Weight management most often focuses on weight loss but not on how to gain weight, which is understandable in an era where obesity and weight-related illness is the primary health challenge.
However, for people who face the frustrating situation being unable to put on weight, information is hard to come by and often does not address the cause of being underweight.
There can be many causes for being underweight; however, digestion is the primary issue that should be addressed in the first instance. Malabsorption in the digestive tract will result in weight loss, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, bloating and cramping, bowel problems and fatigue.
These symptoms are also indicative of a wide range of illnesses; and you should seek out a thorough examination from your health care practitioner to rule out other problems such as adrenal dysfunction, thyroid and liver disorders, hormonal imbalance and other serious health issues.
For most underweight people, weight gain can be achieved by improving digestion and liver function, and by using herbs and nutritional supplements, such as [easyazon_link identifier=”B000QSNYGI” locale=”US” tag=”herbal-resource-20″]protein powder[/easyazon_link], to addressing the individual’s diet while increasing calories/kilojoules. Naturally, the goal is not only to increase body weight but to also build lean muscle.
Medicinal Herbs Used for Gaining Weight
Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
Very good herb for putting on weight. The root of gentian contains bitter glycosides including gentiopicroside (also known as gentiopicrin) and the extremely bitter amarogentin.
Although gentiopicroside is present in a higher concentration, amarogentin has a bitterness value about 5000 times greater and accounts for most of the bitterness. The European Pharmacopoeia specifies that gentian root should have a bitterness value of not less than 10,000.
Gentian, as a bitter tonic, is traditionally used for loss of appetite, dyspepsia, to assist in the assimilation of food, and to provide tone to the gastrointestinal tract. Pharmacological studies indicate that oral administration of Gentian:
- increased gastric secretion.
- stimulated secretion of small intestinal enzymes.
- increased bile flow.
- increased appetite.
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinalis)
Dandelion root is primarily a bitter tonic, traditionally used for the treatment of poor appetite, dyspepsia, gallstones, cholecystitis, and constipation. The bitter-tasting substances are sesquiterpene lactones glycosides, which stimulate bile flow and as a result, stimulate digestion.
Chen Pi (Citrus reticulate)
The literal English translation of Chen Pi is “aged peel” and is regarded in traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) as a mild relaxant and digestive stimulant.
The Chinese Pharmacopoeia recommends Chen Pi to treat the sensation of fullness in the chest and epigastrium (possibly indigestion) and is used to increase gastric secretion and peristalsis, to stimulate appetite and to relieve abdominal distension.
The peel contains the flavonoid hesperidin and an essential oil with limonene as the major bitter constituent.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
The rhizome contains an essential oil and pungent chemicals known as gingerols and shogaols. The Italian physician, Dioscorides in the first century AD praised ginger “it is of a heating and digestive quality, and is profitable for the stomach”.
In treating the digestive system it is primarily regarded as a carminative and digestive stimulant in the traditional medical systems of the West, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa and South America, where it is used to treat stomach ache (especially when due to undigested food), poor appetite, dyspepsia, flatulence and nausea.
Ginger is also considered to be a circulatory tonic and has been used for stomach cramps due to cold. The German Commission E recommends ginger for the treatment of dyspepsia.
Some other natural herbs that have been used for weight gain.
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
How to Use Herbs and Herbal Supplements to Gain Weight
For most underweight people, how to gain weight with herbs is more about regulating your metabolism and stimulating digestion. If you want to know how to put on weight with herbal supplements, you should consider following a meal plan designed to build lean muscle that gives your system the optimum nutrition needed to gain weight gradually. This will involve herbs to stimulate digestion and a diet that is high in lean protein, fiber from fruit, vegetables, and carbohydrates from whole grains.
For many underweight people, protein powders are an easy way to increase the intake of protein and are easy to include in the diet.