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Is Salvia Root Good for Fat Loss?

In the quest for a fitter and healthier body you know you need to watch what you eat and get some regular exercise. That way you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.

But there’s nothing wrong with a little extra push from a good-quality fat burner supplement either. In fact it’ll speed up your progress if anything

Salvia root is one of the nutrients that you hear mentioned as a weight loss tool, particularly in the beauty industry. That it helps you achieve a flatter stomach or drop weight.

But is it true? Can salvia help you drop fat?

In this article we take a look…

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What is salvia root?
  • How does it improve heart health?
  • Can salvia help you shed pounds?
  • Is there a better option?

What is Salvia Root?

Otherwise known as Salvia miltiorrhiza , salvia a is herb used commonly in Chinese medicine.

It’s a tall perennial plant characterized by its vivid purple flowers and rusty red roots.

In fact, it’s these roots that are often used and sold as Danshen – a dried variety of the herbal remedy.

Salvia is made up of a number of bioactive compounds including both water and fat-soluble compounds. From these, you’ll find a range of polyphenolic acids, ursolic acid and tannin.

Salvia and heart health

The most notable, healh-giving compounds though seems to be salvinolic acids and tanshinones. These have been found to improve circulatory and vascular health in traditional medicine studies. It is currently one of the highest selling Chinese herbal remedies for heart health.

A small number of studies have shown that the salvionolic acid content of the herb can inhibit a number of enzymatic reactions that cause long-term vascular issues [1]. It therefore has a cardiac protective effect.

It may also help to improve symptoms of:

  • Angina
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor circulation
  • High cholesterol

Purple salvia root used to improve health and weight loss

Key Point: Salvia is a traditional Chinese herb that has been used to treat heart and vascular conditions with modestly successful effect.


Why is it Promoted as a Weight Loss Supplement?

Because salvia might be able to improve cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood, manufacturers of salvia root supplements have started to speculate that it could help with weight loss too.

But just because it can reduce fat in the blood and improve symptoms of hyperlipidemia, doesn’t mean it can reduce belly fat.

Often sold as an infused tea, this supplement is touted as a ‘cleanse’ that ‘promotes reduction of toxins’. As we know in the nutrition industry though, these words mean absolutely nothing and the human body doesn’t work like that.

Whenever you hear these words as part of a supplement’s marketing, you know it’s clutching at straws. They might as well just say ‘we’ve no scientific research to show you so we’ll just give you some cool sound bytes and hope you buy it anyway’.

So what does the research say about Danshen products and weight loss?

Animal studies – salvia might reduce food intake… but does cause side effects

The reason why salvia has been marketed as a fat loss tool is purely off of the back of one or two questionable research papers using animals.

A study published in Chinese Medicine in 2007 [2] reported that a dietary salvia supplement called Number Ten was able to cause significant weight loss in a group of rats. This was attributed to changes to hormone levels that resulted in a reduction in food intake.

It wasn’t an outright salvia supplement though, and instead contained a variety of  nutrients including rhubarb, ginger, turmeric and sage.

And the rats in the Number 10 group also suffered side effects too – soft stools, discolored urine and hair loss. Not exactly what you’d want from your supplement.

Are there any human trials?

Not as many as you’d like to see… and the trials that have been completed don’t look promising either.

In one study [3], a group of 105 healthy but overweight women tested Number 10 (to be honest we’re surprised it got ethical approval after the side effects seen in the rat study).

The women were asked to ingest 300 mg of the supplement per day for 24-weeks. At the same time they had their diet restricted to assess the effects of the salvia without other variables.

What happened?

Nothing. There was no weight loss experienced or even a reduction in daily energy intake. And that’s after a pretty lengthy 6-month period as well.

The authors of the study suggested that salvia root was an “ineffective supplement for weight loss”.


Woman lifting dumbbells to lose weight and drop body fat

Key Point: There is no evidence at all that salvia root will help you lose weight or drop body fat.


Summary – Does Salvia Help You Lose Fat?

It’s a resounding no from us.

Whatever studies are available point to salvia root being an ineffective weight loss supplement. It sounds interesting from a heart health perspective, but that’s it.

There are much better supplements on the market that contain natural nutrients to promote improvements to your body composition. They are safer.. and they work too.

We suggest you focus your attention on those instead.


Is There a Better Option?

Yes there is.

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  • Boost your metabolism
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  • Feel fuller for longer

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References

  1. Zhou, L et al. Danshen: an overview of its chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and clinical use. J Clin Pharmacol. 2005; 45(12): 1345-59
  2. York, DA et al. Effect of an herbal extract Number Ten (NT) on body weight in rats. Chin Med. 2007 ; 14(2): 10


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