Chinese Herbal Remedies for Weight Loss

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Tess Thompson

Obesity has never been important on the agenda of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it has not been a typical social or medical problem in China. The ancient Chinese theory is based on the Yin-Yang philosophy and the Five Elements. According to TCM, weight gain or obesity is caused by unhealthy yin-yang interaction and disturbances in the balance of body organ functions. When you eat, the food is digested, the nutrients are absorbed and the waste material is excreted. An imbalance of these three functions causes retention of water, fat or food in the body which leads to weight gain.

Even though obesity control specifically has not been a major focus of TCM, there are many people who claim to have the formula for reducing weight naturally using Chinese obesity solutions.

However, with the ban on two herbal weight loss solutions manufactured in China and sold over the internet, there has been an extensive debate over the use of Chinese herbal remedies for weight loss. These two drugs were marketed as natural weight loss supplements but were actually found to contain a banned substance - N-nitroso-fenfluramine - associated with heart problems. The most commonly used Chinese herb, Ma Huang or ephedra has also been known to cause heart valve conditions and is banned by the FDA.

TCM does not advocate the use of any one single herb for treating obesity. Instead, the numerous herbs that are part of Chinese weight loss medications are used in conjunction with other herbs to treat obesity. These combinations are based on individual metabolic rates and physical conditions.

Based on that theory, most Chinese herbs are focused on what experts of TCM term as ‘dispelling pathogenic wind from the body surface’. The basic target is to increase metabolism and sweating, reduce swelling and eliminate food stagnation in the body. TCM targets healthy functioning of the spleen which is responsible for controlling transformation and movement of fluids by effectively managing muscles and flesh. The spleen is also the root for accumulation of phlegm. TCM believes that the spleen can be damaged by excessive intake of fatty foods and lack of exercise.

One of the safest weight loss solutions that has a Chinese connection and does not need any consultation from an expert is Chinese herbal green tea. Chinese green tea is processed differently from other green teas, which gives it its typical flavor and taste. It speeds up the body’s metabolism rate and burns calories faster. Green tea suppresses the appetite and does not add to the calorie intake if taken without sugar.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no miracle weight loss cure in any therapy. Like all other therapies, TCM also insists upon an active lifestyle, exercise and diet regulation as natural cures for obesity. The idea is to purge the body by detoxifying naturally, having easy bowel movements and restoring the balance between different organs involved in processing what we eat.


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