Everyday in clinic, the powers of herbal medicine continue to amaze me. That carefully hand selected blend of herbs for an individual works to restore balance and a state of wellbeing to the body.
There are so many areas of health and wellbeing that benefit from herbal medicine, so today we are going to chat about herbal medicine and it’s benefit on weight loss.
In a world where everyone is after the quick fix, the magical bullet or the secret ingredient to ever-lasting weight loss, what role does herbal medicines have and does it really work?
Yes it does work… when done correctly
Coleus (Coleus forskohlii)
This herb is one of few plants that contain the active ingredient forskolin. This extract has shown to stimulate an enzyme that activates Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP). This promotes the breakdown of stored fat, increases the body’s thermogenic response to food and increases our basal metabolic rate. Put these three actions together and we can really help to shift that stored body fat.
When using coleus, we need to use a high quality extract that contains the active ingredients forskolin. Without adequate amounts of this active ingredient, then the results just won’t be the same.
This herb’s primary use is as a stimulant for the thyroid due to its high iodine content. The thyroid gland controls our metabolism and the functioning of the thyroid is dependant on iodine. Supporting the efficiency of the thyroid can be a key step in the battle of the bulge. In addition to its iodine content, bladderwrack is also high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sulphur and iron. By improving our nutritional status our body works more efficiently, allowing weight loss to occur naturally.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
Rhodiola is an herb that is steeped in traditional use for its ability to enhance physical and mental strength. Today we class it as an adaptogen in herbal medicine. An adaptogen is a group of herbs that can help your body to adapt to physical, chemical and environmental stressors.
Rhodiola works to burn body fat due to an active ingredient called rosavin. This compound has been shown to stimulate an enzyme called lipase that has the ability to breakdown the fat that is stored in adipose tissue found in the abdominal area. Studies have shown that combining Rhodiola extract with moderate exercise, the breakdown of belly fat is greater than in those exercising alone
Due to its adaptogen actions, Rhodiola will help to increase energy and athletic performance. When it comes to weight loss this is a win-win, it helps you burns belly fat, but also helps you to train to your peak performance.
Rhodiola also works to reduce cortisol levels. When we are stressed, our body increases its cortisol production to help us deal with this stress. Whilst a little bit of cortisol is great, too much of it encourages our body to store fat, especially in the abdominal area. When we support the stress response, we naturally support healthy body fat levels.
These three are just some of my favourite herbs that I use for my weight loss clients, and their results are amazing. Just like all herbs, it is essential that you are taking the correct extract of the herb with standardized levels of the active ingredients. This is often the difference between herbs prescribed by a herbalist or naturopath, compared to supplements that you can buy over the counter at the health food store or pharmacy.
I am a strong believer in treating the individual and what is the right treatment for one person, is not necessarily the right treatment for another person. When formulating a herbal blend for weight loss, I need to also assess the patients hormonal balance, stress levels and other lifestyle factors. I generally like to combine the herbs with some key nutrients that are also supportive of weight loss and general wellbeing.
If this type of customised treatment sounds like something that is right for you, then send me an email. We can have a quick (no obligation) chat to discuss your individual case and see what the best options for you are. From there you can choose to book in to have a one-on-one naturopathic consultation, either in-clinic, on-line, or over the phone.