Is Herbal Weight Loss Really Safe?

A lot of people are intrigued by the idea of herbal weight loss products, as they equate the word "herbal" with natural and safe. However, just because something is an herbal product doesn't mean it's safe to use.

For many years, the herbal weight loss product ephedra was widely available in the United States. However, it was associated with a number of cases of overdose and cardiovascular system damaged, and was banned by the FDA. Nevertheless, it was a very effective herbal weight loss preparation! Ephedra was effective as an herbal weight loss product because it worked on the body as a stimulant and had thermogenic properties. These both helped to speed up the metabolism (thus burning more fat) and to suppress the appetite (so the user would ingest less calories). These effects are as strong as some prescription only diet drugs which are available only for those who are extremely overweight or obese (and must be taken only under a doctor's supervision). With this in mind, it's evident that the label "herbal" doesn't make something safe.

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However, that's not to say that there are no completely safe herbal weight loss aids. There are a number of herbal medications which are safe to use and which may help assist in weight loss. One such herbal weight loss aid is Fucus vesiculosis, a type of kelp, which contains iodine (as well as several other trace nutrients) which may assist in the production of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for the maintenance of metabolism. Another herbal weight loss aid is Garcinia cambogia which has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and has been used effectively as a natural appetite suppressant. It contains an extract called hydroxy citric acid, which inhibits fat storage.

Nevertheless, always remember to check with your doctor before starting any new weight loss program involving herbal medications, as even the safest of herbal weight loss preparations may have contraindications, and may interact with other drugs you may be taking.

In my own personal experience, I found that taking an herbal weight loss supplement, combined with a healthy diet (I used the advice found within the Mediterranean Diet []) enabled me to lose weight at a slow, steady speed. Initially, I lost between one and two pounds a week, but after losing about half of my excess weight, my weight loss slowed down, and I tended to lose around half a pound a week. Over a period of several months, I was able to reach a healthy size 8 figure, and part of my success came down to the herbal weight loss supplement I was taking at the time.

Of course, what works effectively for one person's weight loss, may not be as effective for another. If you do have a hard time losing weight, it's very important to see your doctor who can order the right tests and find out whether you have an underlying disorder which may be inhibiting normal weight loss.

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