is labeled “Herbal”, it is safe to use and free from side effects.
We take a look at which herbs for weight loss are safe and which are effective and which indeed are both safe as well as effective.
The following herbs for weight loss are considered to be generally safe, though they should be cleared with one’s health care professional, particularly if there is a preexisting medical condition that precludes using these weight loss herbs.
1. Green tea and green tea extracts are often advertised as weight loss supplements, and there has been some evidence to show that when an effective exercise program and healthy diet are initiated, this could help in weight loss efforts because of its antioxidant properties and caffeine content.
And even drinking 5 to 6 cups of tea a day is usually not shown to have any adverse effects, so green tea as a weight loss herb may be said to be safe and moderately effective.
2. Cayenne or chili pepper are known to have capcaisin that claims to speed up metabolism and hence may aid in weight loss. The supplements are largely safe, however efficacy as one of the herbs for weight loss may be limited.
3. Ginseng is a natural herb which is also thought to speed up the metabolism and help in weight loss. However its efficacy is not seen to be uniform though ginseng is thought to be safe to take and there are usually no harmful side effects.
4. Nettle is a herb that is supposed to help in shedding weight because it creates heat inside the body, having a thermogenic effect on it. Reviews about the efficacy of this herb for weight loss are mixed.
5. Seaweed or kelp has long been touted as being among the most effective herbs for weight loss because of its iodine and chromium content and its ability to stimulate the thyroid gland.
Which herbs for weight loss are unsafe or ineffective?
- Various herbal supplements such as Hoodia, Acai Berry, Pineapple extract pills and so on claim to be very effective for weight loss. However the claims made by manufacturers are usually unable to stand up to scrutiny and their efficacy is suspect at best.
- Ephedra or Ma Huang is known to cause several health problems such as elevated pulse rate, high blood pressure, and even heart attack, stroke and death in high doses.
- All laxatives, even so called ‘herbal’ laxatives can be dangerous and may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance and also make the digestive system dependent upon them for regular functioning. These herbs for weight loss are marketed as diet tea, or senna cascara and so on.