Acupuncture Continuing Education

Weight Loss Herbs & Acupuncture New Report

Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture demonstrate efficacy in promoting weight loss and body mass index (BMI) improvements. A new report on the endemic spread of obesity reveals significant evidence that acupuncture and herbs synergistically enhance fitness and dietary modification programs for the purposes of reducing excess body fat. The report highlights research demonstrating that a special herbal formula called RCM-104 promotes weight loss safely. We’ll take a look at the ingredients in RCM-104 in this article. First, let’s take a look at the acupuncture findings documented in this new report. This needle is applied to reduce stress.

The report included a meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies of Chinese herbs and acupuncture for the treatment of obesity. Acupuncture, as a standalone treatment, reduces BMI but requires an integrated program of care including exercise and dietary modifications to reduce overall weight. Acupuncture did, however, significantly enhance the efficacy of integrated programs resulting in enhanced loss of body fat. Research suggests that acupuncture helps to suppress “an excessive desire for food” and regulates bodily metabolism.

Research reveals important synergistic actions. Adding acupuncture to exercise and dietary therapy significantly prevents weight rebounding. Adding acupuncture to aerobic exercise and dietary therapy also improves weight loss, abdominal adipose tissue reduction, BMI reduction and serum leptin level reduction. Studies also demonstrate that acupuncture is safe, effective and assists in cardiovascular disease treatment and prevention. The report notes that more research is needed to confirm these findings with long term clinical trials.

The report notes that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) studies demonstrate that acupuncture reduces BMI and abdominal adipose tissue by warming the spleen, a TCM principle. The report also notes that evidence demonstrates, “Acupuncture points along the Stomach meridian have a reducing effect on weight in obese patients with the TCM diagnosis of excess-heat syndrome.” 

Chinese Herbal Medicine
Significant evidence presented in the report demonstrates that “herbal mixtures effectively promote short-term weight loss….” However, the report emphasizes the importance of investigating the long-term safety of the use of specific herbal medicines.

At the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi), we concur with the concern. Our acupuncture continuing education courses for acupuncture CEUs and NCCAOM PDAs on Chinese medicine dietetics include this important concern. For example, purgative category herbs act as powerful laxatives. Some weight loss herbal combinations employ purgative herbs such as Da Huang to induce weight loss. Potentially, this can be deleterious to qi over the long-term. This is a photo of Da Huang slices for use in herbal formulas. Da HuangAlternatives such as more gentle herbs that lubricate the large intestine are recommended in our online course materials. These herbs include Jue Ming Zi and Hu Ma Ren.

The report makes mention of research supporting the use of daily dietary modifications. Studies show that pu-erh tea, a type of black tea, regulates blood fat, blood sugars and the immune system. Also, studies show that weight loss and BMI reduction is achieved with the use of Chinese herbal medicine formulas. One formula in particular, RCM-104, demonstrated significant improvements in achieving weight loss.

In one blinded randomized placebo controlled study of RCM-104, participants consumed four capsules, three times per day for 12 weeks. Each capsule contained 500 mg of concentrated herbal granules. The placebo control group had an herbal starch in their capsules. All herbal ingredients were supplied by Sen Ten Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. in Taiwan. The report notes, “The RCM-104 formula demonstrated effectiveness in the reduction of BW (excessive body weight), BMI and BFC (body fat composition) as well as improved quality of life compared to the placebo group.”

RCM-104 Formula
The ingredients of RCM-104 are:
Lu Cha Ye (camellia sinensis, tea) 40%
Jue Ming Zi (cassia seeds) 40%
Huai Hua (sophora japonica) 20%

No side effects are reported for Jue Ming Zi and Huai Hua. Lu Cha Ye is the common beverage known as tea. As with all caffeinated beverages, it may increase blood pressure and is contraindicated for patients with heart arrhythmias and palpitations. Excess caffeine in the diet may also lead to nausea, upset stomach and nervousness. Excess intake of tea may also lead to iron deficiency. Tea drinkers may want to include an abundance of iron rich foods in their diets.

To learn more about tea, its contraindications and medicinal values, visit and take acupuncture continuing education online courses. The online course Chinese Medicine Dietetics #1 covers the medicinal uses of tea in great detail. Also, the book Chinese Medicine Dietetics is available online through Amazon.

The new report covered in this article provides significant clinical evidence documenting that acupuncture and herbal medicine synergistically enhance dietary modification and fitness programs. Given the endemic nature of obesity, this report provides important information for both licensed acupuncturists and patients with excess body fat concerns.

Li, Kang Xiao. "Efficacy and Safety of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture in the Management of Obesity: Systematic Reviews and a Randomised Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial." PhD diss., RMIT University, 2014.

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