Ayurvedic Medicine & Treatment Tips for Weight Loss
Published on Nov 06, 2020
By Dr. Surya Bhagwati
Chief In- House Doctor
BAMS, DHA, DHHCM, DHBTC | 30+ Years of Experience
Obesity and excess bodyweight has become a growing concern in India over the last few decades. The threat posed by the problem will only continue to grow as shown in a recent PLoS One study. The paper, which looked at numerous reports, predicts that the prevalence of overweight and obesity will exceed 30 percent within the next two decades. We need novel and sustainable treatments to deal with this public health threat. The current COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of a strategy to deal with excess weight, as obese patients are more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications and fatality.
Keeping all of these developments in mind, it makes sense to once again look towards our rich Ayurvedic traditions. Ayurved gives us some of the best weight loss treatment guidelines, including the use of natural medicine and diet and lifestyle changes.
The Best Ayurvedic Medicines for Weight Loss
There’s no single Ayurvedic weight loss medicine that can be described as ‘the best’. Most Ayurvedic medications will actually contain a blend of herbs, aimed at maximizing their health benefits. When choosing a herbal weight loss medicine, you should look for one that contains ingredients from at least a few of these herbs.
To anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Ayurved, guggul is an extremely important herb. Theoretically, it is not a herb, but is the resin of a herb. Either way, the ingredient is extremely helpful for anyone seeking to lose weight. Studies have found that the herb can improve fat metabolism or the breakdown of fat cells, thereby promoting weight loss. Additionally, it can provide various health benefits, lowering the risk of obesity-related complications. Guggul is probably the first ingredient that you should look for in any Ayurvedic weight loss supplement.
Ginger is something that we rarely think of as a medicine, except for when we’re battling colds and coughs. However, its medicinal value extends beyond treating respiratory infections. You can also use it to strengthen digestion and boost weight loss. Researchers have found that it may enhance thermogenesis – basically increasing the burning of calories and fat. The ingredient is usually listed as sunth in Ayurvedic medicines, but you can also chew on raw ginger, add it to your food, or consume it in herbal tea.
Also known as gokhshura, gokhru is another powerful herb in the fight against obesity. It is often used in remedies to treat sexual and fertility disorders, but it is also an important ingredient in some of the best medicines for weight loss. Gokhru is known to help with blood sugar control and studies have also shown that it can help regulate blood cholesterol levels and protect against blood vessel damage. This reduces the risk of obesity complications, while also making it easier to lose weight. The herb can also help reduce swelling and weight gain that is associated with water retention.
Triphala is one of the most widely used and popular Ayurvedic remedies in India. It is actually a polyherbal formulation, containing three herbal ingredients – amla, bibhitaki, and haritaki. Balancing for all dosha types, triphala is effective at regulating blood sugar levels. This means that it lowers the risk of sugar spikes and the associated food cravings. This makes it easier to control your diet for sustainable weight loss.
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices today, used in everything from lattes to cakes. However, if you truly want its health benefits, it would be best to consume it in healthier combinations without all that sugar. Known as dalchini in Ayurved, the spice has long been used to promote weight loss and you may see this ingredient in some Ayurvedic medicines for weight loss. It is believed to provide a metabolic boost and also offers cardio protective benefits.
Ayurvedic Weight Loss Tips
As any Ayurvedic physician will tell you, Ayurved is not just about taking medications to treat illness. This is also true in the context of obesity. Ayurvedic weight loss medicines may be effective, but they are meant to support your weight loss program. As part of any effective weight loss program, you need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. To get started, follow these simple weight loss tips.
1. Eat Three Satisfying Meals a Day
This is a standard Ayurvedic recommendation and one that you shouldn’t ignore. The regular intake of food to fuel your body helps to maintain the strength of the digestive fire consistently. This means that you should consume three healthy and wholesome digestible meals, while avoiding snacking between meals. If you must snack, limit snacking to a handful of nuts and seeds or a fresh fruit.
2. Supper Before Seven
This may not be easy to follow, but as far as possible you should try to have your dinner before 7 pm. This is the last meal of the day and should be a light meal. Keep in mind that this is also more practical if you are adhering to dinacharya and will be in bed by 10 pm. Eating a light supper, at least 3 hours prior to bedtime allows most digestion to take place before sleep. This improves sleep quality and enhances detoxification.
3. Sip on Hot Water & Herbal Tea
Hot water is regarded as healing in itself as it is said to facilitate the breakdown and elimination of ama. As ama accumulation is regarded as a major contributor to obesity, this habit can help accelerate weight loss. Similarly, herbal teas with a heating effect like ginger tea can also aid weight loss. For the same reason, you should also avoid cold beverages.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep duration and quality are extremely important to weight maintenance, a fact that is now recognized by modern science. As per Ayurvedic recommendations, the ideal time for sleep is 10 pm to 6 am, but you can make minor adjustments, so long as you are getting adequate and high quality sleep.
5. Eat Mindfully
Ayurved emphasizes mindfulness and moderation in every aspect of life. It can be particularly when it comes to eating as the practices makes you more attuned to your body’s signals. This requires eating slowly and with focus on your food. Accordingly, make sure to chew properly and avoid distractions like reading or watching TV while eating. This improves digestion and also reduces the risk of overeating.
Weight management can be a fairly complex problem to deal with on your own. If you find that the Ayurvedic medicines and tips listed here are inadequate, seek help from a qualified Ayurvedic doctor. Physicians who are trained in Ayurvedic medicine can provide you with personalized care, pointing you in the right direction.
- Luhar, Shammi et al. “Forecasting the prevalence of overweight and obesity in India to 2040.” PloS one vol. 15,2 e0229438. 24 Feb. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229438
- Yang, Jeong-Yeh et al. “Guggulsterone inhibits adipocyte differentiation and induces apoptosis in 3T3-L1 cells.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) vol. 16,1 (2008): 16-22. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.24
- Mansour, Muhammad S et al. “Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study.” Metabolism: clinical and experimental vol. 61,10 (2012): 1347-52. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.03.016
- Tuncer, M Altug et al. “Influence of Tribulus terrestris extract on lipid profile and endothelial structure in developing atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta of rabbits on a high-cholesterol diet.” Acta histochemica vol. 111,6 (2009): 488-500. doi:10.1016/j.acthis.2008.06.004
- Al-Ali, Muneer et al. “Tribulus terrestris: preliminary study of its diuretic and contractile effects and comparison with Zea mays.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 85,2-3 (2003): 257-60. doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(03)00014-x
- Peterson, Christine Tara et al. “Therapeutic Uses of Triphala in Ayurvedic Medicine.” Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) vol. 23,8 (2017): 607-614. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0083
- Mollazadeh, Hamid, and Hossein Hosseinzadeh. “Cinnamon effects on metabolic syndrome: a review based on its mechanisms.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences vol. 19,12 (2016): 1258-1270. doi:10.22038/ijbms.2016.7906