Table of Contents
- 1 Before we dive into the details of using herbs for weight loss, there is something very important I want you to understand…
- 2 A Few Words on Diet
- 3 The Hormonal Basics of Weight Loss
- 4 The Mental and Emotional Side of Fat Loss
- 5 Eating Habits…Not Diet
- 6 Our #1 Pick of Herbs for Weight Loss – Gynostemma
- 7 Our #2 Pick of Herbs for Weight Loss – Shilajit
- 8 Our #3 Pick of Herbs for Weight Loss – Triphala
- 9 Appetite and Craving Control
- 10 Why does this occur?
Before we dive into the details of using herbs for weight loss, there is something very important I want you to understand…
If you’re looking for an herb that will ‘auto-magically’ help you shed 30 pounds overnight, I’m here to tell you, it’s not going to happen. Herbs can and will provide amazing results, but those results must be realistic, so keep your expectations in check.
If you want to lose 30 lbs. overnight there are only two routes to do that. Amputation or liposuction!
And I’m guessing you’re not willing to pay the price for either of those extreme measures. Thus, it is essential you are clear as to what you are willing to do, or won’t do to reach your weight loss goal.
The basics are the basics for a reason. Shortly, I’ll be covering what I believe the basics to be, though other people may debate this topic.
At best, when it comes to using herbs for weight loss, they are a 10% solution. Probably more likely a 5% solution. They are the cherry on top that can make the difference but won’t overhaul your results by themselves.
A Few Words on Diet
Gaining and losing weight is mostly about the foods you eat. It’s not ONLY about that, but it’s pretty much it. In this modern age, you literally have thousands of diets to select from. Each one of them works differently — some people may get results, others may not.
There are countless diet strategies out there, such as “calories in and calories out.” While calories can be a useful metric to look at, other people have pointed out that it’s not this simple (just look at the concept of feed efficiency in farmed animals, it’s clearly not the case). There are other ways of losing weight that doesn’t count calories at all.
I won’t belabor any of that except to say that the one thing most diets have in common and is that they are good for health- not just weight loss, is to eat “healthier” foods. Unfortunately, that is a hazy word and ill-defined. Many times, I talk to clients and they tell me they eat healthily. I have to say I have no idea what that means…to them. I must ask a lot more questions about the specifics to understand what they mean as healthy.
In general, as a principle, it starts with foods that didn’t exist 200 years ago. In doing so, you’re going to get fewer calories and more micronutrients. Essentially, you’re going to be eating foods that allow for a normal healthy body weight.
The Hormonal Basics of Weight Loss
But as mentioned, food is not everything. If your hormones are all out of whack than it doesn’t matter if you eat 100% clean.
Hormones are the signals that tell your body how to assimilate, to store, or to use energy. In short, they signal your body to store fat or use it up.
To properly support weight loss, through the various chemical signaling that occurs, you need to look at all of these areas:
Once again, these basics are the basics for a reason. They’re important not just for weight loss, but for overall health in general.
The Mental and Emotional Side of Fat Loss
Despite our materialistic world, the thing we can’t quite pin down (aka consciousness) also has a huge impact here. How you think and how you feel directly impacts your stress hormones, which in turn, impacts everything else. And that’s just one layer of how this works.
The world of diet is full of “should’s.” I should eat this. I shouldn’t eat that. These mental judgments can override even our bodily signals about what “it” knows is best for it.
This world is a world of emotional eating. Feel bad? You are only an ice cream away from feeling better. Feel good? Great, let’s celebrate with an ice cream.
More often than not, the mental and emotional side of fat loss is the weak point areas that must be addressed for lasting change. More often than not, these are the same places that most people ignore, as they are too busy focusing on the next diet fad, or magic pills that promise the fat will just melt off instantly-without changing your lifestyle!
Eating Habits…Not Diet
Diets are not sustainable. To go back and forth – on a diet- off a diet is an odd way of going about things.
Instead, I like to think in terms of eating habits. What do you habitually eat? What do you habitually not eat? This also includes your psychological habits of thinking/feelings about food too.
Personally, fast food isn’t even on the list of possibilities for me anymore. Many years back it, was an occasional thing. Further years back, it was a “several times a week” habit.
Nowadays, there are things (such as chips) that may not be the healthiest option, but I do eat them from time to time. It’s one of my loser habits — eating things I know that are not necessarily the best for me. I make no claims to perfection…though some of us are closer than others 😉
And there are good eating habits too. Eating a large number of veggies every day is a pretty solid habit for me, and that does serve my health. Although there are times when I get off my routine (like when I’m traveling sometimes), but as a habit, I snap right back into it.
Virtually everything I eat at home is organic or better! I didn’t start off this way, but I built up this habit over time.
To improve your eating habits, think about adding small, new good habits to your routine. Over time, you can work on letting go some of your bad eating habits.
This way, in the long term, and I’m talking years sometimes, you’ll have eating habits that ‘auto-magically’ support you being at your ideal weight.
And one or more, of your new good habits, may include using some of the following herbs for weight loss…
Our #1 Pick of Herbs for Weight Loss – Gynostemma
Our top pick of the herbs available for supporting a healthy weight is gynostemma, for a variety of reasons.
First of all, this is something you brew into a tea (technically, an infusion as it’s not related to the tea plant), at least in the form we provide it in. But unlike coffee or black/green/white tea, it doesn’t have any caffeine. While caffeine has it’s used, hydrating the body isn’t one of them. Therefore, by drinking gynostemma throughout the day it will support your body being better hydrated which makes everything run better. But you could just drink water for that, so let’s move onto the interesting and unique benefits of gynostemma.
Gynostemma is full of ginsenosides, which are some of the saponins also found inside ginseng. Because ginseng is so popular it drives the price up for good quality stuff (while most of what is on the market is crap. Hint: if you’re getting ginseng from a 7-11 or gas station, it’s not good!). Yet, because it is comparatively unknown, gynostemma has been called ‘cheap ginseng’ for this purpose, as you can get many of the benefits at a fraction of the cost. This help provides some of the adaptogenic effects that we won’t even address here.
In addition, gynostemma also has gypenosides which are responsible for other functions including helping normalize insulin signaling. In four weeks of receiving tea, compared to a placebo control group, those having the gynostemma tea reduced glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity. 
Other trials have shown it has helped in fat loss. Some of the compounds inside, including damulins A and B, activate AMPK (5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase). AMPK is responsible for increasing fat metabolism while slowing fat synthesis. In layman’s term, it increases your use of fat stores while causing less to be stored. 
In one double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 80 obese men and women, those on gynostemma saw significant decreases in weight, body fat and BMI. Here they used actiponin™, an extract of gynostemma which has those damulins in it. 
In another single-blind placebo-controlled trial, 56 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver were investigated for four months. The group on the gynostemma extract saw significant differences in BMI, triglycerides, insulin and fatty liver scores. 
Overall, the studies on this are still sparse, but so far it’s looking good. Remember, this is going to be at max a 10% change, and likely less. But if you make drinking gynostemma tea a new habit to go along with all the other basics, it can very likely help.
And remember, this is just a few of the many benefits this tea offers!
Our #2 Pick of Herbs for Weight Loss – Shilajit
Next up in our list of herbs which can help shed fat is the destroyer of weakness and the conqueror of mountains, Shilajit.
This miraculous substance from Ayurvedic medicine is noted primarily for its effects in increasing energy. Many people will notice it immediately after consuming either the Shilajit Powder or Shilajit Resin.
Preliminary research shows that the fulvic acids, humic acids, and dibenzo-α-pyrones it contains increase mitochondria respiration.[5,6] If you’re not familiar with them, mitochondria are the powerhouses inside of all of your cells, which are responsible for churning out ATP, the energy molecule that drives everything we do.
Many people report being able to get by, meaning they have ample energy while eating less food when they consume Shilajit.
With Shilajit, we also see action on insulin and blood sugar levels. Once again, there is only preliminary research, as done on rats, but in one study it showed a blood glucose lowering effect, as well as benefits to the lipid profile. 
Shilajit brings even more benefits. It is rich in trace minerals which many diets are deficient in. These minerals have many functions within the human body, only some of which are known. And if you don’t have the minerals present, the body simply can’t function at an optimal level. It is certain that some of these functions have to do with fat metabolism.
And Shilajit is great for detoxification. The fulvic and humic acids are known heavy metal chelators. As heavy metals can have disruptive effects on the human physiology, this can be another helpful step.
Which one is better, resin or powder? Unfortunately, we can’t give you a definitive answer. Different customers of ours have liked each option for these purposes. That being said, I will mention that mixing a teaspoon or two of powdered shilajit in water and sipping on this throughout the day is an excellent weight loss strategy to use.
Our #3 Pick of Herbs for Weight Loss – Triphala
Triphala is an Ayurvedic formula of three different fruits: Amalaki, Haritaki, and Bhibitaki. It has stood the test of time and is considered one of the most valuable herbal preparations in the world.
It is considered a rejuvenative, as well as a detoxifier. To use the Ayurvedic terms it supports Agni, the digestive and cellular fire, as well as removes Ama, toxic byproducts due to incomplete digestion. More specifically, it is great for supporting digestion, and in larger doses, is a laxative.
It also happens to be the least expensive herb we sell!
In a study with rats, Triphala helped mitigate the weight gain of a high-fat diet, while improving cholesterol and blood glucose levels.  And in a small human study, similar results were also attained. 
Another placebo-controlled human trial with 62 obese subjects, found that Triphala helped reduce body weight, BMI, waist and hip circumference over a 12 week period. 
It is also useful to note that in Ayurveda Shilajit and Triphala are often combined.
Only $74.00 when you buy the bundle! That is a savings of $13.97
Appetite and Craving Control
This is a roundabout way in which herbs can help with weight loss, by mitigating cravings or suppressing appetite.
I’m reminded of a story from a friend of mine who took Athena Women’s Formula. She wrote:
“Lack of Cravings: I’ve been making a major shift in my eating habits and one of the biggest changes was to eliminate sugar from my diet. I’ve tried this multiple times before with varying success, but I’ve never been able to stick with it for more than a few weeks because the cravings were just too unpleasant. I can tell you that I’ve been off sugar now for over a month and have had very few cravings for sugar, and none after the first week. I’m not 100% sure that Athena is responsible for this, but it is the only differentiating factor that I can think of between this time and all the other times I’ve tried in the past. Seriously, this has been mind-blowing for me. It’s a game changer in how easy this shift in eating habits has been for me. I lost 12 pounds in the first month, not because of Athena, but taking Athena definitely is helping me stick to my goals.”
And that was just one of the benefits she received.
Why does this occur?
Freeing up energy, so you don’t feel the need for food as much, either through phytochemistry, vitamins or minerals. Often times, a craving is striving to get something our body needs. But with our mineral-deficient, hyper-processed foods, and years of eating habits of this kind, many cravings we have, don’t really satisfy what the body is really craving for optimal function. It’s like our crave-o-meter is broken.
But the herbs can certainly change appetite and cravings. In addition to actually changing fat metabolism to some degree, this may be the most powerful effect of weight loss that herbs can offer. Not to mention, the changes in mindset and mood they also bring, which impacts that mental/emotional side of things.
Notice that Athena doesn’t have any of the above-mentioned herbs. But that doesn’t mean it can’t help here either. As a well-rounded formula, it is doing a bit of everything. There are still other herbs that could be recommended for assisting in weight loss. Rhodiola, Eleuthero, Schisandra, are a few that come to mind. There are others we don’t carry that could certainly make the cut too. There are more herbs that can aid in detoxification, digestion, and energy.
For guys, the Phoenix formula is a good single place to start. It’s got the shilajit, but plenty more.
If you’re looking for one place to begin, the above formulas may be the place to start. And if you want more focus on weight loss, than add one, or all of the above three herbs I just mentioned to the mix.
Remember, using herbs for weight loss won’t make up for a lack of the basics. But if you consume these herbs in addition to working on all the basics, you can achieve great results.
- Huyen, V. T., Phan, D. V., Thang, P., Hoa, N. K., & Östenson, C. G. (2010). Antidiabetic Effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum Tea in Randomly Assigned Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 42(05), 353-357.
- Guahar R, et al. Heat-processed Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract improves obesity in ob/ob mice by activating AMP-activated protein kinase. Biotechnol Lett. 2012 Sep;34(9):1607-16.
- Park SH, et al. Antiobesity effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract (actiponin): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jan;22(1):63-71.
- Chou SC, et al. The add-on effects of Gynostemma pentaphyllum on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 May-Jun;12(3):34-9.
- Visser SA. Effect of humic substances on mitochondrial respiration and oxidative phosphorylation. Sci Total Environ. 1987 Apr;62:347-54.
- Stohs SJ. Safety and efficacy of shilajit (mumie, moomiyo). Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):475-9.
- N. A. Trivedi, B. Mazumdar, J. D. Bhatt, K. G. Hemavathi. Effect of shilajit on blood glucose and lipid profile in alloxan- Effect of shilajit on blood glucose and lipid profile in alloxan-induced diabetic rats induced diabetic rats. Department of Pharmacology, Medical College, Baroda, India
- Gurjar S, Pal A, Kapur S. Triphala and its constituents ameliorate visceral adiposity from a high-fat diet in mice with diet-induced obesity. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012 Nov-Dec;18(6):38-45.
- V. Kuchewar. EFFICACY AND SAFETY STUDY OF TRIPHALA IN PATIENTS OF DYSLIPIDEMIA: A PILOT PROJECT Int. J. Res. Ayurveda Pharm. 8 (Suppl 3), 2017
- S.H. Kamali, A.R.Khalaj, S. Hasani-Ranjbar, et al. Efficacy of ‘Itrifal Saghir’, a combination of three medicinal plants in the treatment of obesity; A randomized controlled trial. Daru. 2012; 20(1): 33.