6 Herbs for Weight Loss

Photography by: Levi Brown

Beat a sweet tooth with . . . GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE
HOW IT WORKS: Derived from a plant that grows wild in India and Africa, gymnema has been shown to reduce the ability to taste sweetness. Gymnema molecules are similar to glucose and fill the taste bud receptors on the tongue, making it seem like you’ve gotten a sugar fix. One landmark study, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior in 1983, found that people who took a dose of gymnema had a diminished perception of sweetness and, when offered snack foods, ate fewer calories than did control subjects.
BEST BUY: Puritan’s Pride Gymnema Sylvestre tablets or Ayurceutics Gymnema capsules (puritan.com)
DOSAGE: 300 mg two to three times a day.
WATCH OUT: High doses have been linked with low blood sugar, so use in recommended amounts.

Burn fat & boost your metabolism with . . . GUGGUL
HOW IT WORKS: An Ayurvedic remedy, guggul is used for relieving joint pain, lowering cholesterol, and aiding weight loss. In a 1999 study conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, people who took 750 mg of guggul each day and did a combination of strength and aerobic training workout three times a week for six weeks lost an average of six pounds; those who exercised but did not take guggul lost only a half to one pound. “Guggul helps the body metabolize fat and improves thyroid function by increasing thyroid hormone levels,” says John Douillard, Ph.D., director of the LifeSpa School of Ayurveda.
BEST BUY: Banyan Botanical Triphala Guggulu capsules (banyanbotanicals.com)
DOSAGE: 500 mg, three times a day for three months.

Get energized with . . . REISHI MUSHROOMS
HOW IT WORKS: Sometimes harvested in the wild, where they grow on fallen logs, reishi mushrooms are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to build strength and immunity and to fight fatigue. That may be why they work as weight loss supplements, says Hadady, adding that evidence of reishi’s effectiveness in weight loss is only anecdotal. The logic: “It’s much easier to stick with healthy eating and exercise if you feel strong and energetic,” says Hadady. In Chinese medicine, reishi—also known as ganoderma—is used to treat hypertension.
BEST BUY: East Earth Trade Winds’ Reishi Plus liquid (eastearthtrade.com)
DOSAGE: 10 to 20 drops of reishi liquid extract or 600 mg in capsule form.
WATCH OUT: Avoid reishi if you’re allergic to mushrooms and don’t take it right after drinking coffee—it may make you jittery.