With the discovery of many natural botanicals as having effective therapeutic and
medicinal properties used in herbal medication for centuries, many have found their
way in pharmaceutically formulated drugs and food supplements promising parallel
health benefits to a number of body ailments and conditions.
Controlling weight gain or inducing weight loss in obese persons is one such area
where naturally formulated diet pills and supplements have grown into a multi-billion
dollar industry worldwide.
These natural ingredients are harnessed to do at least any of the three or a combination
of methods in reducing body weight – appetite suppression, improved fat metabolism
and fat/carb inhibition. They are over-the-counter weight loss solutions that do
not require FDA approval, unless disturbing side effects are reported.
Virtually none of them have undergone clinical trials on humans to verify or independently
confirm their weight loss efficacy, proper dosage and safety so that their current
use by millions worldwide effectively serves as a trial. Some have been banned after
a preponderance of reports from users who suffer severe side effects.
The Hoodia Gordonii cactus plan from South Africa has become the leader among natural
botanicals used in diet supplements advertised as appetite suppressants to treat
obesity. The nomadic Bushmen of the Kalahari deserts consume the Hoodia plant for
centuries to suppress appetite and thirst in long journeys or hunting escapades and
this has not escaped pharmaceutical companies from formulating weight loss appetite
suppressants with Hoodia as its active ingredient.
The Green tea leaf contains powerful antioxidants that when used with caffeine in
a tea preparation is known to lower cholesterol levels as well as enhance overall
health. It enhances body resistance and stamina to undertake a more rigorous exercise
regimen to burn off more body fat than without it.
Like most berries, the freeze-dried Acai berry contains antioxidant properties as
well as Resveratrol substances that are known to reduce cholesterol levels. They
also contain chemicals that increase fat metabolism and energy levels that help you
do more strenuous exercises, and thus, give you more room for weight less activities.
More potent than the Acai berry, the freeze-dried Maqui berry contains higher levels
of polyphenolic chemicals with anti-oxidative properties that reduce cholesterol
levels while increasing your energy levels to sustain a more vigorous busy lifestyle
that can burn off more fat than without it.
Another succulent cactus like the Hoodia, the Caralluma Fimbriata has been used by
the ancient rural folks from India to suppress hunger and thirst during long hunting
sojourns and is known throughout the country as a “famine food.” It also figures
in diet pills and supplements that promise weight loss by reducing hunger pangs.
Resveratrol is the substance found in red wines that accounted for the French Paradox
where the French lived healthier lives with fewer incidences of cardiovascular diseases
despite consuming the same levels of high fat diets that have been felling obese
It’s another polyphenolic substance that has achieved cult following as a miracle
drug of the 21st century. Weight loss benefits are just one of them. Similar to the
action of the other antioxidants, Resveratrol not acts to increase fat metabolism
at the cellular level but also mimics calorie deprivation by increasing fat metabolism.
Bitter orange extracts from the peel of certain types of citrus fruits have figured
prominently as a replacement to the banned Ephedra in many weight loss solutions
that promise increased fat metabolism. It also contains antioxidant chemicals that
increase body resistance and energy levels similar to what other antioxidant diet
The Goji berry acts like other berry plants with its anti-oxidative chemicals to
reduce cholesterol levels and improve stamina. But it also has other nutrients like
Thiamin that inhibits fat deposits, chromium that regulates sugar levels and polysaccharides
that stimulate muscle growth.
The extracts from the Ephedra shrub has been traditionally used to treat heart and
lung-related ailments but have found its way as an effective fat-burning ingredient
together with caffeine extracts in weight loss pills. The FDA has banned this drug
since 2003 after receiving so many complaints from consumers about its severe side
effects culminating in the death of a famous major league player Steve Bechler due
to heart attack after taking the substance to reduce weight.