Alchemilla vulgaris, Olea europaea, Mentha longifolia, Cuminum cyminum: Clinical Research for Weight Loss


Historically, different cultures have had different standards for what constitutes being at a desirable body weight. Mild overweight was generally accepted in ancient Arab societies and considered a reflection of a high socioeconomic level and part of the desired beauty standards in those days.1 Only severe obesity was considered suitable for treatment using specific medicinal plants, body exercises and control of food consumption.2,3 In such cases, four traditional herbs have been used. This includes Cuminum cyminum L. (cumin), Mentha longifolia L. (horse mint), Olea europaea L. (olive) leaf and Alchemilla vulgaris L. (ladyโ€™s mantle). Furthermore, when used in combination, modern human clinical research has demonstrated that these herbs possess a high degree of effectiveness in promoting weight loss.

The Individual Herbs

Before jumping into the research on the combination of these herbs, letโ€™s take a quick look at them individually:

โ€ข Cuminum cyminum L. & Mentha longifolia L. โ€“ Cumin and mint have been used to reduce appetite4 and to improve digestion by relieving digestive symptoms, such as pain, spasm, gas and dyspepsia and creating a sensation of fullness.5

โ€ข Olea europaea L. leaf โ€“ Olive leaves are a typical herbal remedy of the Arab-Islamic world and reported to possess hypoglycaemic, hypotensive-diuretic and antioxidant properties.6-9 Extracts from olive leaves have been shown to increase basal metabolic rate.10

โ€ข Alchemilla vulgaris L. โ€“ Regarded as safe even at large doses without known adverse effects,11-14 ladyโ€™s mantle has used for treating obesity, gastrointestinal pain, and inflammation in Arabic medicine.15,16 Extracts from ladyโ€™s mantel have also been shown to increase basal metabolic rate.17

The Combination of the Herbs

There have been four human clinical studies using a leaf extract combination of Alchemilla vulgaris, Olea europea and Mentha longifolia L, as well as seeds of Cuminum cyminum (as Weigh Level, Zanda Technologies). The HPLC profile of the combination is unique and was developed with the University of Copenhagen. Two of the studies are on a one a day dosage and the other two are on a three a day dosage. I will present these in order of publication.

2008 Study

This study18 examined the safety and efficacy of the herbal combination (as Weigh Level) in weight loss. This was done in vitro, in animals and in humans. Cultured human fibroblasts treated with the combination did not exhibit any sign of toxicity. These results were confirmed in experimental studies on rats where an LD50 of 15.3โ€‰g/kgโˆ’1 was observed. Significant antioxidant properties were seen at very low concentrations of the herbs (10โ€‰mcgโ€‰mlโˆ’1). Progressive and significant weight loss was observed in chickens given this mixture weekly for four weeks compared with controls. Furthermore, a threefold increase in thermogenesis was seen in rat interscapular brown adipose tissue following exposure to different concentrations of herbal combination extract as determined by measurement of increased oxygen consumption. In addition, a three-month clinical study was carried out among 66 human volunteers with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.67 ยฑ 2.14โ€‰kgโ€‰mโˆ’2. All 66 subjects were asked to continue their usual diet but to eat only three main meals daily and to take one herbal combination tablet 30โ€‰minutes before each meal. Results were that the herbal combination was well tolerated by all subjects, and no side effects were reported. A progressive and significant weight loss was seen in these subjects during the whole study period. Higher levels of weight loss were seen in people with BMI of 25โ€“30โ€‰kgโ€‰mโˆ’2 (overweight) compared to people with BMI >30โ€‰kgโ€‰mโˆ’2 (obese). On average, weight was reduced by 12 kg (26.4 lb., p<0.0005). The BMI was reduced after three months from 28.5 ยฑ 1.2 and 32.1 ยฑ 1.8โ€‰kgโ€‰mโˆ’2 to 24.5 ยฑ 1.4 and 27.5 ยฑ 2.2โ€‰kgโ€‰mโˆ’2 in overweight and obese groups, respectively. In conclusion, these results indicate safety, tolerability and efficacy of the herbal combination.

2010 Study

This 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study19 was conducted with 29 human volunteers. The test group included 16 volunteers and the control group included 13 volunteers who consumed tablets of the herbal combination (as Weigh Level) or consumed placebo tablets, with a dosing strategy of one tablet 30 minutes before each of three meals daily. All 29 subjects were asked to continue their usual diet, except for strictly limiting food intake to three main meals daily without snacking and were evaluated for efficacy and tolerability of the herbal combination every month for three months. The herbal combination was well tolerated by all subjects and no side effects were reported. After 12 weeks, test subjects, on average, showed statistically significant weight loss reduction of 9.5 kg (20.9 lb., p<0.0005) as well as a reduction in body mass index (BMI) from 31 to 27.9. Weight and BMI changes for the placebo group were not statistically significant. Results indicate safety, tolerability and efficacy of the herbal combination in weight loss.

2019 Study

Previous studies indicated that the herbal combination (as Weigh Level) taken three times daily produces weight loss. The aim of the present eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study20 was to test the efficacy of a new slow-release herbal combination formulation (as Weigh Level One) taken once per day on change in body weight and related measures. Thirty-six adult subjects were randomized to consume the herbal combination (n = 20) or placebo (n = 16) once per day for eight weeks. The primary endpoint was the change from baseline in body weight for the herbal combination group compared with placebo. Secondary assessments included waist circumference, appetite, craving, bowel health (i.e. bowel movement frequency and comfort), and safety and tolerability. Results were that the herbal combination group lost an average of 3.7 kg (8.14 lbs.) compared to a loss of 0.1 kg (0.22 lb.) for the placebo group. This difference was statistically significant (p<0.001). A statistically significant reduction in waist circumference was also observed for the herbal combination compared with placebo (p<0.001): 7.2 cm and 1.2 cm, respectively. Likewise, there were statistically significant changes in appetite (p<0.001), cravings (p<0.001) and bowel health (p<0.002) in the herbal combination group compared to the placebo group. The herbal combination was well tolerated, with no adverse events reported. In conclusion, daily administration of the herbal combination administered once daily produced significant weight loss.

2021 Study

The aim of the present eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial21 was to confirm if the effects of the previous study shown that the herbal combination taken once daily (as Weigh Level One) was effective in producing weight loss in healthy volunteers. Thirty adult subjects were randomized to consume the herbal combination (n = 15) or placebo (n = 15) once daily for eight weeks. Weight and waist circumference were assessed weekly. The primary endpoint was the change from baseline in body weight for the herbal blend group compared with placebo. Secondary assessments included waist circumference, appetite, craving, bowel health, and safety and tolerability. Results were that treatment with the herbal combination for eight weeks produced a progressive and significant reduction of 4.2 kg (9.24 lb.) in weight compared to 0.7 kg (1.54 lb.) in the placebo group (p<0.0001). Corresponding statistically significant reductions in body mass index and waist circumference were also observed compared to placebo (p<0.0001). Likewise, there were statistically significant changes in appetite (p=0.004) and cravings (p=0.03). Weight loss with this herbal combination was similar to that observed in previous studies thus demonstrating a reproducible effect. Daily administration of this herbal combination supports weight loss.

Conclusion

While there are many different nutraceutical options available to assist with the weight loss process, not all of them result in meaningful weight loss. By contrast the herbal combination (as Weigh Level and Weigh Level One, Zanda Technologies) has been shown to help reduce weight by 20-plus pounds in three months and eight-plus pounds in eight weeks. Additionally, use of the herbal combination has also resulted in significant reductions in waist circumference, appetite and cravings.VR

References:

1 Said O, Khalil K, Fulder S, Marie Y, Kassis E, Saad B. A Double Blinded- Randomized Clinical Study with โ€œWeighlevelโ€, a Combination of Four Medicinal Plants Used in Traditional Greco-Arab and Islamic Medicine. Open Complement Med J. 2010; 2: 1-6.

2 Avicenna (Ibn Sina), The Canon of Medicine. Vol. 1. Introduction. Arabic, Dar Al-hekma, Beirut, Lebanon, 1994. 3 Rhazes (Al Razi), Al Hawi Fi Tibโ€”The Comprehensive Book of Medicine. Vol. 5. Introduction. Arabic, Dar Al-huda, Cairo, Egypt, 2002.

4 Ibn Rassool Alturkmani, Almaatammad Fi Aladwiya Almufrada, vol. 319, Dar AlKutub Alarabiya, Cairo, Egypt, 1930, pp. 432โ€“525.

5 May B, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil in patients suffering from functional dyspepsia. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2000; 14(12): 1671โ€“1677.

6 Blumenthal M, et al (eds.). The Complete German Commission E monographs. Integrative Medical Comunication, Newtown, Boston, USA, 1999.

7 Pinelli P. Quali-quantitative analysis of antioxidant activity of different polyphenolic extracts from Olea europaea L. L. leaves. Journal of Commodity Science. 2000; 39: 71โ€“83, 2000.

8 Borodin II, et al. Effect of polyphenol fraction from Alchemilla vulgaris on the morphofunctional state of the thyroid in rats exposed to cold. Biulletenโ€™ Eksperimentalโ€™noi Biologii i Meditsiny. 1999; 127(6): 697โ€“699.

9 Al-Qarawi AA, et al. Effect of freeze dried extract of Olea europaea on the pituitarythyroid axis in rats. Phytotherapy Research. 2002;16(3): 286โ€“287.

10 Al-Qarawi AA, et al. Effect of freeze dried extract of Olea europaea on the pituitary-thyroid axis. Phytother Res 2002; 16:286-87.

11 Saad B, Azaizeh, H, Said, O. Tradition and perspectives of Arab herbal medicine: a review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2005; 2: 475-79.

12 Azaizeh H, Saad B, Khalil KH, Said O. The status of traditional Arab medicine and medicinal herbs of the middle eastern region: review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006; 3: 229-35.

13 Saad B, Azaizeh H, Abu Hijleh G, Said O. Safety of traditional Arab herbal medicine: a review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006; 3: 433-39.

14 Blumenthal M, et al (eds.). The Complete German Commission E monographs. Integrative Medical Comunication, Newtown, Boston, USA, 1999.

15 Alturkmani IR. Almaatammad Fi Aladwiya. Dar-Al-Kutub Alarabiya, Cairo, Egypt 1930; pp. 319, 432 and 525.

16 Said O, Khalil, KH, Azaizeh, H, Fulder, S. Ethnopharmacolical survey of the medical herbs in israel, the golan heights and the west bank. J Ethnopharmacol 2002; 83: 251.

17 Borodin IUI, et al. Effect of polyphenol fraction of Alchemilla vulgaris L. on the morphofunctional state of the thyroid in rats exposed to cold. Biull Eksp Biol Med 1999;127:697-9.

18 Said O, Saad B, Fulder S, Khalil K, Kassis E. Weight loss in animals and humans treated with โ€œweighlevel,โ€ a combination of four medicinal plants used in traditional arabic and islamic medicine. eCAM (published in advance). 2008; doi: 10.1093/ecam/nen067.

19 Said O, Khalil K, Fulder S, Marie Y, Kassis E, Saad B. A Double Blinded- Randomized Clinical Study with โ€œWeighlevel,โ€ a Combination of Four Medicinal Plants Used in Traditional Greco-Arab and Islamic Medicine. Open Complement Med J. 2010; 2: 1-6.

20 Kassis E. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Blend of Herbal Extracts Taken Once Per Day for Weight Loss in Healthy Volunteers. European J Med Plants. 2019; 28(1):1-8.

21 Kassis E, Hansen PA. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a once daily blend of herbal extracts for weight loss. Int J Herb Med. 2021; 9(3): 71-75.

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, Professor Emiritus of Nutraceutical Science, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 40 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at eugenejbruno@gmail.com.



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