8 Proven Herbs for Weight Loss

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Many people turn to herbs for weight loss, as they can provide a simple and daily boost to your metabolism, while contributing very few calories and providing a number of other benefits to overall health. The use of herbs more importantly improves the flavor for your dishes.

Losing weight is typically viewed as a combination of restricting calories and physical exercise, but certain dietary elements can help speed this process. These overlooked weight loss benefits typically come as a result of stimulating circulation and metabolic processes in the body.

On a weight loss diet, some of your favorite foods may be removed from your daily or weekly intake, but you can improve the flavor of foods in immeasurable ways with certain herbs. Once you learn which herbs fit with specific foods, you can greatly improve the taste of your foods, while also giving your weight loss efforts a significant boost. The improvement that herbs can make in your diet will help to continue on your dietary goals, rather than being tempted back to unhealthy, carb-heavy and high-calorie food options. [1]

List of Herbs for Weight Loss

Some of the most notable herbs for weight loss include dandelion, green coffee beans, ginseng, yerba mate, milk thistle, peppermint, cayenne, ginger, and cinnamon, among others.

Milk Thistle

Benefits – This herb contains an active ingredient called silymarin, which has been directly linked to improved blood glucose levels and liver function. It also promotes improved body mass index and overall weight loss. This could be partially due to the laxative effects of this herb, which can optimize digestion and flush the body of excess toxins. [2]

How to Use – Although it is commonly thought of as a weed, many people use milk thistle to brew a powerful tea to stimulate the metabolism. You can also consume milk thistle supplements to boost your intake of the active ingredients.


Benefits – Some elements of this herb have been linked to suppressing the appetite, which is a key for losing weight. Furthermore, when consumed, peppermint can help to stimulate the metabolism, as well as circulation and other processes in the body. The aroma of peppermint alone can help to regulate mood and lower stress, which can aid weight loss. [3]

How to Use – People use this herb aromatically, in aromatherapy applications and steam inhalations, but peppermint tea is also extremely popular. Peppermint essential oil is also widely prescribed as a natural remedy for appetite fluctuations and for people who can’t seem to shed the excess weight.

A man wearing oversize jeans depicting weight loss

How to lose weight Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Green Coffee Beans

Benefits – The active ingredients in green coffee beans prevent the deposition of fat and can speed up the fat-burning process. These unroasted coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid, which tends to be burned off when the coffee beans are roasted. This compound can increase metabolic speed and reduce the amount of fat deposited, which can help you lose weight. [4]

How to Use – The extract of these unroasted coffee beans is widely sold by natural practitioners, and only a small amount of this substance is needed to have positive effects on weight loss. The extract of these beans has a highly concentrated form of chlorogenic acid.


Benefits – Ginseng is an ancient herb that has long been associated with providing excess energy to the body, which elevates activity levels and thus allows for more weight loss. Furthermore, ginseng is able to promote the oxidation of fat, and prevent its deposition in the body. This is in addition to ginseng’s effects on leptin, ghrelin and other hormones, which can affect appetite and your tendency to overeat or snack between meals. [5]

How to Use – Brewing a tea from dried ginseng is an excellent option for a metabolic boost. Many people also choose ginseng supplements for a daily burst of antioxidants and weight loss-inducing active ingredients.


Benefits – The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin, which is a powerful compound that provides heat to the body, which stimulates the metabolism and boosts your levels of passive fat-burning. Cayenne peppers and their active ingredients can also have an impact on hunger, namely controlling your appetite and eating habits. [6]

How to Use – Due to the heat of this herb, it isn’t as widely applicable to as many dishes, but in savory meals, stews and curries, adding this spice makes for an easy health boost. Cayenne pepper tea, although it is a bit intense for many people, is also a great option to increase your capsaicin intake on a daily basis.


Benefits – Ginger root is able to stimulate digestion, which can help reduce obesity and the excessive intake of calories. Furthermore, it reduces inflammation in the gut and speeds up the metabolism, helping to convert food into usable energy more rapidly, thus improving fat-burning potential in the body. [7]

How to Use – Ginger or its powdered form is a flavorful addition to many meals and has various uses. However, the most common method of using ginger for weight loss is in the form of a tea, where it can begin speeding up the metabolism within a few minutes.

Yerba Mate

Benefits – Used for centuries in South America and other regions of the world, yerba mate is one of the most well-known herbs for weight loss. First of all, yerba mate is able to increase the temperature of the body, and thus boosts the metabolic speed. More importantly, this herb is closely associated with appetite suppression, which can prevent excessive eating or snacking. Yerba mate is also an excellent detoxifying substance that can stimulate digestion, further improving weight loss efforts. [8]

How to Use – Yerba mate is most commonly used in the form of a warm drink that is consumed throughout the day. Yerba mate tea can provides a consistent energy boost throughout the day, although if you are not familiar with this preparation, consume it slowly, as it takes time to develop tolerance.


Benefits – The most notable benefits of dandelion is the diuretic effect it has on the body. This can not only speed the release of excess toxins, salts, and fats from the body but will also reduce water weight. Many people struggle to lose weight because they are always retaining water, but that isn’t a problem if you regularly use dandelion for weight loss. [9]

How to Use – Given that it is one of the best herbs for weight loss, dandelion is most commonly used in tea form. Dandelion extract can also be used and is available from herbalists and nutritionists.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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