You have probably seen thermogenic herbs everywhere, though they aren’t labeled as such. They are usually called “Fat Fighters” or “Fat Burners.” Well, if you have wondered what these fat fighters are all about you need to know all about thermogenic herbs.
First things first, what is a thermogenic herb?
Thermogenesis is the process where the body heats up. This production of heat and rising of body temperature causes your metabolism to respond to the increased energy needs. The theory is that thermogenesis can cause you to burn more calories simply by running at a higher temperature and increased heart rate.
Here we are going to provide you a list of the most common thermogenic herbs and how they affect your body to help support weight loss.
This is one substance you are probably familiar with if you drink energy drinks. Guarana is a thermogenic herb because of its naturally high levels of caffeine. It is a stimulant and will have similar effects on the body. Some people who are sensitive to caffeine may experience anxiety or mood swings when taking guarana.
Another herb that affects your thermogenic response through high levels of caffeine; yerba-mate can be found in herbal teas and through supplements. Those with caffeine sensitivities should enjoy with caution. The Mayo Clinic did note that those who smoked cigarettes and drank high amounts of yerba-mate tea were at an increased risk for cancer due to the presence of a known carcinogen in yerba-mate. This is one fat fighter that should be enjoyed sparingly.
The International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders published a study  on the thermogenic effects of green tea. This study did note that most of the thermogenic effects seen in this tea were from the volume of caffeine found in the tea leaves. However, Green Tea EXTRACT produced a thermogenic effect that was higher than could be attributed to the caffeine level found in the tea leaves themselves. This may be because of how the caffeine and a chemical called catechin-polyphenols interact with the release of norepinephrine.
This herb has gotten a lot of hype and is often found listed as an ingredient in many fat fighters. However, Garcinia Cambogia is not a thermogenic herb. In fact, this herb has a completely different function than a thermogenic herb. Garcinia Cambogia is full of Hydroxycitric Acid. In a study published in the Journal of Obesity , it was noted that Hydroxycitric Acid hinders the body’s ability to convert sugar into fat (lipogenesis). This is probably the reason that it is found in combination with many fat fighting herbs.
Often with thermogenic supplements, you will see a combination of ingredients. Keep in mind that just because there are more herbs in one product doesn’t necessarily make it better. Thermogenic herbs are good for temporary use and have been proven to aid in short-term weight loss.
When combined with an herb like Garcinia Cambogia that prevents lipogenesis (the body’s ability to turn sugar into fat), these herbs can become very powerful aides in weight loss.
They are not magic pills, but they can help you get the jump start you need.
Ma Huang (Ephedra) – The Bad Herb
The National Institute for Health notes that Ephedra is currently illegal in the United States and that the FDA has banned its sale. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t still buying this herb. Unfortunately, they risk permanent damage to their cardio-respiratory system in the name of weight loss. While ephedra works to speed up your metabolism, it causes damage to your heart. The herb was so damaging that the FDA deemed it a health risk and took it off the market.
Not only can ephedra cause heart problems and stroke, but it has been known to increase anxiety, cause seizures in those with a seizure disorder, and may also affect blood sugar levels. This is one herb that you should stay away from!
- Dulloo, A., Seydoux, J., Girardier, L. et al. Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity. Int J Obes 24, 252–258 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0801101
- M. Saito, M. Ueno, S. Ogino, K. Kubo, J. Nagata, M. Takeuchi,
High dose of Garcinia cambogia is effective in suppressing fat accumulation in developing male Zucker obese rats, but highly toxic to the testis, Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 43, Issue 3, 2005, Pages 411-419, ISSN 0278-6915, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2004.11.008.