How to Use Herbs for Weight Loss

By: Contributors

You may have heard advertisements for products claiming that taking some herbal supplement or other will lead to weight loss [source: Condor]. Although taking herbal supplements alone won't lead to weight loss, herbal supplements may make it easier to diet, thus leading to weight loss [source: Koithan, Niemeyer]. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to use herbs for weight loss.

  • Bitter orange Traditional Chinese medicine has long affirmed that bitter orange is an effective herb at causing weight loss. Bitter orange contains a chemical called synephrine, which is shown to decrease appetite. Bitter orange is taken orally in tablet, capsule and extract form [source: NCCAM].
  • Ephedra This herb has been used for thousands of years as a weight loss stimulant. Its extract is included in many dietary supplements for weight loss, increased energy and athletic performance. While ephedra may be effective for short-term weight loss, be aware that it has severe side effects, including stroke, heart attack and seizures [source: NCCAM]. This has led to the FDA banning the use of ephedra [source: NCCAM].
  • Green tea Green tea has long been known to treat many conditions, and is now sometimes used to stimulate weight loss. The extract not only speeds up the metabolism to prompt weight loss, it also burns fat [source: UMM]. Green tea is most often drunk, but it can also be ingested in capsule form. Be aware that one of the weight loss stimulants in green tea is caffeine, which can cause insomnia, upset stomach and diarrhea [source: NCCAM].

Remember that weight loss should be medically supervised by a trained physician. Not all products that claim to be herbal are safe for use. Herbal remedies may contain unknown substances or their side effects may be unknown [source: BBC].