There are many plants that can help facilitate weight loss. The upshot is that they each work in different ways and have different effects on the body. You need to read the labels of the herbs that you buy and make sure that you really do understand what kind of side effects can occur.
A good example is hoodia which is actually a vegetable found in Africa which cuts your thirst and hunger so much that you can actually become malnourished and dehydrated. Other herbs are classified as being thermogentic meaning that they speed up body functions such as heart rate, breathing and digestion. These are the “fat burning” herbs. Many herbs also usually have a lot of naturally occurring caffeine in them. These include green tea, dandelion and nettle.
The above mentioned herbs are probably the ones with the least side effects. The ones that have the most side effects are the herbs known as the diuretics. Believe it or not both green tea and dandelion are part of this group of herbal diuretics which can seriously dehydrate you if you take too much. You do look thinner taking these herbs but the effect is temporary. As soon as you stop taking them you gain the weight back when your body naturally rehydrates itself.
Many weight loss herbs have the side effect of diarrhea. These side effects include uva ursi, birchbark and buchu. The United States Food and Drug Administration warn against these herbs which can cause serious side effects in the long term including cramping, diarrhea and other problems.
One of the most dangerous of the herbs is known as Ma Huang or Herbal Phen Phen. This drug causes an overstimulation of the central nervous system, an increase in blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. The FDA warns of scores of side effects to using this herb including heart murmurs, depression, anxiety, heart palpitations, heart attack, dehydration, seizures, chest pain, stroke, dissociation, and psychosis.
Safer choices include cayenne which helps burn fat and seaweed which is a good source of trace minerals like iodine and chromium. Seaweed can help jumpstart a cranky and slow metabolism which is often the culprit in many cases of weight gain.
Keep in mind that before you take any kind of herb it is very important for you to talk with your doctor first. Some conditions simply don’t respond well to even the safest of herbs for weight loss. For instance although green tea is generally considered to be healthy it can be a disaster for someone who suffers from anxiety simply because it does contain so much caffeine.