Are Herbal Weight Loss Products
Good Alternative to Diet
Mainstream medicine is finally taking note of the Herbal
industry. More and more people are taking note of herbal
therapies to treat various kinds of ailments in place
of mainstream medicine. Herbal supplements are a type
of dietary supplement that contain herbs, either singly
or in mixtures. An herb (also called a botanical) is
a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, and/or
Herbal medicine is one
of the oldest forms of medical care known to man.Today,
manufacturers are supplying more and more standardized
herb extracts.Herbs can be prepared in a variety of
forms depending on their purpose. In the United
States , herbal products can be marketed only as food
supplements. A large number of herbs are in use
for their medicinal properties around the world.
Herbal supplements can act in the same way as drugs.
Therefore, they can cause medical problems if not used
correctly or if taken in large amounts. In some cases,
people have experienced negative effects even though
they followed the instructions on a supplement label.Women
who are pregnant or nursing should be especially cautious
about using herbal supplements, since these products
can act like drugs. This caution also applies to treating
children with herbal supplements.It is important to
consult your health care provider before using an herbal
supplement, especially if you are taking any medications
(whether prescription or over-the-counter). Some herbal
supplements are known to interact with medications in
ways that cause health problems. Even if your provider
does not know about a particular supplement, he can
access the latest medical guidance on its uses, risks,
Mentioned below are some of the common and trusted
herbal weight loss supplements:
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Ephedrine is a common ingredient in herbal
supplements used for weight
loss. Ephedrine is used in asthma medicine, as well
as to make methamphetamine, more commonly known as speed.
In fact, there's only a slight difference chemically
between methamphetamine and ephedrine. Ephedrine can
slightly suppress your appetite, but few studies have
shown it to be independently effective in weight loss.Ephedrine
can also be dangerous. It can cause high blood pressure,
irregular heartbeat, insomnia, nervousness, tremors,
seizures, heart attacks, strokes and even death. Ephedrine
can also interact with many prescription and over-the-counter
St. John's Wort
This herbal product is primarily used as an
antidepressant. Few studies have evaluated its effectiveness
for promoting weight loss. St. John's Wort is one of
the primary ingredients in herbal phen-fen.If you are
taking St. John's Wort, you should avoid tyramine containing
foods (for example, aged meats, cheese, wines, etc.).
You should also avoid medications such as Prozac, Zoloft,
Paxil, Effexor, Remeron, Serzone, Buspar, and dextromethorphan
(contained in various cold remedies). The use of St.
John's wort for weight loss is potentially very dangerous.
Found in some over-the-counter herbal weight
loss supplements, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) an extract
from a West African plant has not been proven to effectively
promote weight loss.
Pyruvate is formed in the body during digestion
of carbohydrates and protein from food. It may have
a slight effect in helping you shed pounds, according
to some studies. Found in the form of pyruvic acid,
pyruvate can be found in various foods including red
apples, cheese and red wine. Pyruvate appears to be
safe, but claims of boosting metabolism,
decreasing appetite and aiding in weight loss need further
Most often used as a topical product for wound
healing, oral forms of aloe are added to herbal weight-loss
supplements. Oral aloe produces a strong cathartic response
(producing bowel movements) and many aloe weight-loss
products are marketed as "internal cleansers."
However, aloe or aloe containing products should not
be ingested orally. Use of this agent orally has lead
to side effects such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea,
and problems with the body's mineral balance. In addition,
it can interact with medications such as Lanoxin (digoxin),
a medicine used to treat heart failure. The use of aloe
has not been proven to keep weight off.
Dandelion is a natural diuretic. It may produce
significant weight loss by decreasing body water. However,
it can cause allergic reactions and may even cause cancer.
Made from the seeds of a plant native to Brazil
, guarana speeds up the brain's activity and is used
to promote weight loss due to its stimulant and diuretic
effect. Guarana contains 2.5% to 5% caffeine and may
cause high blood pressure. Some of the extracts have
been known to cause prolonged bleeding and interact
with blood thinner medication such as Coumadin. Many
advertisements state guarana is free from side effects,
however this statement is not true. Side effects from
guarana may include: nausea, dizziness and anxiousness.
Also known as guar, guar flour, and jaguar
gum, guar gum is a dietary fiber obtained from the Indian
cluster bean. Guar gum has been used extensively as
a thickening agent for foods and medications. It has
been noted to decrease appetite by providing a "feeling
of fullness." However, like glucomannan, guar gum
may cause obstruction of the esophagus. The water-retaining
capacity of the gum permits it to swell to 10 to 20
fold and has led to gastrointestinal obstructions. Guar
gum has also been known to cause significant fluctuations
in blood sugar levels, thus people with diabetes should
not use these preparations.
Herbal Weight Loss Supplements - Warning
"Herbal weight loss supplements"
sound safer than "weight loss drugs." Unfortunately,
due to lack of regulation and fewer labeling rules,
it's almost impossible to know exactly what you're taking
when you use herbal weight loss supplements. Indeed,
several ingredients in herbal supplements have been
linked with severe illness, even death.
If you choose to use herbal weight loss pills or supplements,
be sure to consult your doctor BEFOREHAND. Some herbal
ingredients may be inappropriate for you, or may react
with other medications.
Some of the herbal weight loss products featured