Frequently used medicinal herbs and spices in weight management: a review


  • Vered Kaufman-Shriqui
  • Shiri Sherf-Dagan
  • Hagit Salem
  • Daniela Abigail Navarro
  • Mona Boaz PhD, Functional Food Institute, Dallas, San Diego



Background: Obesity rates have increased globally during the last half, and with it there has been increased interest in herbs and dietary supplements for weight management

Objectives: The purpose of the present review is to examine evidence for the efficacy and safety of herbal preparations including cinnamon, capsaicin, black pepper, and curcumin, which are popularly used for weight reduction.

Methods: A list of herbs and dietary supplements frequently used in weight management was developed by reviewing both scientific and popular literature. Included herbs/supplements were evaluated in terms of pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Results: Included in the review were cinnamon, capsaicin, black pepper and curcumin. For all of the included herbs, proof of concept could be demonstrated. Few well-designed, adequately powered clinical trials were available but those that were suggested efficacy.

Conclusions: While underlying metabolic/physiological mechanisms have been identified in pre-clinical studies, human studies of efficacy are sparse. An indication towards efficacy in humans exists for all of these products; however, treatment guidelines cannot be developed until better-quality randomized clinical trials can provide clear findings.

Keywords: Cinnamon; Capsaicin; Black Pepper; Curcumin; Weight Management





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