Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is an eating disorder in which you obsess about your weight and the food you eat. You try maintaining a weight far below what is normal for your height and age. To lose weight and prevent putting on weight, you may even starve yourself or indulge in excessive and heavy exercise. It is more common in adolescents and females. However, people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic background are affected by it.
Genetic basis has been postulated, but no specific gene has been identified to be causing anorexia. There is evidence that imbalance in serotonin (a neurotransmitter in brain) levels plays a role. Psychological reasons for anorexia include excess sensitivity and perfectionism.
It is also influenced by cultural preferences for thinness, as in the Western culture. Symptoms include extreme loss of weight, thin appearance, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, dry skin, and constipation. There will be drastic reduction in eating, flat mood, social withdrawal, and depressed mood.
Herbal Remedies For Anorexia
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort helps in anorexia by calming the nerves and alleviating the depression. It is should not be used if you are taking any antidepressant medication. St. John’s wort is extracted from the leaves and flowers of Hypericum perforatum.
The active ingredients are hypericin and hyperforin. Its dose is 300 mg (containing 0.3% of hypericin) thrice daily, with meals. It could also be taken as a tea or liquid extract. It may take up to 3-4 weeks for the effects to be seen.
Fenugreek stimulates the appetite. The seeds of Trigonella foenum-graecum are used in making the medicine. The active ingredient is sotolon. Its dose is 250-500 mg twice or thrice daily. It is not advisable to be taken by children.
It should be avoided during pregnancy. Side effects include allergic reactions in some people, diarrhea, stomach upset, lowering of blood sugar, and interaction with blood thinning medications.
Catnip calms down the nerves and soothes digestive system. The extract is made from flowering tops of Nepeta cataria. The active ingredient is nepetalactone. It can be taken as a tea twice or thrice daily. Side effects include headache and vomiting.
Women with menstrual problems, particularly excessive bleeding, should avoid it. Pregnant women should avoid taking it as it can cause miscarriage. It can interact with certain medications, such as lithium and some sedatives.
Milk Thistle (Holy Thistle)
The seeds and aerial parts of Silybum marianum are used to make the milk thistle extract. The active ingredient is silymarin. Its dose is 80-160 mg twice or thrice daily. It can cause allergy in sensitive individuals.
Other side effects are nausea, loss of appetite, indigestion, diarrhea, intestinal gas and bloating. Avoid taking it during pregnancy and breastfeeding to be on the safe side. Check with your physician about possible drug interactions with milk thistle.
Ashwagandha is extracted from the root and berries of Withania somnifera. It is also known as Indian ginseng. The active ingredients are tropine, cuscohygrine, and withanolides (principally withaferin A). Take 450 mg once or twice daily.
Side effects can include stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it to be on the safe side. You should stop taking ashwagandha 2 weeks prior to any scheduled surgery.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.