Raising Metabolic Rate
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Adrienne
Posted on: March 20, 2002

Which herbs are best for raising your metabolic?

If you are asking which herbs raise the metabolic rate, probably the best known one is ephedra or ma huang. Ma huang contains the alkaloid ephedrine which has been used in herbal weight loss formulations. Recently, there have been concerns about the safety of ephedrine, particularly when the purified alkaloid is used instead of the whole herb. The Canadian government recently (Jan. 2002) established limits on how much ephedrine should be taken (8 mg/dose; 32 mg/day). You can read about these developments in the HerbLetter section of our website. But when reading the recent reports, I believe that it is important to distinguish between herbal products that have ephedrine added to them and those that are made with whole ephedra herb. The Chinese have been using the latter for thousands of years without apparent problems.

A safer approach to raising the metablism rate is take a traditional herbal mixture for the purpose. John Lust, in his book, "The Herb Book" (available from Richters), gives several recipes. One is to mix equal parts of juniper berries, yarrow and nettle, and steep 1 teaspoon in half a cup of boiling hot water. Lust recommends taking half or full cup a day sweetened with honey, in mouthful doses throughout the day. Other herbs used are chamomile, birch leaves, licorice root, dandelion root, and others.

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