Herbs For Weight Loss

  • Maria Halimeh Bachelor of Pharmacy - BPharm, Cairo University, Egypt

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Several herbs may help with weight loss. Herbal medicinal products have been widely known for their weight loss properties. Patients often ask healthcare providers about their effectiveness and safety. Active compounds extracted from herbs are similar to traditional Chinese Medicine practice, which has a holistic approach that can target several organs and tissues in the whole body. 

Herbs for weight loss

  • Cinnamon 

Research has revealed that supplementation with cinnamon can notably reduce body weight, with particularly positive effects observed in individuals under 50 years. This weight-reducing effect of cinnamon can be linked to its unique components. Firstly, cinnamon contains flavonoids that influence glucose absorption in the small intestine. Additionally, it contains a polymer known as Methyl Hydroxy chalcone polymers (MHCP), which serves to boost the body's metabolism. By doing so, cinnamon supplementation effectively diminishes the activity of pancreatic α-amylase, leading to an improved uptake of glucose and enhanced glycogen synthesis. This, in turn, culminates in a decrease in the synthesis and storage of fat. In 2017, a study provided compelling evidence that prolonging the duration of cinnamon intake also reduces both blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels.1

  • Ginger 

Ginger has potential benefits for weight loss. Ginger consumption can enhance calorie burn and reduce feelings of hunger. Ginger intake can decrease body weight, waist-to-hip ratio, hip ratio, fasting glucose, and insulin resistance and increase healthy cholesterol levels. It works by increasing metabolic rate and lipid decomposition. This results in low-fat absorption. Ginger can also control appetite and have a positive impact on the body when combined with exercise.2

  • Capsaicin

Capsaicin is a major active compound in chilli peppers. Dietary chilli peppers and capsaicin consumption decrease body weight. Capsaicin works by reducing energy intake and stimulating specific tissues in the abdomen called “brown adipose tissue” (BAT), which results in a reduction in body weight and abdominal fat. It also has an antioxidant effect against fat and decreases appetite.  It is also recommended to consult a healthcare professional about the use of capsaicin for weight management and daily dose.3 

  • Green Tea 

Historically, green tea demonstrated medicinal and beneficial health effects. It contains Catechins, such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), and caffeine (CAF), which are the major components of tea. These components have a wide range of biological activities, such as body weight reduction, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer prevention, and protection against neurodegeneration. Green tea suppresses pancreatic lipase, amylase, and glucosidase enzymes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Inhibiting amylase and glucosidase prevents digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, helping decrease energy intake.4 

  • Ginseng

There are two types of ginseng: Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng), also known as Korean Ginseng and Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng). Different ginseng extracts are used to treat several medical conditions, including body weight management. Ginseng contains saponins, which work by delaying the intestinal absorption of dietary fat by decreasing pancreatic lipase activity.5  

  • Curcumin 

Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric. It has been known for its effect on weight loss. Curcumin may help protect against weight regain and help control metabolic rate after successful weight loss through diet and exercise. In one study, overweight adults who received an 800 mg supplement containing 95% curcumin alongside a strict diet showed body mass index changes of up to 2% during the first 30 days, which increased to 5-6% after 60 days, equivalent to a loss of more than 8% body fat.6

Daily dosage

The daily dosages of these herbs can significantly impact their effectiveness in aiding weight loss. 

HerbDose/Day for Weight ReductionDurationComments
Cinnamon12 grams12 weeks or more
Ginger1.8 grams8 weeks
Green Tea4100-460 milligramsThe caffeine content (80 and 300 milligrams per day) plays a crucial role in its weight loss effects.
Ginseng100 milligrams - 18 grams
Curcumin61500 milligrams

Understanding these recommended dosages is vital when considering these herbs as part of your weight management strategy.

Side effects and other concerns

Green tea, curcumin, ginseng, ginger, cinnamon, and capsaicin are generally safe. However, there are some side effects and concerns related to their use:

Green tea:

Curcumin and cinnamon:


  • Ginseng can also interact with other herbal products, prescribed medications, and foods, including caffeine, alcohol, blood thinners, medications for the treatment of HIV, diabetic medications, immunosuppressants, antidepressants, bitter orange, ephedra, and bitter mallow.
  • Ginseng abuse and misuse can lead to affective disorder, allergy, cardiovascular and renal toxicity, genital organ bleeding, and other risks.


In conclusion, herbs for weight loss present a promising avenue for those looking to manage their weight effectively. Green tea, cinnamon, ginger, capsaicin, ginseng, and curcumin have all demonstrated potential benefits in aiding weight loss through various mechanisms, including metabolic rate enhancement, appetite control, and fat reduction. However, using these herbs in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial in maximizing their effectiveness. When considering these herbs, you should be mindful of the recommended daily dosages and potential side effects. Individual responses may vary, so consulting a healthcare professional before incorporating herbal supplements into your weight loss regimen is advisable, especially if you are taking medications or have underlying health conditions.


  1. Mousavi SM, Rahmani J, Kord-Varkaneh H, Sheikhi A, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Cinnamon supplementation positively affects obesity: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Nutr. 2020 Jan;39(1):123–33.
  2. Ebrahimzadeh Attari V, Malek Mahdavi A, Javadivala Z, Mahluji S, Zununi Vahed S, Ostadrahimi A. A systematic review of the anti-obesity and weight lowering effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and its mechanisms of action. Phytother Res. 2018 Apr;32(4):577–85.
  3. Zheng J, Zheng S, Feng Q, Zhang Q, Xiao X. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. Biosci Rep [Internet]. 2017 May 11 [cited 2023 Oct 6];37(3):BSR20170286. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/
  4. Yang CS, Hong J. Prevention of chronic diseases by tea: possible mechanisms and human relevance. Annual review of nutrition. 2013 Jul 17;33:161-81.
  5. Popovich DG, Yeo CR, Zhang W. Ginsenosides derived from Asian (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and potential cytoactivity. International Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2012;6(1):56-62.
  6. Akbari M, Lankarani KB, Tabrizi R, Ghayour-Mobarhan M, Peymani P, Ferns G, et al. The effects of curcumin on weight loss among patients with metabolic syndrome and related disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Front Pharmacol [Internet]. 2019 Jun 12 [cited 2023 Oct 6];10:649. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6582779/
  7. El Gayar MH, Aboromia MM, Ibrahim NA, Hafiz MH. Effects of ginger powder supplementation on glycemic status and lipid profile in newly diagnosed obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity Medicine[Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited,2024 Feb 12]1;14:100094.Available From: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S245184761830071X 

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Maria Halimeh

Bachelor of Pharmacy - BPharm, Cairo University, Egypt

Maria is a pharmacist with a strong background in clinical research and project management. She has served as a leader in NGOs and pharmaceutical organizations initiating educational and scientific projects. She is currently working as a medical writer, creating different types of content including academic content, websites, and blogs.

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