There is a group of herbs known as thermogenic herbs, or stimulants. These herbs are often use in weight loss as they increase some body functions – heart rate, digestion, respiration, etc. Such herbs often contain caffeine and among them are green tea, nettle, dandelion, etc. Other herbs – diuretics, are used as they cause water weight loss. Some of these herbal plants can be very beneficial, but others are very dangerous and even toxic.
The following products have been reported to cause serious side effects and even death. The FDA recommends avoiding them.
- Herbal Laxatives – They are usually available as diet tea, senna, buckthorn, aloe, rhubarb root. Herbal laxatives cause cramping and diarrhea. If they are used in large doses and very often, this may stop your bowels from function properly without further stimulation with laxatives.
- Ephedra – It is also known as ma huang. High doses of ephedra may cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and over stimulation of the central nervous system. There are over 800 reports of side effects associated with the usage of ephedra. The side effects include heart palpitations, seizures, stroke, chest pain, heart attack, etc. It is proven that the herb has caused at least two deaths.
- Herbal fen-phen – This diet drug contains ephedra. Its usage causes different side effects: irregular heartbeat, death from heart attack and stroke.