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Ask the Herbalist--Weight Loss

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FROM CARLOS:
QUESTION
: I have a quick question about a weight loss supplement that a friend of mine is interested in.  She is struggling with her metabolism and tries to eat healthy, does aerobic exercise 3 days per week, and does yoga 3 days per week.  She has found a supplement that contains CLA, grapefruit oil, Flax seed oil, and vitamin b12 that is supposedly developed specifically for women.  Is there any reason why she should not take these? Thank you!

ANSWER: Not that I know of, but then again I do not know her past medical history nor have I done an evaluation to determine what is best for her individually, so the only thing I can say is that generally she should be okay with taking this.

QUESTION: I am trying to figure out if there are some herbs that can safely  assist me in my attempts to lose weight. I need something that is not like a stimulant that will temporarily decrease my appetite, cause a chemical dependence and cause me to gain my weight and more back as soon as I get off of it (I was on Adderall XR in the past for attention problems, what a nightmare!). I have been working with a dietitian to figure out why I am so hungry all the time. I have increased protein and fiber, started cooking more at home and eating out less. I still find myself hungry a LOT and always grazing on something. As far as other health issues go, I have hypothyroidism and depression/anxiety. I am taking medications for both of these conditions. Thank you. I sincerely appreciate your input

ANSWER: It is not so much what you take as what you do not take. The first thing to do is adopt a healthy diet. Towards that end, I suggest avoiding red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods. Avoid also processed foods, chocolates and chips. Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation.

This is the first step that needs to be taken in losing weight.  Some meds  and some medical conditions may cause you to gain weight, since you do not mention which meds you are taking, I would advise you to consult with your doctors before making any radical changes. You may benefit by drinking Green tea and adding 15 drops extract or tincture of Dandelion root 3xs day, sweeten only with a bit of honey or Stevia. the Dandelion in this case will help clean toxins from your body. You should drink these infusions for 5 days.

Follow a proper diet. Enhance your diet by including in your diet fresh oily fishes (mackerel, salmon, halibut, tuna, anchovies). Also eat plenty of Locally grown chicken, turkey, Cornish hen; include fresh garlic, onions and fresh ginger in your diet. Eat plenty of locally grown fruit and vegetables; and drink plenty of fresh water. Include Flax seed in your diet (its real good in oatmeal). You must find a way to devote 15 minutes a day to exercise. Be it walking, jogging, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong.

Other than this, there are several herbs and herbal formulas that you may benefit from, but I would be only generalizing and it may not be enough. I suggest that you allow me to do an evaluation and then develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Since you are on meds it is far better to proceed in this fashion, it is also unprofessional and not in your best interest if we did it any differently.

QUESTION: Iím so excited to have by chance come across your website. Iím from Gauteng Province in South Africa.  Iím an obese 54 yr old woman weighing 220 lb, height 1.68m.  I would like to know which herbs I can use to lose weight and also to control my high blood pressure. At the moment I take 1 tablet daily for BP.  Also where can I get all these herbs here in South Africa. I stay in the town called Springs.

ANSWER: There are several herbs that would prove of great benefit to you. My first suggestion is that you eat fresh garlic daily, in the alternative take the herb in tablet form 2-3 tablets per day. Garlic thins the blood, reduces fatty deposits and lowers blood pressure. Add ginger to your diet daily, it improves circulation to the capillaries. And drink Green tea adding 15 drops extract of Hawthorn and 10 drops
extract of Gingko 3xs day. Sweeten only with a small amount of honey. Gingko aids in circulation and reduces blood pressure.

Hawthorn is perhaps the best heart remedy there is. It may take some months, but it will in many cases return blood pressure to normal. It also aids in weight reduction.

Avoid foods that stagnate the system, such as: Red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods.

Sorry I have no idea where you can obtain these herbs in South Africa. Here's a link that will be able to help: http://www.herbclass.com/aboutus.html

 

QUESTION: I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant . I want to know if I can breastfeed my baby while taking Bojenmi Chinese  tea. I desperately  want to lose weight. 

ANSWER: Unfortunately Sonya, Bojenmi tea may reduce milk production, and so it should not be taken when you are breastfeeding.  Follow a good diet and follow a good exercise plan.

QUESTION: I am writing from the island of Malta.  I wish you could help me, I am overweight and doing all I can to lose weight, is there any herbal remedy that can assist me in my quest?

ANSWER: Following a proper diet is the best way to lose weight, of course, this also includes an exercise plan. Avoid foods that stagnate the system, such as: Red meats, white sugar, pork, all dairy and all fried foods.  Drink Bonjenmi tea 3xs daily, adding 15 drops of extract of Hawthorn. Sweeten only with honey. Enhance your diet with plenty of fresh fish, fresh garlic and onions, brown rice, raw or steamed fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Begin an exercise plan with low level exercises, like jogging, walking, Yoga, Tai chi, or Qi Gong.  If hunger overtakes you eat plain yogurt or unsalted crackers.

QUESTION: I have researching to find my answer with no luck so I am emailing with hopes that your experts can help.  I have put on about 20 lbs over the last year as a direct result of eating at night.  I have had problems sleeping for the longest and have taken valerian, melatonin, and passion flower.  Sometimes it helps, other times not.  My problem is that I am starving at night.  I will eat several times from 10 til even 3 in the morning.  It is not eating out of boredom in the middle of the night, I am really hungry! I must mention that I take Adderall.  I am sure this is frowned upon by the herbal community, but I suffered from severe fatigue and a total lack of energy.  I tried everything from vitamins, herbs, etc... My work ethic was affected, my interaction with my daughter, my entire life was horrible as I had no energy to do anything.  When all else failed, my doctor put me on Adderall and it has helped tremendously.  My question is not about a replacement for Adderall, it is about an herb that would curb my appetite at night and will not keep me awake.  All of the herbs that I have read about that curb your appetite also give you energy.  I need to sleep so an energizer would not work for me.  Is there an herb that will control these urges to eat and stop the late night hunger?  I am positive that my weight gain is from eating like a horse during the night and not burning off the calories by laying in the bed.  This is very important to me and would ask that someone email me soon if possible.  Thank you so much.

ANSWER: It is not so much when you eat, as to what you eat, and how much you exercise. Avoid anything containing white sugar! 

Exercising late at night may be an option. A low-level regimen of Tai Chi may do you a world of good, as would a bit of meditation before going to sleep.Your local library will have books and videos on these. 

Do not eat before you go to bed. Do not drink liquids before you retire. Long warm baths 30 minutes before going to sleep may also be of help. Add to these 20 drops of essential oil of Lavender. 

I would suggest the combination of Lemon balm and adding 15 drops of extract of Linden flower one hour before bedtime.  sweeten only with a bit of honey.  If you cannot find the extract then use the leaves.

FROM AMANDA:
QUESTION:
I have been working out and watching my calories for 3 months but still have not lost the 10lbs I gained last year. Is there a herb that I can use to boost this weight lose?

ANSWER: There is no one magic herb or even a fail proof formula for weight loss despite advertising claims to the contrary. You are on the right track. Cinnamon sprinkled on apple slices will help with balancing blood sugar to reduce cravings or overeating. Enjoy real food, drop dairy, eat small protein meals, and keep exercising!

FROM LORYHL:
QUESTION: My question is i had a complete hystorectomy in 1994 and havent taken premerin in years.. i have gained so much weight and have tried every thing from walking diet  to not eating at all to lose it and it wont come off dr said i was borderline diabetic and left it at that can you help me get this weight off with natural herbs? and get my insulin levels where they need to be?

ANSWER:

Hi
Thank you for the email. I suggest the following:
- download the sheet, for daily eating suggestions, incorperate this into your life, a little or a lot at a time
- realize the foods we are eating have been poisoned, by sugar and corn syrup, MSG and more chemicals etc
- carvings for the wrong food are caused by the poisons, stress, etc
- read the Book, "You on a Diet", especially the part on inflammation
- go to the EFT web site, Emotional Freedom Technique, this simple yet powerful technique wwill help you stop the cravings for foods, that are wrong for you
- listen to your body, and pay close attention to what it is telling you, what agrees with you and what does not, perhaps dairy, and wheat products are not agreeing with you? You will know.
- we have the herbs you will need to complete and balance your body systems, Life Force Fiber Food, Green Mix ( high ORAC value), Invigorating tea, Alpha Lipoic acid, COQ10, all of these suggestions will help you to overcome the tiredness and feel better
- herbs for the female body, that has had a hysterectomy, herbs for the thyroid
- go to a acupuncturist to see what they say about your body, find a reputable one that people have been to and like alot.

Cleansing Program, Suggested to Detox;
As with all changes in your diet, first consult your Physician

Do the below diet for as long as you can.  After you have done this for a minimim of two weeks, do the following Gall Bladder Flush: for 5 days do the following; eat only the fruit, and after 5 days of fruits, then for two days,  every hour for nine hours each day, ( or if you want to drink it all at once, at  bedtime lay on your left side, and drink Ĺ c extra virgin olive oil, Ĺ c prune juice and one half lemon juice fresh squeezed) or for the nine hours, every hour, drink , 2 tblspns, olive oil, with 1 tblspn lemon, and ľ c prune juice. 
Diet to Follow before oil flush for 5 Days:

Eat only fruit and soaked almonds, fresh. About 10 almonds daily, and as much fruit as you want, except only 1 banana per day. Have apples, oranges, peaches, berries, avocado, pears, apricots, cherries, etc.

Take the life force fiber food, 1 tspn 6-10 times daily, take all other suggested herbs and tea and drinks as well.  Deep breathe, walk barefoot in grass or sand at least 10-15 minutes per day, or lay on the ground.  This will recenter your body, with electromagnetic energy, and improve over all vitality.

SUGGESTED PH REGULATING DIET SHEET FOR HUMANS
 

Eat a 75% raw diet.
In other words, on your plate: 25% cooked food, or protein, lots of salads, raw veggies, steamed veggies, season with garlic and herbs, extra virgin olive oil (on all of your food), use 1 tblspn per 40 lbs of body weight, daily, of extra virgin olive oil, and/or other cold pressed oil, must be highest quality. Eat a lot of green beans and zucchini, and season with ginger root as much as you can, this helps your body regulate insulin levels, if you need to fry something use virgin coconut oil, it holds heat and is better for you , use in baking or other salads as well.  Also use a lot of turmeric in food or a teaspoon in Life Force Blend a couple of times daily, this will help inflammation and regulate insulin and bowel health.

Every Morning:
Take vitamins and pills and drink for breakfast the following:
When you first get up, scrub off two lemons, add 3 cups water, and 1/2 c maple syrup and put in the blender, add 6 raw garlic cloves, and one 1/2 bunch parsley (this will save your bad breath from scaring anyone) store extra lemon drink in fridge and every morning drink 1 heaping tblspn with 1/2 c. warm water, do this for one year, this will help immune system, mucous reduction, inflammation, and high cholesterol and high blood pressure

*Take Life Force Fiber Food, 1 heaping teaspoon 3 times daily, in water or diluted juice.
*Take Evening Primrose capsules, 3 two times daily.
*Take milk thistle seeds pills- 3 two times daily
*Take other herb pills, herbal teas or tinctures as needed
*After the lemon juice, wait about 1/2 hr and then have breakfast

Breakfast:
Get soy milk, non GMO or Rice Milk, put 1 cup in blender with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 scoops whey protein, frozen berries of any kind ( anti oxidant and good for men and good for diabetes, non sweetened of course) good for women too, add one scoop of super greens powder

Or:

Have a homemade vegetable soup with brown rice, or steamed veggies with brown rice for breakfast, 10 soaked, with skin on almonds
Lunchtime:
Salad, steamed veggies, rice, a protein, fish, etc use less meat and more nuts, seeds, and eat avocado, every day

Dinner:

Same as above or vary, you may have breakfast for supper or supper for breakfast etc 

THE IDEA OF THIS SUGGESTED DIET PLAN IS TO FILL YOUR BODY WITH LIVE ENZYMES AND HEALTHY NUTRITIOUS FOODS, YOU WILL CHANGE THE PH OF YOUR BODY FROM ACID TO ALKALINE, AND THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR HEALTH! 

Let us know if we can help further

ANSWERS FROM KAREN
QUESTION: What are the best herbs to help with weight loss?   I am currently taking chickweed three times a day and drinking lots of water.

ANSWER: Weight loss involves several things, but if you aren't dieting and exercising, then no herbs are going to help you. Chickweed has appetite suppression properties. Dandelion root is an excellent diuretic as well as a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Senna, Cascara Sagrada, psyllium husks and flax seed are helpful purgative herbs to cleanse the colon, but should not be used for more than 2 weeks.

LATE NIGHT SALADS
QUESTION: I was told by my acupuncturist not to eat salad late at night since it will cause weight gain and stomach upset since I have trouble sleeping.  Is there validity to this? Thank you. 

ANSWER: I've never heard anything like that. There must be more to the story. Unless you are drowning your salad in fatty dressings, I can't see them causing weight gain. Of course, you shouldn't be eating too close to bed time anyhow as it can interfere with sleep. Your body needs time to digest what you've eaten, so a good rule of thumb is, don't eat within 3 hours of going to bed.

QUESTION:
I am trying to lose weight and would like some suggestions beside diet and
exercise to help me out.  Can you recommend something?

ANSWER:
That depends. Are you already dieting and exercising? If not, then no herb is going to magically help you lose weight. If you are, you might try chickweed to help curb your appetite, dandelion root to help flush your system, psyllium and senna to cleanse your colon, and ginseng for extra energy. Or you could order my Skinny Me Tea! In the Apothecary at http://www.allgoodegifts.com/.

QUESTION: I am breastfeeding.  Is there an herb that will facilitate weight loss, especially around the midsection, without affecting the breast milk?

ANSWER: Sorry, the only way that tummy fat is coming off is by exercise and diet. Crunches and walking are the best things you can do to help you loose the paunch. No herbs target particular areas of fat, so if you've read that, it isn't true. Of course, as part of your diet regimen, you may want to add some chickweed, which is an appetite suppressant.
 
QUESTION: I am 45 lbs overweight an for my anniversary I asked for a treadmill.  So for 2 weeks I have walked 1 mile at 5am and 1.75 miles at 7:30pm.  That is 2.75 miles a day.  I have been watching what I eat.  So I get on the scales to weigh and I have only lost 1 lb.  Am I walking too much????  Please help.

ANSWER: There's no such thing as walking too much, unless you have blisters on your feet. Especially if you are overweight. You didn't say how fast you're walking, but if you aren't going at least 3.0 MPH, you probably aren't working up a sweat. It isn't only one thing and 2 weeks is hardly enough time to tell.
 
You need to eliminate all white sugar, white flour and artificial sweeteners from your diet. Lots of green leafy veggies. Keep it up with the treadmill. Try adjusting the incline, if you can. That will help you work more. You should be working up a sweat and getting your heart rate up. If you are just leisurely strolling, you are getting exercise, but not enough to take off that much weight. Also, you didn't put 45 pounds on in a month. Count on 6-12 months of concerted effort to take it off and keep it off. But it can be done. Just stay consistent.

QUESTION:
I am having some issues I wonder if you can advise.  I have put on quite a bit of weight over the past year.  At least over 60 lbs. For the past few months I have been having severe fatigue.  Severe, to the point I have to struggle to stay awake in the afternoon.  I am having mood swings as well as occasional swelling in my legs.  I have also reached the point that I have some kind of 'mystery rash' all over my body.  Very dry areas that itch.  I am scratching myself bloody.  I have a history of thyroid problem in my family on my mothers side.  Do you think this could be what is going on with me? Please advise.

ANSWER: Wow! With all these extreme symptoms, (60 lbs in one year is quite a bit of weight), have you been to see a medical professional at all? Has there been some extreme life change recently? I don't diagnose, sorry. My suggestion is that you seek professional medical advice and at least have some blood work done to see what's going on. When you have a firm diagnosis, I may be able to make suggestions.

QUESTION: 
would like to find a herbal formula for weight loss. I have had a weight issue my entire life. I was always the (chubby) kid. The only diet that has ever worked for me was the fasting type. 5 shakes a day that had a 100 calories each. The first time I did this It was for 11 months. I have done every diet there is, exercised faithfully and still nothing works. I have willpower that others only dream about, I can stick to
a diet for months lose a little and then nothing. I build muscle like crazy (and yes I do low weights lots of reps) I have had personal trainers even. Its just a constant yo-yo- Unless I starve myself 24/7 I gain the weight back. I got excess skin (Tummy Tuck) removed about four years ago because of weight loss. The Dr. who did the operation was amazed at my muscle in my stomach in her 15 years of doing surgeries I am the only patient who she has not had to tighten their stomach muscles. She told me later that I was built like a brick house. I firmly believe that I have an underactive thyroid. I have been tested several times by different doctors and they always say its fine. I know a lot of the time those type of tests can come back incorrectly. I do feel I have a lot of the signs. Always tired, fatigued, cold especially my feet, very forgetful, difficulty concentrating, depression, etc. I did get diagnosed with adult ADD, but I feel a lot of the symptoms of ADD are associated with underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and that maybe I was misdiagnosed. I'm just tired of working my butt off and seeing no results. For as much muscle as I have I should be burning fat like crazy. I'm currently about 60 pounds over weight. I really would like a solution to this and was wondering if you  offer a herbal formula to speed up the thyroid, weight loss, and something to help your stomach feel full. I
would really like you to contact me. I would like for you to make a product for me that I could use.

ANSWER: Without a proper diagnosis, assuming you have a particular malady because you show some of the same symptoms is a little dangerous. That's how folks get into trouble. You might want to find a Naturopath or homeopath and have them do a blood test. I've found that the ranges medical doctors use to define low normal and high are much broader than those of the health community. Where you may appear in the normal range from your doctor's levels, a Naturopath may diagnose you as too low. But you need the firm diagnosis before you start trying to treat something.
 
You said you've dieted, but you didn't really go into your actual diet. What are you eating? And how much? Caffeine can interfere with your body's ability to process glucose and can affect the insulin levels, so more than 1 cup a day is a no no. Artificial sweeteners? These things have been proven to contribute to weight gain, especially Aspartame, so if you are chugging down diet sodas, stop it and instead, consume pure, filtered water. I don't ever drink anything out of a tap. Fruits and veggies - pure, no sauces or sugar added. How much of this are you eating a day? And check the salad dressing. I can almost guarantee, unless you are using straight vinegar and oil, that there's probably sugar in it, spelled high fructose corn syrup. What about preservatives and white flour? This stuff is like poison to your body and should be eliminated, not only for weight control, but for your overall health as well.
 
Exercise - You say you do weight training, which is great, but how much cardio-vascular are you getting in? How much walking do you do? It's important to do both to keep your heart and lungs healthy.
 
OK. Assuming you are doing all of the above, consistently - that means no binging and eating a bag of cookies under cover of night. (I've been there, I know!) There are several herbs that may be helpful. First, no herb is going to "burn the fat", so let's not go there. Chickweed is purported to be an appetite suppressant. So if you are only eating lean meats, but your portion is half a chicken, the chickweed might be helpful. Psyllium husks help flush the fat out of the body, assuming you are drinking at least 10 glasses of water a day. Yep, I said 10. Otherwise, it may just bloat you up. Celery seed is also an appetite suppressant so that may be helpful as well. You didn't say if you are eliminating regularly, but if not, certainly things like butternut and Senna, cascara sagrada and psyllium will help with that as well.
 
If you do all these things, and do them religiously, I can't imagine that you wouldn't lose any weight. You are doing something to sabotage the weight loss, though I'm not sure what it might be. (The 5 diet shakes a day was a little scary). Concentrate on a healthy diet of veggies, lean meat and fresh fruit and exercise every day. Get your heart going for at least 20 minutes.


QUESTION
: Eating does not satisfy my appetite.  Are there any herbs that are effective as an appetite suppressant?  If so how do they work.  Is the use considered as short or long term therapy?  What is the availability of these products?

ANSWER: Chickweed is purported to suppress the appetite. You can find it in any herb store either in capsules or as a tea. Of course it's quite possible that the appetite you cannot satisfy is a sugar craving and not appetite at all. In this case, chickweed is not going to be of much help. Just something to think about.

QUESTION: Do you know of any herbs that would help to tighten skin after weight loss?

ANSWER: No, but weight training with light weights and lots of reps will do wonders for it!

QUESTION: I recently started taking a weight loss supplement called Suvaril. It doesn't seem to have anything harmful in it and I am taking it with other prescription meds. Can you tell me anything about Suvaril and the herbs it contains?

ANSWER: I'm not familiar with the product, but my research shows it is basically vitamins and green tea extract, ginseng root, banaba root extract and vanadium. The benefits of green tea extract are many, not the least of which is the anti-oxidant properties. Banaba leaf is purported to aid in the control of blood sugar and insulin production in the body. Ginseng is an immune stimulant and helps the body handle stress, which can affect weight. In my opinion, it's just one in a long line of weight loss products that makes claims it cannot substantiate. Weight loss will only come by eating a healthy diet and exercise, period. Nothing else is going to provide long term benefits.

QUESTION:
Hi. I am 20 years old and about 30 lbs overweight. I started gaining weight when I began working in a fast food restaurant. I would like to know what herb or natural supplement I could take to help me boost my metabolism and get myself back into that healthy weight zone.

ANSWER: The best way for you to get back into that healthy weight zone is to watch what you put in your mouth and exercise every day. At 20, your metabolism shouldn't need any boosting.  My guess is that sugar is probably what's causing the feelings of lethargy and lack of energy. Cut the white flour, white sugar and artificial sweeteners out of your diet to start. Stay away from the fast food, even if you work there. Most fast food joints have healthy choices like salads and grilled, not fried foods.  Herbs are not a cure-all. If you put garbage into your body and don't exercise, no herb in the world is going to help you. Try cleaning up your diet and see if that doesn't work wonders for you. Also, since you are a young woman, you should be getting plenty of iron. Make sure you are taking a good supplement. Also, plenty of Vitamins A, C, and E.

QUESTION: I am looking for information about weight loss. Are there any herbs that will help with weight loss?

ANSWER:
 
The following herbs are helpful if and only if, you are following a healthy diet and are exercising every day. If not, don't waste your money:
Chickweed, Celery seeds, Psyllium husk, Horsetail, Fennel seeds, White Willow bark

         Chickweed: Chickweed is an appetite suppressant. It also cleanses artery-clogging plaque from blood vessels and can break down and flush fat substances from the body.

  • Celery seeds: Celery seeds stimulate your metabolism and cause your body to use energy so that less of it is converted to fat. Celery can also prevent muscle spasms to support your exercising. It is a diuretic, to cleanse your body of toxins.
  • Horsetail grass: Horsetail has been traditionally used in weight loss diets. It also maintains healthier bones, for people whose skeletons are stressed by extra weight.
  • Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds help the bowel to adapt to the mild diuretic and laxative effect of this blend. It reduces spasm and may be helpful when exercising.
  • White Willow bark: If excess weight stresses your joints, or you are starting a new exercise program, you will be prone to aches and muscle soreness. White Willow contains salicin, the derivative of aspirin, for pain relief, but without irritating your stomach.
  • Psyllium husk: Psyllium husk suppresses your appetite by making you feel full. When psyllium comes into contact with stomach acid, it swells up, filling your tummy. The fiber in psyllium can remove fat substances from the body.

QUESTION: What is the best herb to take just as an appetite suppressant?  Thanks so much!

ANSWER: Guarana and kola nut are the only appetite suppressants I can think of. Of course healthy eating habits are critical for weight loss. Also, avoid artificial sweeteners as it has been discovered that they actually increase hunger.

QUESTION:
 
My problem is over weight. I am 28 yrs old and 5'9". I am ok overall but my upper body is quite...mmmm..jelly like.  My waist is 40". Too much for me. I am like that since my childhood. The tummy is soft and quite adaptable. I can  wear pants of 35" waist but my tummy then pops up in such a funny way. plus that my chest though hairy but look more like breasts and its embarrassing. Through out my life I have tried what I could. Am not much interested in sports but I did walk and jog a lot. Have gone through a
lot of diet plans. They proved to be just for the time being. I'm not an over eater. Normal human diet. Being Pakistani vegetables, pulses and meat is a regular part of diet and  family do care a lot in not taking much
butter/oils. When I am on diet the tummy sort off drops down, it's different than loosing inches, it remains the same.   Secondly I feel sexually weak now. It may be due to my work as I am a media researcher and have to sit a lot. Please tell me something which has no side effects. Some one told me that aloe vera is good for controlling weight. Please help me out. Are belts good for controlling the over-whelming tummy?

ANSWER: Part of your issue could be the lack of exercise. I know I sit at a desk in front of a computer for over 10 hours a day, so I have to make exercise a priority.

Some herbs that are helpful with weight loss/control are:

Aloe vera juice to improve digestion and cleanse the digestive tract
Astragalus to increase energy and improve nutrient absorption
Dandelion for diuretic properties to offset any water retention
Butcher's broom, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger and green tea to
improve digestion and aid in the metabolism of fat
Bladderwrack, borage seed, hawthorn berry, licorice root and sarsaparilla to
stimulate the adrenal glands and improve thyroid function
Ephedra, Guarana, and kola nut are appetite suppressants
Fennel removes mucus and fat from the intestinal tract and is a natural
appetite suppressant
Fenugreek is useful for dissolving fat within the liver
Siberian ginseng aids in moving fluids and nutrients throughout the body and
reduces the stress of adjusting to new eating habits.

Your eating habits are probably better than most American's so I would concentrate on making exercise a priority. Avoid white flour, white sugar and artificial sweeteners and processed foods.


QUESTION:
 
I was curious what is HOODIA GORDONII...says it is a natural appetite suppressant, it is listed in TRIMSPA as an ingredient but what kind of herb is it?

ANSWER:  
Hoodia Gordonii is not an herb, but a cactus.  Here's the information I For hundreds of years, African tribesmen have eaten the Hoodia to suppress hunger and thirst on their long hunting & gathering trips. The Kung bushmen who live around the Kalahari desert in southern Africa used to cut off a stem of the Hoodia Gordonii plant about the size of a cucumber and chew on it over a couple of days. The Anikhwe of northern Botswana feed children who "eat too much" pieces of Hoodia gordonii to make them eat less.  Already decades ago obese members of the Khomani community were eating the Hoodia gordonii to slim down.
        Hoodia gordonii contains an active ingredient which research has shown could reduce appetite by 40 - 50% (up to 2,000 calories a day for some). It works by mimicking the effect glucose has on the nerve cells in the brain, in effect signaling to us that we are full, even when we are not; thus curbing our appetite. Hoodia gordonii has no known side effects , and contains a molecule that fools your brain into believing you have just eaten and also enhances your energy levels.  It sounds like one more in a long list of fad diet drugs. Just because it's a plant, it is being heavily marketed as the newest "all-natural" weight loss miracle. There really isn't enough study on it yet. Although it supposedly decreases the appetite dramatically, that is not the way to a healthy weight loss. You may as well just starve yourself and save the money. Until there is more research on it, I'll reserve judgment, but I stand by a healthy diet and exercise and herbs that moderately reduce the appetite.

QUESTION
: I am interested in herbs that help with the fat burning process.

ANSWER: Chickweed and celery seed may be the herbs you're looking for. I have a Slim Tea that I make that contains these herbs as well as others to give you a well rounded approach to weight loss along with a healthy diet and exercise of course.

QUESTION: A friend has just recommended the Nature's Youth products to me for curbing the appetite and weight loss.  I looked up the products on line, and see LOTS of herbal names with which I am not familiar... There are lots of things I cannot take because they increase my heart rate (I have mitral valve prolapse so am very careful NOT to take anything with ephedra, mahuang, etc...but know that similarly harmful products can come by other names)  Are you familiar with these products and their ingredients?  I went to "natures youth.com" and found my info.

ANSWER: I don't know anything about Nature's youth, but can't recommend something that is a compound put together by someone else. Sometimes fillers and other things that aren't natural are put into those things, so I can't speak to whether they are good or bad.  But with your heart condition, I would be extremely careful about any type of weight loss or dieting. Have you spoken with your doctor? Has he recommended you lose the weight? I hate to fall back on the old diet and exercise routine, but that's really the safest thing for you.

QUESTION: I think I have adrenal burnout, and the medical field will not do anything to help me. I tried to get in to see an endocrinologist, and they refused to see me until I had had complete testing and been diagnosed, but that was why I was wanting to see a specialist, was to get diagnosed by them. Anyway what
is the best supplements for adrenal burnout, that is safe to take while nursing? I nurse my 12 month old. Do you know why Cortislim is not safe for breastfeeding moms? Right now I take L-Glutamine 1500mg twice a day, essential fatty acids (omega 3,6,9) 1000 mg. 2 times a day, a multivitamin once a day, and chromium picolinate 200mcg. twice a day. Is this good for adrenals? I found it in a Woman's World mag. Ever since I hit puberty I have had trouble with weight. I gained about 20-30 pounds when I started my period. And I stayed around 145 at 5'2 for years, could not get any more off. Then I became pregnant when I was 18, and gained about 45 pounds, lost half of that from just having my son, and now I have gained about 7-10 pounds since then while working my butt off exercising and dieting. I cannot lose weight! My son is almost 13 months, and I have not lost one pound, but have gained a few. I did the firm, callanetics, yoga, pilates, walking, T-Tapp, Body Flex, and much more with no results. Please help me!!

ANSWER: Have you confirmed that what you have is really a problem with your adrenals? The only way to confirm it is through blood tests. Your doctor was right to insist on them before he makes a diagnosis. Even a specialist is going to want to get a look at your blood to see what's going on, so my suggestion to you is to confirm that's what's really going on before trying to self-diagnose, or self-mediate. You can really do more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing. Just because something is natural, doesn't mean it is the right thing for you at this particular time.
          Is there a particular reason you are still nursing a 12 month old baby? That in itself could be zapping your strength and keeping you from losing weight. There are special hormones that kick in when you wean your children that tell the system to go back to the normal metabolism.
           I can't comment on Cortislim except to say, I wouldn't recommend it while you are nursing. It is not an herbal product, although it may have herbs in it, it interferes with the hormones. I don't advocate anything that messes with the way the body was set up to function, especially when it comes to hormones. They can do more harm than good. Being thin isn't the end all be all, being healthy is.
          Get the tests recommended by your doctor, wean the baby and if you truly are having adrenal problems, I'd be happy to make some recommendations.

BLADDERWRACK
QUESTION: My question is about Bladderwrack.....can it safely be used to speed up ones metabolism to lose weight?  I am currently eating a healthy diet and exercising 3-4 times a week.  I enjoy drinking teas & just recently heard about this herb.  I was curious if it is #1, safe.....#2, can be used as a  tea regularly/only once a week?.....#3 are there tablets available as well?  I firmly believe that all gimmick weight loss plans DO NOT work & the old fashion healthy way to do it is to eat correctly & get some form of exercise, which I am doing.  My question is simply, can this be an added bonus to my love for teas & help my metabolism as well?

ANSWER: Bladderwrack is an excellent herb for speeding up the metabolism. It is chiefly used as the principle agent in Ďcuresí for obesity. The plant appears to raise the metabolic rate by increasing hormone production by the thyroid gland, but the increase may be limited to poorly functioning thyroids. In one clinical trial in Italy in 1976, patients taking Bladderwrack lost much more weight than the control group. It is also said to clean out the kidneys and to tone up the system. It is one of the most prolific sources of natural iodine and trace elements. It is also used for rheumatism. Due to the iodine content, Bladderwrack is taken for underactive thyroid glands and as an antigoiter remedy.
         It is #1 - Safe, #2 - Can be used regularly in a tea up to 3 cups a day, #3 available in tablet form. Try to get pharmaceutical grade if you possibly can, or go to a health food store (NOT a GNC) to find them. If you love tea, this is a great way to add to your weight loss regimen.



ANSWERS FROM DAVID:
DEXATRIM
QUESTION: 
Is the ephedrine free formula safe? What is in it and what does each thing
amount to or do for you. I'm thinking it's probably a lot of caffeine
containing products, but really have no idea, and would like to be made
aware of any possible side effects or possible concerns. I'm to afraid to
take anything with ephedrine anymore due to recent reports and have been
looking for a safe sub. I wish these companies would sponsor the FDA to
take part in regulating their products, but at the same time the FDA has
screwed on the safety of a lot of drugs as well.

ANSWER:  I am not familiar with this product so I cannot say, my suggestion to all that ask about losing weight is a simple formula of reduced caloric intake and increased physical exercise.  It works everytime, using dietary supplements to stimulate the body or supress appetite fail in the end everytime.


QUESTION:
  Have you every heard of a herb that helps control the fat tissues in the body?  It is being advertised in First Magazine as an herbal supplement.

ANSWER:  I have not, I would need more information to give an informed opinion.  My common answer is herbs can't help with weight loss, anything that sounds to good to be true is probably not accurate.  The only true way to weight loss is reduced caloric intake and increased physical exercise.

QUESTION:
I've been trying to lose a little amount of weight. Have exercised,
eating right etc, but that extra few kgs won't come off. so I'm trying pills
by nutra-life called thermo-trim. I was wondering if there are any side
effects or if it even works. I only want to go on it for a short period.
Also I've heard about a product called ECA stack or something. how effective
is this product and what are its side affects?

ANSWER: I would suggest not to go on any weight loss pills or supplements, I am totally against them.  Some are addicting, some can damage your body severely, see my other answers below.  I have had many questions about this, my answer is always the same, the key to permanent weight loss is reduced caloric intake and increase physical activity.  Changing your lifestyle and making it a habit, which takes 3 weeks to set in and then you will miss it if you don't do it.

My advice to you would be if you are eating correctly and exercising aerobically such as walking every day, add weight bearing exercise.  The extra muscle will up your resting metabolic rate so your body needs more fuel even when you are doing nothing.  As a woman there are many other fantastic advantages to weight bearing exercise, such as increased bone density, increased strength to protect yourself or play with your kids, and its gives you more energy, relieves stress built up throw the day.

Set a goal that you will go to the gym for 2-3 times a week for three weeks when you met your goal reward yourself and at the end of three weeks working out will be a habit hard to break.  If you cannot afford to go to the gym your body is all the weight you need to do exercise that don't need machines or stacks of weight such as pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups, stairs.


DEXATRIM
QUESTION:
I am trying to lose weight and in doing so have started taking Dexatrim.  This claims to lower you appetite (which it has) and speed up your metabolism (which it might have judging by the slite hand shakes I get).  It does contain 12 mg of Sida cordifolia (Ephedrine). I read your answers to the previuosly asked questions in the weight loss section. Is Ephedrine the same thing as Ephedra in the Ma Huang. If it isn't what are the negative side-effects of taking Dexatrim and are there any if you take it for less than 12 weeks as indicated?

ANSWER: If it were me I would not take this product, ephedrine and ephedra the plant have similar actions and reactions in the body.  Japanese chemists isolated ephedrine from ma huang (ephedra) at the turn of the century, and it soon became a primary treatment for asthma in the United States and abroad.  Ephedra's other major ingredient, pseudoephedrine, became the decongestant Sudafed.

From the WWW.tnp.com website.

Although it can still be found in a few over-the-counter drugs for asthma, physicians seldom prescribe ephedrine anymore. The problem is that ephedrine mimics the effects of adrenaline and causes symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, agitation, insomnia, nausea, and loss of appetite. The newer asthma drugs are much safer and easier to tolerate.
Recently, pills containing ephedrine have been sold as weight-loss aids and "natural" stimulants. Unfortunately, these products have been overused and combined with other stimulants, such as caffeine, resulting in severe overstimulation and even death in some people.1 In 1997, the FDA proposed stiff limits on dietary supplements containing ephedrine, but they are presently under appeal by manufacturers who say they go too far. The FDA's intervention stemmed from unscrupulous manufacturers.

The one true weight control method is decrease caloric intake and increased physical exercise.

HERBALIFE
QUESTION:
Hello, I just recently started taking Herbalife products for weight loss and was wondering what you thought about the company and their products?  The main thing I am concerned about is the Guarana that is in one of the products I use.  On the bottle it suggests taking one tablet up to four times per day.  Each tablet contains:  Calcium (as calcium sulfate) 76mg and Guarana (seed) 800mg.  What is the daily suggested amount?  I know that it is something containing caffeine, I drink 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day and no caffine the rest of the day.  Is this something I should be concerned with?

ANSWER:  I will not give an opinion on a commercial product or a particular brand name such as Herbalife, but I will give a general opinion on the use of herbs in diet formulas and the use of Guarana.

Guarana is used to speed you up like the caffeine in coffee and tea, inappropriate use can overtax your adrenal glands, for some addiction is possible and withdrawal symptomology unpleasant.

In my opinion it is inappropriately used in diet formulas, keep-you-awake formulas or used as a recreational drug.

The only true and correct weight loss method is lowered caloric intake and increased physical exercise.  If the diet formula works and you lose weight what happens when you go off it, you will probably gain the weight back because there was no correction to lifestyle, diet or exercise.  I would set short term goals and make eating correctly and exercising daily a habit in your life. It takes three weeks to ingrain a habit, after that you miss it, if it is not done.  Start with small changes, a 20 minute walk every day is one.  Hope this helps!

There are some simple steps you can do to change your life and it can be applied to everything, eating, exercising, saving, finances, reading, etc.

1.  Set a Big Goal.
2.  Set a Big Reward for the Big Goal.
3.  Break the Big Goal Down into manageable steps.
4.  Reward Yourself for meeting each step.
5.  Do it everyday, make a habit of it.
6.  Tell someone and make a promise to meet your Big Goal and steps, use this person to get encouragement as you meet each step and do not break your promise to them about the big goal.  This is the concrete that will hold you to your goal!
7.  Then just do it and don't stop, meet your steps/goals reward yourself and eventually it will be integrated into your life some much you will miss it if it is gone and wonder how you missed doing it before.  Eventually you wont need the reward. Then move onto another aspect in your life which you would like to change or improve, and do it again. 

This Process builds self confidence and character, you will become stronger then all the things in life that normally control you and you think may be out of control.  You now have now set a pattern for successfully changing things in your life and controlling your life.

End of sermon for today

SUGAR CRAVINGS
QUESTION:
Hi, I am bi-polar, taking 150mg of Zoloft and 450mg of Lithium a day.  It
works for me, but I was wondering if I could add the liquid licorace to this.
I'm putting on weight because of sugar cravings and I've heard that licorace
helps with cravings.  I'm wondering if I could use this or could this be a
bad combination.

ANSWER: To simply answer your question Licorice, Latin Named Glycorrhiza uralensis
has a bitter and sweat taste.  The bitter taste helps to reduce sugar
cravings but the sweat taste dampens stomach fire reducing digestive ability
which is not good for you.  The contraindications for Licorice are for
hypertension, edema and kidney disease.

If it were me I would use a balanced bitter formula instead which helps to
stop sugar craving and improves digestion, the formula should be a
combination of warming and cooling bitters such as Angelica, Orange Peel,
Gentian, Artichoke and Dandelion along with some carminative herbs such as
peppermint or ginger, stay away from the Swedish Bitters which have a
laxative ingredient or Angustora Bitter which has only one ingredient,
Gentian.  If you cannot find a bitter formula in your local health food or
herb store please give us a call.  We mail order our products out everyday.

For weight loss avoid weight loss products and simply reduce caloric intake
and increase exercise.

I have heard all the horror stories about ma-huang. I have seen da-huang 
listed in a popular over the counter weight loss product. Do the same horror 
apply to da-huang?

ANSWER: Da Huang is the Chinese pin yin English term for the plant Rhubarb, which is a laxative.

Plant Name: Da Huang pronounced as \Dong Quang\, Chinese Rhubarb/Turkey Rhubarb, Latin Named: Rheum tanguticum, R. officinale, R. palmatium is a powerful laxative and is not appropriately used longterm, and to use it in a diet formula is not ethical in my opinion, chemical laxatives can cause bowel dependency crippling your bodies own ability to void itself. I would avoid products with this ingredient. It is not Ephedra, Ma Huang, a different plant which acts to speed up the body and is also not appropriate for herbal dietary products.

QUESTION: Hello, I have found this Herb in Diet Products sold in Heath Food Stores, Would you please give me information  relative to this Herb? 

ANSWER: Gymnema, Gumar, Sugar Square, Sharduku, Latin Named: Gymnema sylvestre this herb is appropriately used for diabetes, it deadens sweet craving and turns bitter tastes sweet, for insulin dependent diabetes it can reduce insulin load required. 

I do not see this or any other herb appropriate in any diet formula. These silver bullet formulas aimed at the unsuspecting public, have speed like ingredients Ephedra, Caffeine, Kola nut, Guarana, laxatives and purgative herbs such as Senna, Butternut and Rhubarb and other ingredients that are not good for you and can be addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms when you go off them. Each of these herbs when appropriately used have medicinal actions and can be used short-term for specific conditions or disease but their misuse in formulas such as these are irresponsible by the manufacture and disrespectful to the plant.

The only true control for weight loss is reduced caloric intake and increased exercise please see my other answers online for herbs and weight loss.

Use like this of plants, for dishonorable purposes gets the hair on the back of my neck up, I apologize for the directness and tartness of this response.
 

QUESTION: 
A friend of mine has recently stop taking one of those "metaba" something pills to loose weight. She was on the pill for a year. She is now experiencing "withdrawals" according to her Doctor. He told her that what she was taking was a natural form of speed.  She now wants to find out what other side effects this pill will cause and what is the fastest way to get it out
of her system so she can feel normal again. She told me the main ingredient is "Mahuana".
Help!

ANSWER: Mahuana is probably Ma Huang. This is the Chinese name for Plant Ephedra, Latin Named: Ephedra Sinensis. This herb should not be used as a weight loss method ever. It does speed/pick you up and increase energy use by the body but this comes with expense. Over dose or long term use can tax the adrenal glands, cause hypertension, insomnia, and irregular heart beat, or death. This is not an herb for amateurs and should only be used under the care of a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider.

I would suggest the majority of the herb/chemical constituents involved were out of her system in a matter of hours, I would think that she should be free from the rest of its effects in a week to 10 days.

This herb is not appropriately used or ethically given as a recreational drug, herbal amphetamine (speed) or weight loss product.

Properly used it does have medicinal qualities for acute or short term use under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider.

This herb is contraindicated for people with Heart Disease, Hypertension, Liver or Kidney Disease, or while using over the counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, etc which also can speed you up.

For her withdrawal symptoms herbal relaxants could be used, but I would not give them to her. She should deal with the withdrawal symptoms and learn from this experience that weight loss is not done by taking a pill or an herb. Weight loss should be achieved by a combination of lowered caloric intake and increased physical exertion. Any product that offers a quick, magical or easy way out should not be believed and in this case and more could be potentially dangerous.

End of sermon for the day.

QUESTION: I read some place that if I combine the following 3 herbal extracts it will
raise my metabolism and there for I would loose weight easier. 
Ma Huang
Guarana
White Willow Bark

So far I've lost some weight but is it safe, and what are the long and short
term effects of these herbs on my body. Also how long is it safe to take
these (or any one alone) for. 

ANSWER: Ma Huang - is Ephedra, a stimulant herb.
Guarana - is also a stimulant herb.
White Willow Bark - has precursors to aspirin and is normally used for pain.

Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe; if medicinal herbs are used improperly they can just as easily harm you as help.

My suggestion would be not to use herbs to lose weight. Ma Huang and Guarana used improperly can harm you. My suggestion would be to change eating habits, drink more water and increase physical activity. These are lifestyle changes not symptomatic or silver bullet relief provided by the herbal diet supplement.

What happens when you stop taking the supplement, you will probably gain the weight back, because your lifestyle and eating habits have not changed.

Here is a simple technique to help you lose weight:

Your diet should consist in this order water, vegetables, proteins then a small amount of fat and finally fruits for desert, if you have desert.

Make a 3 X 5 card up and list the following: 

1 Water (12 - 15 glasses a day)
2 Vegetables and fiber (Main part of meals)
3 Proteins
4 Fats
5 Fruits as your desert choice

Take the card everywhere you go, before eating or planning a meal pull the
card out and look at it, your choices are easy now, start with 1 as your
preferred drink, 2 should be your major part of the meal (look for the salad
or vegetarian menu choice), 3 protein should be the size of a deck of playing
cards about 4 oz, fats are not all bad and we need essential fatty acids, but
fats should consist of less than 15-20 % of your diet. Olive oil, fats from deep sea fish and a small amounts of nuts and seeds on salad to dress it up should cover the fat requirement in your diet.

Start a garden and grow vegetables and herbs, this is the beginning of your increased physical activity, spend sometime everyday in your garden, pruning, weeding, watering, etc. Begin walking everyday, start with a small distance, and add onto it as you progress. You will be amazed by this simple change in your life.

Spice up your meals with culinary herbs you are growing in your garden, dry them for winter use at the end of your growing season. 

Remember most fruits are also full of sugar and should be your dessert of chose if you have dessert at all. 

If you have a craving for sweats bitter formulas taken 5 - 10 before meals can help.