Easter munchies getting you down?

If you’ve enjoyed that extra Chocolate or Hot Cross Bun over Easter a bit too much, then we have some herbs that could help your waistline out.  
Gymnema (leaf)
G.sylvestra is an Ayruvedic (Indian herbal medicine) herb that has been used for centuries as a “sugar destroyer”.  Gymnema has the ability to switch the sweet taste buds off, thus greatly reducing the craving for sweets.  Scientific research found that Gymnema reduces appetite up to ninety minutes after its sweet-numbing effect.  Subjects given Gymnema consumed less food than controls who were not given Gymnema.  It’s believed that this effect on the sweet taste buds acts to modify the appetite centre in the brain via a nervous reflex.  This effect is subtle, and will work best with consistent use.  
As well as that it also inhibits the absorption of sugar molecules in the intestines during digestion, reducing increases in blood sugar levels.  When our blood sugar levels are higher or lower than normal that is when our body craves foods and we tend to overeat.  In the absence of sweetness, it has been found people eat less sugary food but also helps control appetite and food volume as well. 
A great party trick is to get your friends to chew on the leaf and then get them to chew on something sweet – chocolate will taste like butter and sugar like grains of sand!!
Schizandra (berry)
Native to China, Russia and Korea.  It’s name comes from the fact that it’s berries possess all 5 basic flavours salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter.  Schizandra helps to cleanse our liver, improving digestion and supporting kidneys.  Increasing our energy by helping to improve our oxygen levels so exercise is less of a chore.  Lessening the mental stress that comes with restriction and change of diet.
Taraxacum officinale (root)
Dandelions have been used as food for much of recorded history in Europe and Asia.  It’s common name ‘dandelion’ comes from the French ‘dent de lion‘ meaning ‘lions tooth‘.  Dandelion helps to cleanse the liver so it will produce a better quality and larger amount of bile to emulsify and breakdown fat.  Excessive toxins within the body may also lead to congestion and water retention.  Dandelion will help to clear these, which in turn also help increase energy levels making us more able to enjoy exercise and make healthier food choices.
Galium aparine (herb foliage)
The lymphatic system is one of the places in our body where fat (toxins within the fat) is stored.  Cleavers (G.aparine) helps with removal of this out of the lymphatic system and removal via the digestive and urinary system where it supports the kidneys.  We can assist cleavers further by exercising as physical movement is our lymphatic systems way of cleaning itself out.
Oolong and Green Tea have both been shown to increase metabolism, helping to burn fat and block dietary fat absorption.  EGCG and caffeine together in green tea have been shown to cause fat to be used as a first source of fuel.  One 2001 Japanese study stated that one month daily consumption of Oolong could result in reduction of cholesterol levels.  In a 2004 study, it was reported that consumption of Oolong tea increased plasma adiponectin levels.  Low levels of plasma adiponectin results in type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and coronary artery disease (CAD).
So you can see that herbs can help influence your weight loss routine in many ways.  Be it reducing your energy intake by decreasing appetite, reducing cravings, modifying food absorption, increasing your energy expenditure by mobilizing fats or increasing metabolism and stamina.  When you combine them with a well balanced diet and exercise routine you can get some great weight loss results.  
For those on diabetic medications please check with your practitioner before consuming Gymnema.
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So get into that tea – perhaps not as literally as the kitty!