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Plant-Based Herbal Medicine for Weight Loss — My Favorite Remedies

Plant-Based Herbal Medicine for Weight Loss — My Favorite Remedies

Jan 5, 2024 | Herbal Remedies

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use or have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own.

What Are Adaptogens and Why Are They Important?

Adaptogens are a class of botanicals that help to balance the stress response, increase energy, and normalize hormones. Because of this, they can be useful for weight loss. What’s more, adaptogens help to improve blood sugar levels in those with type II diabetes, furthering their benefit. These powerful plants and mushrooms can also help to improve endurance and oxygen consumption, thereby supporting longer sessions of exercise, which in turn can lead to more muscle gain and caloric expenditure. Three of my favorite adaptogens include ashwagandha, cordyceps, holy basil, and reishi mushroom, which we will explore in this post.

bowl of cordyceps mushrooms

Stress, Hormones, & Blood Sugar Regulation for Weight Management

Ashwagandha — A well-known adaptogen, ashwagandha root extract helps to reduce psychological and physical stress while also lowering food cravings, according to a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine.3

The researchers concluded that “The outcome of this study suggests that Ashwagandha root extract can be used for body weight management in adults under chronic stress. The herb can also promote weight loss by increasing testosterone levels, thereby improving motivation and energy.”4 Interested in reaping these benefits? Ashwagandha is included in my powerful Anxiety & Stress Blend.

Cordyceps — Native to the Himalayas, Cordyceps militaris helps to increase oxygen consumption and supports endurance so that you can exercise longer and burn more calories. A study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements found that the medicinal mushroom supported higher intensity of exercise and faster recovery.5 Moreover, research in the Journal of Ethnophamacology established that cordyceps is beneficial for obesity by reducing body weight and the size of fat cells.6

Holy BasilOcimum sanctum is a familiar adaptogenic herb in Ayurvedic medicine, otherwise known as tulsi. Not only does this mighty plant help to regulate the stress response, but a two month study found that it also promoted weight loss and lowered triglyceride levels and BMI in obese or overweight participants who were given a 250 mg capsule of the herb twice per day.1 The researchers believe this was due to reduced fat cell formation and improved blood sugar regulation.

Similarly, another study found that holy basil was able to improve blood glucose levels in type II diabetes patients by 5 percent when they were given 300 mg of tulsi in addition to their standard anti-diabetic drug.2

For a potent herbal formulation that includes tulsi and supports blood sugar and triglyceride regulation, my Heart Health Blend is an outstanding option.

Reishi — As a powerful adaptogen, this medicinal mushroom is remarkable for supporting the adrenal glands and protecting against the effects of stress and the release of fat-storing cortisol.15 It also helps to shield against stress-related damage while exercising as well as low oxygen levels and cold exposure.16

turkey tail mushrooms growing on a tree

The Importance of Gut Health

Adaptogenic properties aren’t the only aspect of medicinal mushrooms that help to promote weight loss — they also modulate the microbiota, cool inflammation, and balance blood sugar levels.6 According to a study published in the journal Molecules:

“Mushrooms help to regulate dysbiosis and augment antiobesity effects. Holmes, and Chang et al. indicated that G. lucidum [reishi] decreases obesity in mice by regulating the composition of the microbiota. These considerations further suggest the likely functions of microbiota in the polysaccharide-induced reduction of obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, modulating microbiota with the consumption of mushroom could also help maintain glucose homeostasis and reduce insulin resistance linked to diabetes and obesity.”8,9,10

Furthermore, research on reishi mushroom found that it reduced the storage of glucose and lipids in addition to activating AMPK pathways, which suggests polysaccharides in the mushroom are significant “anti obesity and anti diabetic agents”.11

Turkey tail medicinal mushroom also shows promise for its anti-obesity properties. A 2019 study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research established that a protein-bound β-glucan (PBG) in the mushroom reduces obesity and metabolic inflammation in mice given a high-fat diet by promoting a microbiome rich in beneficial Akkermansia muciniphila gut bacteria.12

Another medicinal mushroom known for its role in promoting microbiome health and managing blood sugar levels is lion’s mane. Research published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies found that Hericium erinaceus administered to diabetic rats “resulted in a significant decrease in serum glucose level.”13 The mushroom also has been shown to regulate the gut microbiota.14

Seeking an all-in-one formulation for gut health? My Balanced Gut Blend contains potent extracts of reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms, along with several additional herbal remedies that promote a healthy microbiome and much more.

Nicoles Apothecary Mushroom Fourtress

Four Foundational Medicinal Mushrooms

As we have seen, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, and lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms are outstanding for reducing the harmful, waist-expanding effects of stress, high blood sugar, gut dysbiosis, and inflammation.

This is why our Mushroom FOURtress is my favorite bundle for supporting weight loss. Not only does it help to manage your weight, but it also boosts brain function, fights bacterial and viral infections, improves energy, inhibits cancer, stimulates Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), and modulates the immune system. I take 2 dropperfuls of each of these mushroom tinctures daily.

Whether you want to shed excess weight or prevent fat gain in the first place, this bundle is a phenomenal, all-natural option. Ready to learn more? Visit the apothecary today and discover how our concentrated herbal extracts can help you to achieve your weight loss goals!

Nicole Apelian

Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post

Nicoles Apothecary - Anxiety and Stress Tincture

Anxiety & Stress Tincture

Nicoles Apothecary Balanced Gut Tincture

Balanced Gut Blend Tincture

Nicoles Apothecary Heart Health Blend Tincture

Heart Health Blend Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Cordyceps Mushroom Tincture

Dual-Extracted Cordyceps Mushroom Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Reishi Mushroom Tincture

Dual-Extracted Reishi Mushroom Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Mushroom FOURTress Bundle

Mushroom FOURtress Bundle

    1. Satapathy, S., Das, N., Bandyopadhyay, D. et al. Effect of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) Supplementation on Metabolic Parameters and Liver Enzymes in Young Overweight and Obese Subjects. Ind J Clin Biochem 32, 357–363 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12291-016-0615-4
    2. Somasundaram, G & Kumarappan, Manimekalai & Salwe, Kartik. (2023). EVALUATION OF THE ANTIDIABETIC EFFECT OF OCIMUM SANCTUM IN TYPE 2 DIABETIC PATIENTS. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/EVALUATION-OF-THE-ANTIDIABETIC-EFFECT-OF-OCIMUM-IN-Somasundaram-Manimekalai/5eb67792c6420b04f474b3c96431d2fdc50738dd
    3. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
    4. Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12, 43. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9
    5. Hirsch, K. R., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Roelofs, E. J., Trexler, E. T., & Mock, M. G. (2017). Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. Journal of dietary supplements, 14(1), 42–53. https://doi.org/10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386
    6. Kim, S. B., Ahn, B., Kim, M., Ji, H. J., Shin, S. K., Hong, I. P., Kim, C. Y., Hwang, B. Y., & Lee, M. K. (2014). Effect of Cordyceps militaris extract and active constituents on metabolic parameters of obesity induced by high-fat diet in C58BL/6J mice. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 151(1), 478–484. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.10.064
    7. Delzenne N.M., Bindels L.B. Gut microbiota: Ganoderma lucidum, a new prebiotic agent to treat obesity? Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2015;12:553–554. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2015.137
    8. Huang H.Y., Korivi M., Yang H.T., Huang C.C., Chaing Y.Y., Tsai Y.C. Effect of Pleurotus tuber-regium polysaccharides supplementation on the progression of diabetes complications in obese-diabetic rats. Chin. J. Physiol. 2014;57:198–208. doi: 10.4077/CJP.2014.BAC245.
    9. Chang C.J., Lin C.S., Lu C.C., Martel J., Ko Y.F., Ojcius D.M., Tseng S.F., Wu T.R., Chen Y.Y., Young J.D., et al. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. Nat. Commun. 2015;6:7489. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8489.
    10. Ganesan, K., & Xu, B. (2018). Anti-Obesity Effects of Medicinal and Edible Mushrooms. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(11), 2880. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23112880
    11. Thyagarajan-Sahu A., Lane B., Sliva D. ReishiMax, mushroom-based dietary supplement, inhibits adipocyte differentiation, stimulates glucose uptake and activates AMPK. BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 2011;11:74. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-74.
    12. Li, X., Chen, P., Zhang, P., Chang, Y., Cui, M., & Duan, J. (2019). Protein-Bound β-glucan from Coriolus Versicolor has Potential for Use Against Obesity. Molecular nutrition & food research, 63(7), e1801231. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201801231
    13. Liang, B., Guo, Z., Xie, F., & Zhao, A. (2013). Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 13, 253. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-253
    14. Diling C, Chaoqun Z, Jian Y, et al. Immunomodulatory activities of a fungal protein extracted from Hericium erinaceus through regulating the gut microbiota. Front Immunol. 2017;8:666. Published 2017 Jun 12. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00666
    15. Liao, L. Y., He, Y. F., Li, L., Meng, H., Dong, Y. M., Yi, F., & Xiao, P. G. (2018). A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chinese medicine, 13, 57. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9
    16. Sharma, P., Tulsawani, R., & Agrawal, U. (2019). Pharmacological effects of Ganoderma lucidum extract against high-altitude stressors and its subchronic toxicity assessment. Journal of food biochemistry, 43(12), e13081. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfbc.13081

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