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Weight Management, Psychedelics, and More

Maintaining a healthy weight throughout life can be challenging, and obesity has become a worldwide health issue. College students may gain weight due to stress and poor diet choices. A randomized, single crossover trial conducted at Winona State University in Minnesota examined how premeal walnut (Juglans regia, Juglandaceae) ingestion prior to a hypercaloric meal could alter food consumption in university students.1 The trial found that consuming 1 oz. of walnuts 90 minutes before a meal reduced perception of hunger and intake of food. A comprehensive review of the health benefits of Haas avocados (Persea americana, Lauraceae) found that their intake could aid in weight loss, reduce visceral fat tissue in overweight women, and reduce the potential of becoming obese.2 Other benefits cited include aiding in cardiovascular health through improved blook lipid profiles, increased cognition, and cardiometabolic benefits. Most participants consumed one avocado per day. While yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum, Boraginaceae) is used by Native Americans for upper respiratory tract infections and asthma, there is some evidence that the herb may have potential fat burning and lipid catabolism properties, due to its major flavonoid, eriodyctiol.3 In 2019, a small randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial on a yerba santa extract (SantEnergy™ Nu; Mibelle AG; Buchs, Switzerland) was conducted in Germany to determine the effects of energy metabolism, weight management, oxidative stress, and eating behaviors in overweight and obese women. Results indicated that yerba santa may have the potential to improve antioxidative defense, increase metabolic energy, and help regulate hunger and satiety. However, the herb did not show a benefit of weight loss. The authors state that this may be due to the short length of the study.

An increasing number of studies are focusing on the use of psychedelics, such as psilocybin and ayahuasca, to track their health benefits. A four-week study of psilocybin therapy on 24 patients with major depressive disorder showed that two psilocybin sessions of a moderately high dose (20 mg/70 kg body weight) separated by > 1.6 weeks and then a high dose (30 mg/kg) increased both cognition and neural flexibility. While studies examine the clinical effects of psychedelic use, a group of German authors discuss the role of purging in the traditional and ceremonial use of ayahuasca. Noting the gut-brain connection, the authors state that the physical purging correlates to the emotional or spiritual purging within a traditional setting. By examining the cultural importance of purging and the phytochemicals found in an ayahuasca concoction, the authors sought to elucidate the importance of purging as part of healing.

Lori Glenn
HerbClip™ Managing Editor


1Wilson T, DeVaan LS, LaCasse ME, et al. Effect of walnut predinner snack on mealtime hunger and nutrient intake among university students. J Med Food. 2022;25(1):89-96. doi:10.1089/jmf.2021.0092.

2Dreher ML, Cheng FW, Ford NA. A comprehensive review of Hass avocado clinical trials, observational studies, and biological mechanisms. Nutrients. December 7, 2021;13(12):4376. doi: 10.3390/nu13124376.

3Mödinger Y, Schön C, Wilhelm M, Pickel C, Grothe T. A food supplement with antioxidative santa herba extract modulates energy metabolism and contributes to weight management. J Food Med. November 2021;24(11):1235-1242. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2021.0016.