Herbal Treatment for Managing Obesity.
Medically speaking, not all overweight people are obese. Obesity is defined as weight that exceeds 15 percent of normal weight for height and body type. Morbid obesity exceeds 20 percent of optimum weight. Obesity is considered a disease state. Life expectancy may be decreased in overweight and obese individuals. The long-term health implications are well known, in fact, obesity is considered an outright disease. Life expectancy may be decreased in overweight and obese individuals. An obese person is at high risk for a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, varicose veins, psychological stress, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Ephedra has been used traditionally for thousands of years in China to treat respiratory disorders, colds, congestion, and more. Today, ephedra supplements are under scrutiny due in part to the irresponsible use of ephedra products by some people and also due to the inappropriate advertising of ephedra products as a recreational stimulant by some manufacturers. While the potential for abuse of ephedra is great, when used responsibly, it can be considered useful and safe. It may be of particular benefit in weight loss, asthma, and allergies. To insure the quality of the ephedra product, purchase dietary supplements that are manufactured by reputable companies.
While bitter melon or karela fruit has long been used in South America and the Orient as a food source, it also serves many medicinal purposes. Scientists have turned their focus on the beneficial properties of the fruit in diabetes and conditions related to diabetes, as well as HIV and certain cancers.
A large portion of the United States' population is overweight. The use of garcinia has been rapidly growing in the United States due to the desire of people to lose weight. As part of a lifestyle that includes good nutrition and exercise, garcinia may favorably modify metabolism and appetite. These benefits could help people lose weight and lead healthier, more active lives.
Ginger has been used throughout history as both a culinary herb and a medicinal agent. Ginger has gained attention in the United States because of its effect on motion sickness, nausea, and as an aid in digestion. Derivation of a standardized extract of ginger is from the rhizome.
A recent review focused on the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines to manage obesity. The review included a total of 77 studies. The studies that were included in the review showed the effects of herbs with the key outcome of change in anthropometric measures such as body weight and waist-hip circumference, body fat, amount of food intake and appetite. Significant decreases in body weight were noted in studies supplementing with Cissus quadrangularis (CQ), Sambucus nigra (Elderberry), Asparagus officinalis, Garcinia atroviridis, ephedra and caffeine, ginseng, bitter melon and ginger. No adverse reactions or mortality were observed except in studies using ephedra supplements. Many of the herbal supplements studied appear to be both safe and effective in the management of obesity and could allow for new approaches to weight loss.1
1 Hasani-Ranjbar S, Nayebi N, Larijani B, et al. A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used in the treatment of obesity. World J Gastroenterol. Jul2009;15(25):3073-3085.