Thu | Jun 30, 2016

Weight loss with herbs and acupuncture

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Weight loss isn't rocket science, but it sure feels that way with many of us seemingly on a constant diet with questionable results. In many cases, the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to find a weight-loss plan that can be enjoyed as much as possible with a greater chance of adopting the required long-term lifestyle changes that will guarantee lifetime success. Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about looking good, but also about being healthy and prolonging a good quality of life.

Key considerations in every weight loss programme are: food intake (what you eat and how much); activity and/or exercise and metabolism (the rate at which we burn calories).

Herbal formulas and metabolism

Weight loss requires the body to use more calories than it takes in, and tapping into excess fat stores. Chinese herbal formulas are used to burn excess fat in the body. Herbs such as Kun Bu (kelp thallus), Lu Cha (green tea), He Ye (lotus leaf) and Hai Zao (seaweed) are staples in any weight-loss programme, giving a kick start to any diet plan. This does not mean you don't have to exercise!

Acupuncture and appetite control

If you eat more than your body needs to carry out its daily functions, the body will store it. Appetite control is an issue for some people. Acupuncture points on the ear are popularly used to help control the appetite. Key points used include mouth point and reduce appetite point, both of which work together to reduce one's desire to eat.

Acupuncture needles are inserted and allowed to remain in place for approximately 30 minutes. After they have been removed at the end of the acupuncture session, small ear magnets or ear seeds may be placed on the same points to allow continuous stimulation of the point until the next acupuncture session.


While many people hope and pray they can avoid it, the truth is you are not likely to get around the exercise issue in order to boost the body's metabolism. So pick one. Preferably, pick one you enjoy, even a little and will stick to, as exercising needs to become a way of life. If you are not a gym person, then try something else.

Walking, jogging, dance classes, yoga, swimming, squash, tennis are all options. The options are so varied, that it's almost impossible to not be able to find something, and there's nothing wrong with varying the type of exercise. If you lack 'stick-to-it-iveness', get an exercise partner.

Lifestyle changes

Some simple adjustments include:

Drinking water instead of a sweet drink.

Boost metabolism by eating five to six small meals a day rather than three heavy meals and sipping warm water throughout the day.

Eat your last heavy meal by 4 p.m.

Have broth in the nights if you are feeling puckish.

Eat more vegetables, you can bulk up meals with vegetables.

Eat a fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.

Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an oriental medicine practitioner, herbalist and doctor of acupuncture; email: