herbs for menopause weight gain

One of the most disheartening aspects of going through menopause is the sudden weight gain and the realization that the “eat less and exercise more” philosophy just doesn’t work. If you’re currently in this particular situation, don’t despair because there are herbs for menopause weight gain that can help you to start turning things around.

That said, please take note that the operative words are “start turning things around.” Herbs alone are not a magic bullet.

There are many different factors that contribute to weight (as you’ll learn shortly).

In addition, it’s always best to combine herbs/supplements with hormone-friendly foods and lifestyle choices that will get you reach and maintain your target weight.

To help you get started, this article will cover:

  • Why it’s important to take a holistic approach to weight loss during menopause.
  • The main types/categories of herbs that can help you.
  • Supplements that you can use to get started.

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.


herbal remedies for weight loss during menopause - ashwagandha

Losing weight during menopause requires a holistic approach. This means using herbs that:

  • lower stress.
  • support liver function.
  • improve insulin resistance and regulate blood sugar.
  • support gut health.

Ideally, you should work with a herbalist or doctor who is knowledgeable about herbs to put together a custom blend that meets your specific needs.

In the meantime, you can use the information in this article as a starting off point of things to look into.

1. Choose An Herb for Stress and Inflammation

Menopause is often a very stressful time not only because of the changes that your body is going through, but also because:

  • By the time we start transitioning into menopause, we’ve been on the planet for 4+ decades.
  • In those 4+ decades we’ve developed long-standing lifestyle and dietary habits that may or may not serve us. In addition, we’ve been exposed to multiple toxins (via food, water, cosmetics), and pathogens (fungi, viruses, bacteria).
  • In addition, we may have also developed nutritional deficiencies that have quietly gone unnoticed.

All of this creates imbalance and puts the body in a state of stress. More specifically, chemical stress.

Let’s also remember that we often tend to have responsibilities – career, kids, hubby, taking care of aging parents, etc. – during this phase of life. So, again, more stress (in this case, emotional stress).

Now, the thing with stress is that regardless of the source, the body reacts in the same way: our inflammatory response system kicks in and triggers the production of cortisol.

And chronically elevated cortisol can eventually lead to (source):

  • a slower metabolism.
  • increased sugar cravings.
  • sleep disruptions.
  • elevated blood sugar.
  • gut imbalance.
  • an overworked liver (especially when you’re dealing with a lot of chemical stress).

Any one of these factors alone can contribute to weight gain. But if they all occur at once then that exacerbates weight problems.

So, the first step to losing weight during menopause is to use herbs that support our stress response system. 

This stress response system involves the central nervous system and the endocrine system (specifically, the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals aka the HPA axis).

In addition to herbs for stress, it can be helpful to also use herbs that help with liver function, blood sugar regulation and gut health. Here’s a quick overview of why these herbs can help with weight loss.

2. Choose a Liver-Friendly Herb

A healthy liver is essential for converting thyroid T4 hormone to T3 (thyroid hormones regulate our metabolism).

In addition, the liver is responsible for metabolizing hormones and helping us get rid of harmful compounds (i.e. detox) that contribute to hormonal imbalance.

3. Choose an Herb for Insulin Sensitivity and Blood Sugar Regulation

Not only does insulin resistance tend to increase during menopause, but chronic stress may also contribute to insulin resistance (1, 2).

Since insulin resistance plays a significant role in weight gain, having herbs that minimize the development of this metabolic change could help with weight loss (source).

4. Add An Herb for Gut Health

The gut produces hunger hormones (like leptin and ghrelin), regulates estrogen and also plays a key role in detoxification.

In addition, gut bacteria can affect the types of cravings we have.

Furthermore, chronic stress negatively affects gut function and contributes to inflammatory conditions like leaky syndrome. At this point you can get stuck in a vicious cycle with stress, impacting the gut, the gut not being able to regulate hormones being out of whack and leading to more stress. 

Herb CategoryWhy Use It
Stress-reducingthey support the central nervous system and help to lower cortisol
Liver-friendlya healthy liver is necessary for thyroid hormone conversion and detoxification.
Insulin sensitivityinsulin resistance is a major contributor to weight gain and can make weight loss more difficult.
Gut-friendlythe gut regulates estrogen and cravings, supports detoxification.


best herbs for perimenopause and menopause weight gain

There are lots of different herbs that can be used to support weight loss during menopause. The list below is not meant to be exhaustive. 

Rather it focuses on herbs that have historically been used to address the things we talked about in the previous section. 

Some of these herbs have modern research to validate their traditional use and I’ve included links to studies when relevant.

Lastly, please remember to always check with your doctor before adding herbs to your regimen. They can interact with other drugs (as well as with each other, if combined incorrectly).

1. Berberine

Technically speaking, berberine is not an herb but a compound that is found in herbs like goldenseal and barberry.

Berberine has been shown to be an impressive natural remedy for insulin resistance. In fact, one study compared berberine with the prescription drug metformin, with berberine proving to be just as effective (1, 2).

In addition, berberine may also help with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that tends to go hand-in-hand with hormonal imbalance.

Since a healthy liver is an important component in hormone balance, berberine might be a friendly ally in that regard.

Lastly, some medical literature refers to berberine having “anti-obesity action,” suggesting that it could play a role in the fight against metabolic syndrome (3, 4).

2. Stinging Nettle Leaf

Nettle is by far my favorite herb for women because it supports so many different parts of the body and it is very rich in nutrients.

I’ve written a more detailed article here about the benefits of nettle for hormones, so I won’t dive into everything. But here’s a brief summary of its properties:

  • Rich in iron.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Balances blood sugar.
  • Supports liver health.
  • Fights inflammation.
  • Good source of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and proteins.

My favorite way to consume nettle is in the form of a strong infusion (the instructions for making it are in the article I linked above).

But you can also take in the form of a capsule.

3. Milk Thistle

In the world of herbalism, milk thistle is one of the go-to herbs to support liver function.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the liver’s main jobs is to get rid of toxins. Now, when the liver metabolizes toxins, free radicals are released.

These free radicals can lead to inflammation and oxidative stress.

However, research shows that milk thistle is able to reduce inflammation and damage to the liver (source).

In order to balance your hormones and naturally lose weight, optimal liver function is critical. 

And milk thistle is one herb to consider adding to your regimen.

Alternative liver herb to consider: dandelion, red clover.

4. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is in a class of plants known as adaptogens. These adaptogens are ideal for supporting our stress response system (the HPA axis) and helping to lower cortisol levels.

Ashwagandha provides a lot of benefits including:

  • restoring healthy cortisol levels.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity.
  • regulating estrogen and progesterone levels.
  • supporting healthy thyroid function.
  • lowering inflammation.

If you’d like to learn more about adaptogens, be sure to check out this guide which covers a variety of adaptogenic herbs for hormones and weight loss.

Alternative adaptogens to consider: maca, rhodiola rosea, schisandra.

5. Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms are adaptogens. But unlike other adaptogens (like ashwagandha) that work directly on the HPA axis, reishi’s main focus is on boosting the immune system.

This can be beneficial if you are struggling with excess candida (which contributes to gut inflammation) or if you are generally prone to getting infections.

Remember that an overworked immune system means your body is stressed out. So, by using an adaptogen like reishi, your immune system gets the support it needs.

Last but not least, one animal study suggests that reishi has a positive effect on gut bacteria, weight loss and insulin resistance (source). Human studies are needed to confirm this, but so far it sounds promising.

Alternative adaptogenic mushrooms to consider: cordyceps, turkey tail, maitake.

6. Oats (Avena Sativa)

If stress has you feeling depleted, frazzled, depressed or you’re struggling to sleep, then oats are something to look into.

Oats have nervine properties, meaning that they nourish the nervous system.

Nourishing the nervous system is all part of supporting our stress response because every part of the body relies on nerves – that originate from the spine – for communication.

So by nourishing your nerves your entire body benefits and experiences more balance.

Please note that oats are available in two different forms:

  • Milky oats: tops of the oat plant. These are harvested before the development of the oat grain that is used in oatmeal. At this stage, the tops release a milky liquid when squeezed.
  • Oatstraw: the stem of the oat plant. This is also harvested when the plant is in the milky stage.

Either form, or both, can be used, depending on what you have access to.

Alternative nervines to consider: st. john’s wort, chamomile.

7. Cinnamon

One of the best herbs for regulating blood sugar is cinnamon. This is because cinnamon can mimic insulin, therefore helping to get glucose into our cells where it belongs.

And the best part? It doesn’t take a lot of cinnamon to start seeing improvements. Some studies have produced results with as little as 0.2 tsp of cinnamon.

For a deeper understanding of how cinnamon helps with hormone balance, be sure to check out this article.

8. Ginger

Ginger is a household herb that is great for the gut and digestive system. Not only is it rich in antioxidants that support gut health but it’s good for stimulating MMC (migrating motor complex).

If you’re not familiar with MMC it’s basically a mechanism that supports healthy digestion (so that food doesn’t stagnate and ferment in the body).

To add to this, research indicates that ginger has prebiotic properties i.e. it acts as “food” for the probiotics or good bacteria in our gut (source).

NOTE: the same study also showed that cinnamon has a prebiotic effect.

Alternative prebiotics to consider: marshmallow, inulin, cinnamon, fenugreek.

9. Red Clover

Red clover has two main benefits. First it appears to have a protective effect on the liver and has historically been used as a blood cleanser (5, 6, 7). This blood cleansing effect can be helpful for eliminating toxins.

Second, red clover contains isoflavones (plant estrogens) that are helpful for regulating estrogen. Since estrogen imbalance plays a significant role in weight gain, red clover can be helpful in bringing the body back to harmony.

In addition, red clover has traditionally been used to support female health at various stages of life, including menopause. It’s said to help with hot flashes, bone health and cardiovascular health.

10. Green Tea

Whether you use regular green tea or matcha (green tea powder) it can be a great way to support weight loss because it (source):

  • improves insulin sensitivity and regulates blood sugar.
  • is rich in antioxidants that help to lower inflammation.
  • contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can reduce stress and cortisol levels.
  • protects the liver and reduces the risk of liver disease.
  • contains the antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which has thermodynamic properties (i.e. boosts your metabolism).

By the way, if you use green tea powder over regular green tea, then you also get more antioxidants. In fact, research shows that matcha generally has at least 3 times more antioxidants that standard green tea (source).


1. Hormone Harmony

hormone harmony supplement


Not only does this supplement contain a variety of herbs from each category listed above, but a few reviews mention that it helps with weight loss.

Some of the noteworthy ingredients are:

  • Berberine: as mentioned earlier in this article, berberine is an insulin sensitizer and may also be helpful for obesity.
  • Gymnema: an Ayurvedic herb that some experts describe as a “potent anti-diabetic plant.’ Studies indicate that it regulates blood sugar and may help to improve insulin resistance (8, 9). It also contains compounds that suppress sweet flavor and therefore, it may help to curb sugar cravings (source).
  • Chamomile and rosemary: both have traditionally been used to support the nervous system and lower stress.
  • Ashwagandha, rhodiola, maca and American ginseng: these are all adaptogens that support the HPA axis and as such, help with regulating cortisol.
  • Fennel: considered one of the best herbs for digestive health.


  • On the pricier side.


This supplement covers many must-haves and with 10,000+ positive reviews it’s hard to ignore!

2. Green Juice


  • Ashwagandha
  • Matcha green tea
  • Turmeric (very helpful for inflammation)


This is one of the most complete green powders you can find because it gives you:

  • nutrient dense greens that also support detoxification: spirulina, chlorella, moringa and wheatgrass.
  • stress and cortisol support from ashwagandha and matcha.
  • additional detox support from beetroot.
  • prebiotic powder to support the gut.
  • minty fresh flavor that covers the taste of the strong greens.
  • doesn’t clump up like many powders and dissolves well in plain water.


  • On the pricier side.


If you’re looking for a supplement that checks all the boxes for supporting weight loss, while also giving your body serious nourishment, this is a must have.

3. Pink Stork Menopause


  • Ashwagandha
  • Milk Thistle
  • Red Clover
  • Maca
  • Red Raspberry Leaf
  • Black Cohosh
  • Vitex


This supplement has one major benefit compared to the previous supplement: it includes adaptogens (ashwagandha and maca). 

And it still has all the herbs you’d expect to find in a menopause formula, such as liver-friendly herbs (milk thistle) and traditional female support herbs (red raspberry leaf, black cohosh and vitex).


  • No nervines included.


If you want a blend that includes adaptogens, then this is a great option. The main advantage of this supplement over the previous one is that it contains adaptogens which help to regulate cortisol.


What is the best diet for weight loss during menopause?

An anti-inflammatory diet that contains most whole foods and plenty of plant protein (with moderate amounts of clean animal protein) is ideal for menopause.

For a detailed outline of what this type of diet looks like, plus a printable food guide to get you started, check out this hormone balancing diet plan.


Losing weight during menopause can seem like a mission impossible, particularly when the old weight loss tricks we’ve been taught no longer work.

But by taking a more holistic approach, and understanding that weight loss involves more than just “calories in, calories out,” then you will be better able to maintain a healthy figure through menopause.

Also, please remember that herbs are a great way to support your diet. But they’re not a substitute for a healthy diet.

So, if you know that your diet could use some improvement, do that first. Then add on the herbs as a booster.

Hey there! Curious about supplements for women’s hormones? Here are my top picks (in-depth reviews for each is available here):

  • Hormone Harmony: Formulated for all around-hormone support, this supplement combines cortisol/stress lowering herbs (aka adaptogens), with herbs for nervous system support, insulin sensitivity and more. it’s no wonder it has 12,000+ (mostly glowing) reviews! Get $10 OFF with code HAPPYYOU076057.
  • Live It Up (formerly Enso) Supergreens: after getting a free sample from the company, I was seriously impressed by this greens powder. I love it because it has lots of mineral-rich and nutrient-dense greens and nothing else. The minty flavor is 100% from mint, no synthetic flavors (or other additives). I also love that it has no adaptogens (which my body is not a fan of lately). Think of this as your green, multivitamin/multimineral.
  • Moon Balance: this powder combines some of the best herbs for menstrual support, such as hibiscus, maca and shatavari. If your cycle is off balance and you struggle with things like PMS, period pain and other menstrual imbalances, this is one to check out.
  • Maca Root Powder: in the single herb category, maca is worth paying attention to. It has traditionally been used in Peru for hormone support (in men and women). Research and anecdotal reports indicate that this root vegetable helps with libido, anxiety, hot flashes, menstrual health and more.

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