It's no secret that herbs benefit health as some help manage and prevent many diseases. However, this article will focus specifically on scientifically proven herbs for weight loss.
If you are on a weight loss journey, it is vital that you pay attention to what you put on your plate. Your daily dietary constituents play a significant role in your body size or weight.
Herbs or spices are plants with a sweet aroma that are typically used to flavour food. They also serve as therapeutic agents in natural medicine. So, you need not worry about the edibility of these plants as they are safe for health.
Your idea of a weight loss diet plan for fighting obesity should not be restricted to your regular dishes like fish, chicken, brown rice and fruits.
You might want to go beyond doing what everyone else does for maximum weight loss results. Another natural and fast way to lose weight and excess body fat is by incorporating herbs into your meals!
Certain herbs have been scientifically proven to help with weight loss and combating obesity. These herbs have shown to be effective for people who want to lose body fat.
Previously, we unveiled the best fruits to eat for weight loss and fat burn. Here we look at the best weight loss herbs.
10 Best herbs for weight loss
Kickstarted your weight loss journey and need faster results? Below are weight loss herbs to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
These herbs are backed up by science, and studies have shown that they are effective for fat burning and weight loss and thus might help prevent obesity. Another good thing is that you can eat these herbs in different ways.
1. Cinnamon herb for weight loss
The cinnamon spice is a constituent of the inner bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum genus. It is an aromatic herb rich in antioxidants. This spice is one of the scientifically proven best herbs for weight loss.
Cinnamon offers an array of health benefits. One of such health benefits of cinnamon is to increase or fasten weight loss.
One of the ways cinnamon works is to induce weight loss by stabilizing blood sugar level. In turn, this reduces hunger and appetite.
According to research, cinnamon contains a compound that mimics insulin (a hormone responsible for transporting glucose from the bloodstream into the cells to be utilized as fuel). This also means people who have diabetes mellitus might benefit from this herb.
Another study showed that cinnamon inhibits some digestive enzymes, thus slowing down carbohydrates' breakdown.
These effects combined make cinnamon a good herb of choice for people looking to lose body weight and belly fat fast and easily.
Availability of cinnamon
Cinnamon is native to Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) and the Malabar coast of India. It is also cultivated in the West Indies and South America.
According to a market report, Asia Pacific is the leader in the global cinnamon market. Indonesia was the biggest producer in 2019, followed by China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Cinnamon is also exported to other parts of the world and is available in other continents like Africa. Check for cinnamon in grocery stores or markets around you.
How to prepare cinnamon for weight loss
You might be interested in knowing the dosage of cinnamon to take for weight loss and how to prepare this herb for consumption.
If you are taking powdered cinnamon as a supplement, experts suggest 2-4 grams (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) of the powder every day. Some studies have used up to 6 gram. However, you should be wary of the amount you use, as high doses might be toxic.
Besides adding cinnamon powder to your meals, another popular way to take cinnamon for weight loss is by preparing it as a drink with honey. Here is the recipe for cinnamon and honey for weight loss:
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of honey
Method of preparation:
- Boil the half cup of water
- Place the cinnamon stick into a cup and pour the boiled water into it
- Soak the cinnamon in the water for 10 minutes before straining the tea to remove the cinnamon stick
- Add your honey and enjoy your cinnamon and honey weight loss tea
2. Turmeric herb for weight loss
Turmeric is respected amongst spices for its vibrant colour, distinct flavour and health benefits. It is one of the scientifically proven best weight loss herbs.
If you are a curry fan, you most definitely would love turmeric as it is somewhat similar to curry in colour.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical that has been touted for its many medicinal properties, including reducing inflammation and inducing weight loss. Eating spices like turmeric might help in obesity or weight gain prevention.
A study carried out with 44 overweight participants indicated that consuming curcumin twice every day enhanced fat loss and also decreased belly fat.
Also, a study carried out on mice found that adding curcumin to the animals' feed as a supplement for 12 weeks caused a reduction in body weight and fat by inhibiting fat synthesis.
Curcumin interacts with certain signal transduction pathways in the body leading to improvements in inflammatory conditions associated with obesity and metabolic disorders.
Availability of turmeric
India is the highest turmeric producer today as it controls up to 50% of the turmeric global market.
Other regions like Indonesia, South America and Africa also produce high-quality turmeric. Turmeric produced in Wester Ghats is considered the finest variety.
How to prepare turmeric for weight loss
Just like cinnamon, turmeric forms a very good for different meals. In Africa and Nigeria many homes add turmeric as a spice to different dishes.
Turmeric can also be prepared as a weight-loss tea. Below is what you will need to prepare your turmeric weight loss tea:
- Turmeric paste
- 1 cup of water
- Ginger paste (optional)
- Boil the water
- Add the turmeric and ginger pastes and bring water to a boil
- Allow the tea to cool down to a room temperature
- Strain the solution, and there you have your turmeric weight loss tea
3. Ginger herb for weight loss
Who hasn't heard about the medicinal properties of ginger? Ginger stands as a great home remedy for inflammatory problems and is helpful for soothing and relaxing the intestinal tract.
The Ginger herb is from the rhizome of the ginger plant, Zingiber Officinale. If you are seeking herbs to help you on your weight loss journey, do not skip ginger, as it is one of the best weight loss herbs out there.
Studies have shown the high potentials of ginger to help with weight loss. One such study is the review of 14 human studies, which showed that using ginger as a supplement caused a significant decrease in belly fat and overall body weight.
Ginger can be consumed in different ways. You can blend it into your smoothie or use it to spice up your food. The good thing is that when used in the right quantity, it adds a pleasant flavour and aroma to food.
Availability of ginger
Ginger, one of the most common best herbs for weight loss, is mostly produced by the Asian continent. India produces the highest quantity, followed by China and then Indonesia.
Asides from these countries, other countries producing ginger in high quantity include Australia, Nepal, Fiji and Nigeria. In fact, organic ginger is seen as a model export commodity by many farmers in Nigeria.
How to prepare ginger for weight loss
There are different ways you can consume your ginger for weight loss. Some eat the ginger raw, while some blend it and use it as a spice for cooking meals like jollof rice and tomato stew.
You can also use ginger powder for weight loss by mixing it in water and drinking. Take note that taking tablespoons of ginger powder in its raw state might cause indigestion.
Other ways to prepare ginger for weight loss is by making ginger tea using different ingredients such as water, lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar.
Here is a typical recipe for a ginger weight loss drink:
- Fresh ginger
- Lemon juice
- Peel the ginger and blend, adding the cup of water
- Strain if you want, but the ginger fibre is good for you
- Add lemon juice and honey to taste
- Add ice cubes if you desire and drink once or twice a day
4. Garlic herb for weight loss
Just like ginger, garlic has amazing health benefits. It belongs to the Allium genus and can be found in different parts of the world.
Garlic serves as a cooking ingredient. However, science has shown that this herbal spice has many medicinal properties. It is one of the best herbs for weight loss.
One downside to eating garlic and ginger is that both can cause stinky breath; however, consuming these herbs might help you burn body fat.
You don't have to chew garlic raw, especially if you find the smell nauseating. You can add it to your meals. It gives food a distinct aroma and delicious taste.
Aside from being a remedy to obesity, other health benefits of garlic include reducing blood pressure, improving bone health, acting as an antioxidant, improving blood cholesterol level, and reducing heart disease risk.
Availability of garlic
Garlic is cultivated in many countries, and this makes it available all year round. It also has a high capacity for preservation as it can be stored for up to 8 months.
You will find garlic at the price of about $2 per pound in supermarkets. In countries like Nigeria, where it is sold in bags, you can buy a bag of garlic during the harvest period at the price of N13,000 ($34) and N20,000 ($52) for off-harvest time.
How to prepare garlic for weight loss
Garlic is a common food spice. Needless to say, it adds a distinct aroma and delicious taste to food. So, it is okay to blend it and add it to your meals.
However, one of the most effective ways to take ginger for weight loss is to prepare it as a drink. Ingredients that go well with garlic include lemon juice and honey.
Here is what you need to make your ginger drink for weight loss:
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- lemon juice
- glass of water
- Peel and wash the garlic cloves
- Put the peeled garlic cloves in water and blend
- Add honey and lemon
5. Dandelions for weight loss
Dandelions are one of the most beautiful herbs out there. The good thing is that they are also edible. These plants are one of the scientifically proven best herbs for weight loss.
Dandelions can help with weight loss by slowing down digestion. In this way, you stay fuller for a longer time, eat less often and less food quantity.
Dandelions are a rich supply of fibre, minerals, antioxidants and vitamin K. Its constituents enable the absorption of fat molecules.
Another constituent of dandelions is beta-carotene which launches attack on free radicals and protects the liver.
Availability of dandelions
Dandelion plants are available all year round. India has largely cultivated this plant as a remedy for health conditions such as liver diseases.
Even though dandelions are native to Eurasia, they have been distributed to other regions of the world, particularly places inhabited by many Europeans.
Other countries where dandelions are quite common include Australia, the Americas, New Zealand, Poland, Austria, Italy, the United States and Turkey.
How to prepare dandelions for weight loss
Taking dandelion tea every morning might help you lose weight. Here is what you need to prepare your weight loss dandelion tea:
- 1-2 teaspoons of roasted dandelion roots
- Boil a cup of water
- Place the dandelion roots into the hot water for about 10-15 minutes.
- Strain the dandelion drink
- Add milk and honey to taste and drink every morning
6. Cayenne pepper for weight loss
Cayenne pepper adds doses of spicy flavouring to meals. It a type of chilli pepper. So you might have to be careful when adding to your meals, especially if you are not used to eating hot, spicy foods.
Cayenne pepper is a scientifically proven herb for weight loss. It contains capsaicin, a compound that gives it that unique heat it is known for and also offers many nutritious health benefits.
Some studies have shown that capsaicin improves metabolism, increasing the number of calories an individual burns in a day.
It might also reduce hunger and appetite, which can help with weight loss. It can increase the fullness level and decrease calorie intake.
One particular study indicated that consuming food containing capsaicin reduced ghrelin level. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for inducing hunger. This shows that cayenne pepper can help you lose weight.
Availability of cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is said to be native of the Cayenne region of French Guiana. That is perhaps why its name after this region.
Cayenne pepper is now largely grown in Mexico, India, East Africa and the United States of America.
You will also find them in most tropic and subtropic regions. From these countries, it is further exported to other parts of the world.
How to consume cayenne pepper for weight loss
You can easily add cayenne pepper to your meals, e.g. your stews and sauces. You can also drink a mixture of cayenne pepper and lemon juice for detoxification and weight loss enhancement.
Ingredients for cayenne pepper detox drink:
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of grade B maple syrup
Add all the ingredients to a cup of water, stir well and drink.
7. Ginseng for weight loss
Ginseng is quite common in Chinese communities and is one of the herbs that can help you lose weight. This plant has medicinal properties that promote health.
Ginseng is seen as a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. It can be categorized into- Chinese, Korean, American etc. Each type belongs to the same genus of ginseng herb.
Studies of the ginseng herb show that it is a powerful plant that can help with weight loss. One study showed that taking the Korean type of ginseng twice every day for two months caused a significant reduction in body weight.
Another study on animals found that ginseng altered fat formation and caused a delay in intestinal fat absorption thus, fighting obesity.
Availability of ginseng
Ginseng is a highly valued Chinese herbal medicine. However, a report has it that the availability of its wild variant has declined recently in different regions of the world, including South Korea and China, due to slow maturation, overexploitation and less seed germination.
This has caused these regions to resort to the cultivation of ginseng in order to meet consumer needs. In fact, the demand for American ginseng has increased worldwide, thus increasing export from the US to other countries, including China.
How to consume ginseng herb for weight loss
There are different ays to take ginseng for weight loss. You can start with taking 5 gm of the extract twice daily for two weeks, after which you reduce to 2 gm.
You might also want to add the ginseng extract to your water or tea and take it about two times a day.
Another way to consume ginseng is by preparing ginseng weight loss tea. Here are the required ingredients for that:
- 3 tablespoon of ginseng extract
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 500 ml water
- Boil the water and allow it cool for about 5 minutes
- Add ginseng extract and leave for another 5 minutes
- Strain the solution and add your cinnamon powder and lime juice
- Stire the ginseng weight loss tea and drink
8. Black pepper for weight loss
One of the major constituents of black pepper is piperine, a substance that gives it its pungent flavour. Piperine also inhibits the formation of new fat cells.
A study found that when combined with capsaicin (found in cayenne pepper) and other substances, black pepper caused the burning of as many calories as taking a 20 minutes walk.
Black pepper is a healthy spice of choice for almost every meal as it increases the bioavailability of other foods.
One study on rats found that using piperine as a food supplement helped reduce body weight in the rats even though they were on a high-fat diet.
Availability of black pepper
Black pepper is native to South India. However, it is available in most tropical regions as it is extensively grown in the tropics.
Today, Vietnam is regarded as the largest exporter of black pepper. This is followed by Indonesia, Brazil, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It is also grown in China, Thailand and Madagascar.
From these countries, black pepper is exported to other countries where it is not extensively cultivated. You can purchase it from any local supermarket around you.
How to consume black pepper for weight loss
Just like cayenne pepper, many people use black pepper as a food spice. You can as well chew about 5 peppercorns daily for weight loss.
Here is a simple black pepper weight loss recipe:
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup of warm water
- Put the black pepper into a cup of warm water
- Add the honey
- Stir well before drinking
9. Cumin for weight loss
Cumin is a spicy herb made from the ground seeds of a flowering plant called Cuminum cyminum. This plant is of the parsley family.
Many consumers like cumin because of its unique nutty taste. However, there is more to this spice- it has numerous health benefits, including helping weight loss and promoting fat burning.
A study carried out for three months showed that women who consumed yoghurt drink containing 3g of cumin twice every day lost more body fat and weight compared to the control group.
Science has proven that cumin is of the best weight loss herbs, as another study reported that individuals who took cumin as a supplement three times a day lost about 1kg more than those who didn't.
Availability of cumin
How available is cumin, and where can you easily find this herb? Portuguese and Spanish colonists first introduced cumin to the Americas.
Today, you will find cumin mostly grown in the Indian sub-continent, Mexico, Northern Africa, China and Chile. It is more affordable to buy cumin seeds in international markets in these regions.
However, irrespective of your location, you will likely find cumin in the spice section of grocery stores around you. It is readily available both in seed and powdery form.
How to consume cumin for weight loss
There are different ways to use and consume cumin for weight loss. Indians, for instance, add the whole seeds to hot oil when making their dish so that the flavour and ingredients get infused into the cooking oil.
Another way to consume cumin is in its powdery form. You enjoy it better by lightly roasting the cumin seeds before grinding them into powder. You can add the cumin powder as a spice to your food anytime.
Cumin is commonly used in cooking both vegetable and meat dishes. This means even vegetarians can benefit from this herb. You can as well add it to your sauces and soups.
Below is a simple cumin recipe for weight loss. You will need:
- 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds
- Lemon juice
Method of preparation:
- Soak the cumin seeds in water overnight or for about six hours
- Boil the seeds in the morning, filter and drink
- Add lemon juice to it and drink every morning
10. Cardamom for weight loss
Cardamom is not as common as other herbs for weight loss enlisted here. It might also be a little pricey. However, it is a highly valued herb.
Cardamom is widely used as an ingredient for cooking and baking. However, studies have shown that it may promote weight loss.
An animal study showed that black cardamom helped reduce total body fat and belly fat in rats placed on a high-fat diet.
Unfortunately, the effect of cardamom on weight loss in humans is yet to be fully determined. However, it can't be ruled out as speculations are that if it can promote weight loss in animals, it would likely do the same in humans.
Availability of cardamom
As of 2019, Guatemala was the largest producer of cardamom. Some other major producers of this herb include Nepal, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Recently, the demand for cardamom in Europe and other parts of the world has increased. Thus, efforts are being made to export more in order to meet demand.
Check the spice section of groceries stores or international markets around you for cardamom. You can also order this herb online.
How to consume cardamom for weight loss
Here is how to make the cardamom water for weight loss.
- Crush the cardamom pod
- Extract its seeds from it
- Place the pod peels and seeds into a glass of water and leave overnight
- Your cardamom water is ready for drinking. Drink it every morning
Other herbs that help you lose weight
Scientists estimate that there are more than 20,000 species of edible plants in the world which are not just delicious but also nutritious.
However, you'd be surprised to find out that we consume only a tiny fraction of these world's edible plants. In fact, fewer than 20 of these plant species form part of our food.
Perhaps we need to find out more about these edibles plant species, experiment more and find out how they can benefit human health given their high nutritious contents.
Asides from the top 10 common herbs for weight loss listed above, other herbs can also help you lose weight. Some other recommended herbs and spices for weight loss include:
- Hibiscus tea
- Gurmar leaves
- Aloe vera
- Gotu Kola
- Fenugreek seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Caralluma Fimbriata
- Green coffee bean extract
- Gymnema Sylvestre
Other health benefits of herbs and spices
Asides from helping with weight loss, there are other numerous health benefits of herbs and spices. Herbs contain some of the most potent antioxidants needed by the body.
Herbs like cinnamon help lower blood glucose level by improving insulin sensitivity and slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates. This means it can help manage type 2 diabetes mellitus condition.
Turmeric, which contains curcumin, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This makes this herb useful in fighting oxidative stress or damage, which plays one of the key roles in ageing and disease development.
Aside from reducing appetite, which can promote weight loss, animal studies have shown that capsaicin in cayenne pepper has anti-cancer effects.
Herbs like ginger have anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat nausea. It might also help with pain management.
We could go on and on to list the numerous benefits of herbs, but it would be a very lengthy list. The fact is that herbs can help combat most of the serious health conditions people are battling with, such as cancers, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure etc.
When purchasing herbs and spices for your consumption, it is often better to go for natural and fresh organics. This ensures that you are feeding on healthy foods that are not irradiated or preserved with harmful chemicals.
Also, adding these weight loss herbs to food alone might not be sufficient to achieve the set weight loss goals for most people.
If you are serious about losing weight, you first have to get the right tips for setting out on a weight loss journey. You have to draw a comprehensive weight loss plan. Your weight loss plan should include:
- Eliminating meals containing high calories, unrefined or artificial sugars
- Following an ideal meal regimen or weight loss diet plan
- Reducing your food portion sizes
- Engaging in high-intensity exercises which will promote fat burning as well as an increase in muscle mass
- Making it a habit of eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Addressing the issue of emotional eating