Herbal Weightloss

Boost your body’s ability to shift those pounds with a range of nutritious herbs and superfoods.

Whether you want to lose a substantial amount of weight or just a few pounds, the lucrative diet industry appears to promise the answer. Every week, it seems, a new diet craze hits the media, but it is advisable to think in terms of making healthy food choices which become part of your daily life, rather than quick fixes.

A balanced wholefood diet will provide slowly released sugars to your bloodstream, which decrease cravings and keep mood and energy levels constant. Many a well-intentioned weight loss programme has fallen by the wayside due to exhaustion and feeling low.

Nutrient-dense superfoods, such as seeds, berries, mushrooms, algae and grasses, can boost energy and give you the impetus to stay on track – and crucially, exercise more! Botanicals can also come to the rescue by stimulating the digestive system and metabolism to function more efficiently, which means better assimilation of nutrients and increased expenditure of calories.

Detoxing the body can also help – indeed, at Indigo Herbs we believe this is often the key to long-term weight loss. By opening up the channels of elimination we are able to slough off toxins which slow down the functioning of the body. Combined with dry skin-brushing and massage with detoxifying essential oils, this is a great way to shift cellulite too!

Browse the list of pure, high-quality natural health ingredients below and see what suits your situation best.

 

Amaranth

(Amaranthus)
Amaranth Benefits

High in protein, Amaranth eaten as part of a protein rich breakfast can decrease levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Being a complete protein, it can slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, reducing insulin, hunger levels and making it easier for the body to burn fat.

Also high in fibre, Amaranth moves more slowly through the digestive system, helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

 

Beans

(Phaseolus)
Beans Benefits

As well as being packed full of nutrients, beans have a low glycemic index, making them very beneficial for weight loss. Low GI foods keep you feeling fuller for longer and you won't experience the dramatic blood sugar changes that trigger hunger. 

Additionally, researchers at St Michael’s hospital in Canada analysed 21 clinical trials involving 940 adults who lost an average of ¾ 1lb over 6 weeks without doing anything other than adding a single serving of pulses to their diet. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that a daily serving of beans and pulses contributes to moderate weight loss and reduced cholesterol levels. Previous research by the same group found that beans increased the feeling of fullness by 31%, thereby reducing the risk of snacking between meals – a major factor in weight gain.

 

Cayenne Pepper

(Capsicum frutescens)
Cayenne

Famously used by celebrities to get in shape for the red carpet, Cayenne Pepper is a powerful natural ingredient for weight loss, able to stimulate metabolism, act as an appetite suppressant and melt fat. Cayenne contains the phytochemical "capsaicin" which is responsible for the heat in this fiery spice. It works by binding to the neuroreceptors which increase calcium influx, triggering a host of cellular responses such as increasing the levels of antioxidant enzymes and decreasing pro-inflammatory protein expression. This in turn helps to flush out toxins and increase the metabolic rate. 

Studies also show that adding Cayenne Pepper to meals promotes thermogenesis (the way our bodies convert food into fuel), which further boosts metabolism and increases feelings of satiety whilst curbing the impulse to eat more after a meal. Another phytochemical found in Cayenne is "dihydrocapsiate" which has been found by scientists to increase metabolism by around 50 calories per day. 

 

 

Chickpea

(Cicer Arietinum)
Chickpea Benefits

Due to their high fibre content, Chickpeas increase satiety, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Chickpeas are also very nutrient dense - foods that meet the body’s nutritional needs makes the craving for unhealthy snacks less likely. For example, they are extremely high in magnesium, with one portion providing a whopping 57% of your daily intake. Magnesium deficiency can lead to binging on unhealthy foods in your body's quest for this important mineral. 

Chickpeas also contain a fat burning starch called “resistant starch” which not only aids weight loss, it feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut too.

 

Chlorella

(Chlorella vulgaris)
Chlorella Benefits

Chlorella is a fabulous superfood for weight loss, with research showing it controls gene expression to produce reductions in body fat percentages, fasting glucose levels and total circulating cholesterol. Another series of studies undertaken in Korea found that Chorella can actually make fat cells drop dead whilst leaving other cells untouched. It can also shrink fat cells by decreasing the amount of fat held within them. This supergreen algae can also speed up enzyme action within fat cells, producing energy whilst increasing metabolism. 

Chlorella is also packed with dense nutrition, containing all of the nutrients we need for optimum health. Supplying your body with these nutrients balances nutritional deficits and will relieve intense food cravings - cravings are generally a result of the body crying out for certain vitamins, minerals and essential fats. Chlorella is also high in iodine, a critical mineral for the thyroid, with imbalances or deficiencies causing a sluggish metabolism and hormone imbalances common in weight gain. 

 

Cinnamon

(Cinnamon zeylanicum)
Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a regulatory effect on blood sugar levels whilst simultaneously increasing insulin levels in the body. It imitates the biological activity of insulin and increases the metabolism of glucose. Since high blood sugar levels can lead to increased storage of fat by the body, Cinnamon helps prevent this increased storage of fat, enabling you to lose weight.

In addition, it influences the manner in which sugar is metabolised by the body and prevents the transformation of the metabolised sugar into fat. Studies show that abdominal fat is more sensitive to the effects of Cinnamon than fat from other parts of the body.

 

Coconut

(Cocos nucifera)
Coconut Benefits

Coconut Oil is comprised mainly of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a certain kind of fat that has a positive effect on weight management. Research demonstrates that diets containing MCTs result in an increase in energy, a rise in metabolism, increased burning of calories, decreased food consumption, lower body fat mass and a reduced body weight. 

Coconut Oil also contains fewer calories than any other fat, however this is not the the main reason for its advantage to weight loss. It is the MCTs in the oil that digest very quickly making them available to the body to use as an immediate source of fuel and they do not contribute fat to fat cells or to weight gain. Because MCTs are used by the body as a source of fuel to produce energy, they have a stimulatory effect on metabolism thus increasing the body's use of calories. 

More satisfying than other fats, Coconut Oil helps to decrease total food consumption - when it is added to meals people tend to eat less and feel fuller for longer. Simply replacing other types of oil with Coconut Oil in food preparation is a simple step you can take to lose weight, losing excess fat without dieting. 

 

Devil's Claw

(Harpagophytum procumbens)
Devil's Claw Benefits

In a study conducted at the University College of Cork in Ireland, it was shown that Devil's Claw can slow down or even stop the production of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin. This herb may be useful for weight loss in suppressing hunger pangs if overeating is a problem, and could make it a promising treatment for "Binge Eating Disorder". In fact Devil’s Claw is now being investigated for its use as an anti-obesity treatment.

 

Ginger

(Zingiber officinale (Roscoe))
Ginger Benefits

As a natural appetite suppressant, consuming Ginger is an excellent way to help shift stubborn pounds - especially around the belly. This warming spice can target the causes of the accumulation of belly fat - overeating, hormonal issues and lack of exercise due to low energy. Stress and hormonal changes can cause spikes in levels of blood cortisol which can in turn throw metabolism out of balance. Ginger can help to bring about hormonal balance and promote well-being, boosting physical and mental energy levels.

Ginger has also been found to promote thermogenesis (the way our bodies convert food into fuel), boosting metabolism and increasing feelings of satiety. According to the "International Journal of Obesity", consuming foods that have a thermogenic effect can increase energy expenditure, fat oxidisation and counteract the decreased metabolic rate that can occur during weight loss. Research backs this up, with a study finding that participants who consumed a hot ginger beverage with breakfast reported lower food intake, greater satiety and less hunger than the control group. 

 

Green Tea

(Camellia sinensis)

Green Tea is an excellent beverage with many benefits to the management of weight and as an aid to healthy weight loss. A cup of Green Tea contains a respectable amount of caffeine - a well known stimulant shown to aid in fat burning and to improve exercise performance.

It is also loaded with antioxidants, particularly antioxidants known as "catechins", with an especially potent one called EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), a substance that has been shown to boost metabolism. EGCG and caffeine work synergistically to increase the level of specific hormones that tell fat cells to break down fat. 

Many studies have shown that Green Tea can increase fat burning, especially during exercise. One study showed that Green Tea increased the amount of fat burned during exercise by 17% as opposed to men who didn't take a supplement. 

Finally, there are studies that show Green Tea can boost our metabolic rate, even when at rest, by around 3% - 4% daily (60 to 80 calories per day). 

 

Guarana

(Paullinia Cupana)
Guarana Benefits

Guarana contributes to weight loss with its promotion of thermogenesis – the way our bodies convert food to fuel. It does this through nutritional stimulation of the beta-adrenergic receptor pathway, this then breaks down stored fat, which stimulates lipid migration and allows the fats to be turned into energy.

Used for centuries by the Guarani Tribe as a natural appetite suppressant, they would consume Guarana when about to undergo extensive periods of fasting. This effect is thought to be caused by the unique set of compounds in Guarana slowing down the rate at which food is absorbed – leaving you feeling fuller for longer.

 

Gymnema sylvestra

(Gymnema sylvestre)
Gymnema Benefits

Gymnema is a fabulous herb to assist in weight loss, offering a two-pronged attack against one of the biggest culprits in obesity - sugar. Also known as Gurmar, it literally translates as "Sugar Destroyer", with good reason. If you put this herb on your tongue and then try to eat something sweet, you will not taste the sugar as it blocks absorption of sugar through the taste buds and the intestinal walls. It's primary active constituent is "gymnemic acid" has receptors both in the gut and on the tongue that prevent sugar absorption, reducing cravings and supporting blood sugar levels. 

Gymnema also stops the utilisation of sugar by blocking the availibility of carbohydrates in the gut, forcing the body to burn its own fat for fuel. 

 

Irish Moss

(Chondrus crispus)
Boost Metabolism, Appetite Reducer
Irish Moss Benefits

Irish Moss is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is thought to help reduce the appetite due to its ability to absorb moisture, increasing its volume and filling the intestinal tract with a bulking type material, thus increasing the feeling of fullness. Its gentle laxative effect can promote the elimination process of waste through the gastrointestinal tract.

Irish Moss is also high in iodine, an essential trace element for the thyroid, it can boost metabolism which in turn will increase energy and can help to accelerate weight loss.

 

Kola Nut

(Cola nitida)
Cola Nut

Research shows that consuming Kola Nuts can increase the body's metabolic rate by up to 118%, increasing the ability to burn off excess calories much more quickly. The caffeine content of this herb helps to curb the appetite and aids in digestion, further enhancing its profile as an excellent herb for weight loss. 

 

Maitake Mushroom

(Grifola frondosa)
Maitake Benefits

Fibre rich and low in calories, Maitake mushrooms can increase satiety and a feeling of fullness. A study by Yakota gave 30 overweight adults daily doses of Maitake mushrooms without changing any other aspect of their diets. After 2 months the participants had lost an average of 7 – 13lbs.

 

Sea Buckthorn

(Hippophae rhamnoides)
Fat Burning, Boosts Metabolism
Sea Buckthorn Benefits

Sea buckthorn oil is one of the best supplements for weight loss. Omega 7 fatty acids from this berry actually signal to the body not to use excess calories for the creation and accumulation of fat cells. Clinical studies have shown that it is also effective in the dissolution of existing fat deposits as it helps the formation of enzymes that burn fat.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the intake of Omega 7 fatty acids can also reduce the appetite. It increases levels of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which gives a sensation of fullness.

Other research shows that Omega 7 can help to boost slow metabolism by mimicking the hormone that regulates systemic metabolic activity.

 

Shiitake Mushroom

(Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake Benefits

A fabulous food for healthy weight loss, Shiitake is around 30% fibre which not only increases satiety, it is the kind of fibre that makes it difficult for the body to absorb fat. In a study conducted by the University of Wollongong, Australia, a research group fed four groups of rats a high fat diet along with a certain amount of Shiitake supplements. The rats that received the highest amount of Shiitake also had the lowest weight gain, around 1/3 less than rats fed the fatty diet without shiitake.

These findings, published in the “Journal of Obesity”, theorize that certain components in the mushrooms could increase the fat elimination, reduce certain fatty acids, and/or inhibit the release of triacylglycerol from the liver. Scientists are now using Shiitake extracts as prebiotic agents and studying how this can help prevent obesity-related metabolic disorders.

 

Siberian Ginseng

(Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
Siberian Ginseng Benefits

Siberian Ginseng is an excellent herb to facilitate weight loss, increasing metabolism and preventing the deposition of fat. Its fat busting properties are attributed to one of the main phytonutrients, ginsenoside - research found this particular compound makes the cells less able to complete the fat storage process. 

Ginseng is also a poweful adaptogenic herb - able to increase the body's ability to cope with physical, emotional and environmental stress - these are all known factors in weight gain. 

Finally, Siberian Ginseng delivers lots of wonderful, raw energy whilst increasing alertness and mental acuity - giving you the energy to exercise and the willpower to stick to your regime. This herb is a fabulous all-rounder for weight loss. 

 

Stevia

(Stevia rebaudiana)

Stevia can be used as a substitute sweetener for cakes and desserts. It can assist in weight loss through suppressing sugar cravings and having no calorie content.

Being extremely sweet, Stevia is best used in very small amounts so be careful if you're using it on your kid’s cereal.

Stevia became popular in the 1930's and is used heavily by the Japanese.

 

Turmeric

(Curcuma longa)
Turmeric Benefits

Turmeric is a warming spice that can prevent fat accumulation in the adipose tissues and other organs. In conjuction with a sensible diet Turmeric can also accelerate weight loss and fat burning due to its fibre content and non absorbable carbohydrates. 

It promotes thermogenesis (he way our bodies convert food to fuel), with specific plant compounds that increase the body's metabolic rate to burn calories faster.

The active ingredient in Turmeric, curcumin, targets low-grade inflammation which can result in various metabolic disorders like obesity. Curcumin is effective in countering this, studies suggest. Curcumin directly interacts with adipocytes, pancreatic cells, hepatic stellate cells, macrophages, and muscle cells. There, it suppresses actions that lead to obesity. Curcumin is also found to be effective in preventing various obesity-related ailments of the heart, kidney and liver. 

 

Yacon Root

(Smallanthus sonchifolius)
Yacon Benefits - Natural Health Guide

Yacon is a sweet tuber, native to South America that is used as a natural and healthier alternative to sugar. It is comprised of roughly 40% - 50% of molecules known as "fructooligosaccharides" (FOS) - sugar molecules that are connected in such a way it makes them unrecognisable to the digestive system. These sugars stimulate the taste buds but a large part of Yacon isn't digested, giving it a much lower calorific value than sugar. 

When FOS enter the large intestine they feed the friendly bacteria in the gut and are known as prebiotic.When these bacteria digest the FOS they produce short chain fatty acids which are known to have powerful anti-obesity effects. A healthy digestive system is incredibly important to a healthy weight loss as it ensures food and waste moves more efficiently through the body.

A human study using Yacon Syrup had extremely positive results as an aid to weight loss. After a period of 120 days, the women in the Yacon Syrup group had lost an average of 33 lbs whilst the women in the placebo group had gained an average of 3.5 lbs. The Yacon group also experienced a decrease of 3.9 inches in their waist measurements, their body mass index (BMI) went from 34 to 28, fasting insulin levels went down by 48% and insulin resistance went down by 67% (a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease). Overall, the women taking Yacon Syrup showed dramatic improvements in both body weight and metabolic health. 

 

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