Weight management is an essential part of being healthy. Weight gain and being overweight can lead to obesity, which in turn is associated with a number of chronic diseases like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Chronic obesity and weight gain can also lead to excessive pressure on the other organs of the body, which in turn can impair the functioning of the liver and kidneys, etc.

This is the reason why people who are progressively gaining weight are recommended to go on a weight loss plan, including a healthy diet, exercise routine and a proper sleep schedule. Getting rid of stress is also recommended because chronic stress affects everything from metabolism to immune function, which in turn can get in the way of your weight loss plans. A weight loss plan should, therefore, take all these factors into account. However, many people focus on the larger food groups while devising a weight loss plan and forget the smaller things that can help them along the way.

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You may not realise it, but picking the right herbs to consume and increasing the intake of herbs can help you lose weight. There are many varieties of herbs available the world over, and they all have properties that affect your body in different ways:

  • Adaptogenic herbs have a normalizing influence on the body and can help moderate everything from stress response to immune function.
  • A number of herbs have anti-anxiety properties, which can help calm the mind and induce sleep.
  • Some herbs are also known to affect the digestive system. Herbs like mint, chamomile and liquorice stimulate gastric and bile secretions, thus aiding digestion and calorie-burning.
  • Diuretic and laxative herbs are also helpful in weight loss, but you should be more cautious about their use and dosage. While other kinds of herbs can be easily added to your diet to aid weight loss, these diuretic and laxative herbs should not be consumed in excess or without the recommendation of a doctor. 

The following herbs can help you lose weight -

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  1. Green tea for weight loss
  2. Black tea for weight loss
  3. Chamomile tea for weight loss
  4. Ginseng for weight loss
  5. Holy basil for weight loss
  6. Ashwagandha for weight loss
  7. Liquorice for weight loss
  8. Fenugreek leaves for weight loss
  9. Coriander leaves for weight loss
  10. Oregano for weight loss

Not many realise that all types of tea are herbs, and green tea is especially associated with weight loss. Green tea is packed with phenolic antioxidants like beta carotenes and catechins and its many derivatives like epigallocatechin, epicatechin and epicatechin gallate. Green tea also contains caffeine, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B2, manganese, zinc and chromium.

Due to the presence of all these nutrients, green tea is considered to be great for weight loss. Drinking green tea boosts the metabolism, which helps the body burn fat faster. Green tea also reduces oxidative stress, which helps detoxify the body, boost the immune system and improve overall health. So apart from aiding weight loss, drinking green tea can also help you maintain your weight in the long run.

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You may find that the benefits of black tea, especially where weight loss is concerned, are not advertised as much as the benefits of green tea. Nevertheless, black tea has many benefits and boosting weight loss is definitely one of them. In fact, as studies point out, black tea polyphenols are more effective than green tea polyphenols.

Black tea polyphenols prevent the intake, absorption and digestion of lipids and saccharides, thereby reducing calorie intake. Black tea also reduces oxidative stress, which prevents obesity and comorbidities related to obesity. It’s also important to note that black tea has the highest amount of caffeine among all types of tea, and this gives it more weight loss properties.

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Chamomile tea is quickly gaining popularity all over the world due to its immense health benefits. Chamomile is packed with vitamins like vitamin A and folic acid, and minerals like calcium and potassium. But most health experts and studies underline the phytochemical content of chamomile.

Chamomile contains antioxidants like terpenoids alpha-bisabolol, azulenes and apigenin glucosides. These antioxidants not only have cholesterol- and fat-lowering properties, but also have anti-inflammatory effects. The Mexicans, who consume chamomile almost ritually, also use this herb to brew remedies for digestive and gastrointestinal issues. Drinking chamomile tea, therefore, regulates the metabolic and digestive systems, and thereby aids weight loss.

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Ginseng is traditionally used in ancient Chinese medicine for a number of health issues, but it has recently gained more popularity worldwide due to its weight loss benefits. Consuming ginseng is believed to bring changes in the gut microbiota which not only boosts metabolism but also alters fat formation and delays intestinal fat absorption. This inevitably aids weight loss.

This herb is also packed with bioactive compounds like ginsenosides, which suppresses hunger, prevents excess eating and thereby prevents obesity. Ginsenosides also activate the enzyme adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK), which works like a metabolic switch that stimulates the oxidation of fat, ketogenesis and at once prevents the increase of cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride synthesis in the body.

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Holy basil or tulsi has been used in Ayurveda extensively since ancient times for a number of health benefits. Holy basil is known to help control blood sugar, inflammation, prevent infections and high cholesterol, and aid digestion as well as weight loss. This herb targets oxidative and metabolic stress, which reduces the risk of weight gain. 

Tulsi contains a bioactive compound known as eugenol, which plays a key role in this process. Eating raw holy basil leaves early in the morning is considered to be especially beneficial in aiding weight loss. This is also because eating holy basil adds bulk to stool and improves bowel function.

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Ashwagandha is known as the Indian ginseng, and its properties and benefits match those of the Chinese herb. Ashwagandha helps deal with a number of health issues like sexual dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb, which helps your body manage everything from stress to immune function. This particular characteristic aids weight loss.

Some studies indicate that these adaptogenic properties of ashwagandha boost metabolism and suppress hunger. At the same time, ashwagandha also helps the body build muscle mass, which means it can help substitute the fat you burn with lean muscle.

Ashwagandha, however, should be consumed in an appropriate dosage to avoid any side effects. Consult a doctor before you start taking ashwagandha.
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Licorice or liquorice, also known as mulethi, is another herb that was used extensively in the ancient Indian medicine system of Ayurveda. While liquorice is used today in sweets and mouth fresheners, it actually has immense health benefits. Liquorice contains a very powerful bioactive compound Glycyrrhiza glabra, which may aid in weight loss.

Liquorice has a very strong taste and the presence of glycyrrhizic acid also helps suppress the appetite, thereby helping weight loss. At the same time, liquorice is a powerful adaptogen and also has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. It is important to consult a doctor about the dosage of liquorice because it may have some side effects.

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Fenugreek leaves, also known as methi leaves, are traditionally consumed in winters in India when they’re available in abundance. Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), on the other hand, can be consumed all year round and are equally healthy.

Fenugreek leaves are known to aid weight loss in a number of ways. Like most other herbs, eating fenugreek leaves adds bulk to your stool, which improves digestion and aids bowel movements.

At the same time, fenugreek leaves also contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of plant proteins. The antioxidants in fenugreek leaves, combined with the other nutrients, help in burning fat and losing weight.

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Coriander leaves can be consumed raw, cooked or juiced. Whichever way you consume them, they have many health benefits. Also known as cilantro, coriander leaves contain some amount of plant proteins, minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins like vitamin C, the elusive vitamin K, and B vitamins thiamine and niacin.

The antioxidants in coriander leaves, including carotenoids and flavonoids, are also very powerful and aid weight loss. Apart from all these nutrients, coriander leaves also add fibre to the digestive system. Thereby, coriander leaves aid digestion, improve bowel movements and boost weight loss.

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Oregano leaves have been used for thousands of years in fresh and dried forms, especially in the Mediterranean countries. This herb has traditionally been used for a number of minor and major health issues, including as a mouth freshener, for digestion as well as for weight loss. 

Oregano leaves contain antioxidants like thymol, carvacrol, limonene, terpinene, ocimene and caryophyllene. These antioxidants give this herb its unique flavour and scent. Oregano leaves also relieve inflammation, regulate blood sugar and lipids, improve digestion and the immune system. At the same time, oregano leaves also boost metabolism and help burn fat.

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  1. Liu, Yanfei. et al. Herbal Medicine for the Treatment of Obesity: An Overview of Scientific Evidence from 2007 to 2017. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 8943059. PMID: 29234439
  2. Maunder, Alison. et al. Effectiveness of herbal medicines for weight loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Obes Metab . 2020 Jun;22(6):891-903. PMID: 31984610
  3. Yang, Nan. et al. Weight loss herbal intervention therapy (W-LHIT) a non-appetite suppressing natural product controls weight and lowers cholesterol and glucose levels in a murine model. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14: 261. PMID: 25055851
  4. Najafian, Jamshid. et al. Safety of herbal medicine in treatment of weight loss. ARYA Atheroscler. 2014 Jan; 10(1): 55–58. PMID: 24963315
  5. Lee, Jay. et al. Natural products and body weight control. N Am J Med Sci. 2011 Jan; 3(1): 13–19. PMID: 22540057
  6. Koithan, Mary and Niemeyer, Kathryn. Using Herbal Remedies to Maintain Optimal Weight. J Nurse Pract. 2010 Feb; 6(2): 153–154. PMID: 20802831
  7. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. US National Library of Medicine. Bethesda. Maryland. USA; Herbal remedies and supplements for weight loss
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