Meizitang Botanical Slimming Review

Meizitang Botanical Slimmingis a soft botanical gel capsule purported to inhibit lipase activity in the stomach, preventing the body from absorbing fat from the food you eat. A 36-capsule packet—enough for one month and a few days—costs about $15, but it’s only available from two overseas websites. It was apparently once sold on Amazon, but the only thing left on the sales page now are three customer questions and replies. 

361 Slim makes Meizitang Botanical Slimming as part of their diet products line. They are an international company based in China, but there’s no address on the website, just an email address. There appears to be no US office, and no Better Business Bureau profile. In short, no real idea who’s selling it. Cue first flashing red warning light. 

Meizitang Botanical Slimming Claims 

Meizitang Botanical Slimming Soft Gel improves the metabolism and basic metabolism ratio (BMR) of fat, which means to increase the consumption of human body energy. The body fat would be broken up into heat, carbon dioxide and water. [1] 

This product can not only reduce the redundant fat, but also supplement many kinds of amino acid and trace element such as copper, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, zinc and selenium etc. [1] 

Because this is a Chinese site, they don’t have the standard “claims not evaluated by the FDA” disclaimer. And though they have various credentials posted on their website, the pictures are unlinked, small enough to be unreadable, and of course the local ones are in Chinese.  But that doesn’t mean the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t noticed them. And not in a good way. 

In 2011, the FDA advised customers not to purchase Meizitang Botanical Slimming because they found sibutramine in the formula. 

FDA laboratory analysis confirmed that “Botanical Slimming” contains sibutramine.  Sibutramine is a controlled substance that was removed from the U.S. market in October 2010 for safety reasons.  The product poses a threat to consumers because sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke. [2]  

The product was pulled and unavailable to customers while it was being reformulated. There’s now a second website, supposedly with this new formula, but there’s no contact information and no Chinese credentials, even though the packaging looks the same in the photographs. Cue red warning light number two.  

Meizitang Botanical Slimming Ingredients 

I couldn’t find a real ingredient list or Supplement Facts table for the product on the clearly Chinese website, only a mention of the proportions in the midst of an order page. 

Proportion of Main Ingredients: Xianxian cao [siegesbeckia herb]-21%, Psyllium Husk-19%, Jobstears-18%, Bamboo Shoot-16%, Lotus leaf -14%, Artemisia dracunculua-12% [3] (translation added for first ingredient) 

The website supposedly selling the “new packaging, new formula” version lists the active ingredients, but now there isn’t even a proportion list:  

Jobstears, Artemisia dracunculus, Bamboo Shoot, Psyllium Husk, Lotus Leaf, Seed fat. [4]  

So the only difference seems to be replacing the siegesbeckia herb with seed fat. But the fact that there are no ingredients listed on the package at all kind of sets those warning bells off again. That’s three now. 

The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Meizitang Botanical Slimming 

The (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements, only drugs. As such, supplement labels are prohibited from claiming any research-proven medical or health benefit—this is the function of a drug, in the FDA's view. The entire issue is convoluted, and there's no shortage of legal action brought against supplement manufacturers by the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on a regular basis.  

Neither website offers any scientific backing for their claims, and there are no studies available on this product as a whole formula. So we’ll take a look at the individual ingredients.  

Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), also known as Chinese Pearl Barley, is a broad-leaved, branched grass native to China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia. From WebMD: 

It is considered a nutritious health food in Asian countries. The seeds are sometimes used as ornamental beads. The root and seed of the plant are sometimes used as a medicine. People take Job’s tears for hay fever, high cholesterol, cancer, warts, arthritis, obesity, and respiratory tract infections. It is also used to treat a disease called toxoplasmosis that is caused by a parasite. 

 But most research on Job's tears is in animals and test tubes. There isn't enough information to know if Job's tears works the same way in people. However, some research has been done in people. It suggests that fiber contained in Job's tears might decrease how much fat and cholesterol the body absorbs[5] 

Artemisia dracunculus—wild tarragon—has been used by humans for a long time and is best known for helping diabetics get their blood sugar levels back to normal, but studies so far have not covered weight loss specifically. And one study published in the 2011 Fitoterapia journal actually found the opposite: 

Extracts of wild tarragon have been shown to be active in a number of different pathways associated with the diabetic condition … Tarragon also slowed body weight loss but did not significantly alter plasma glucose or insulin concentrations. [6] 

So rather than helping you lose weight, this study (in rats, granted) demonstrated that Artemisia dracunculus actually slows weight loss. Not really helpful, that. 

Bamboo shoot is high in fiber and has been said to control appetite and modularize fat from absorbing into the body. There may be some truth to this. According to a mice study published in the 2016 Scientific Reports 

Because bamboo shoot fiber proved to be the best fiber in suppressing high-fat diet induced body weight gain, we focused on bamboo shoot fiber for further investigation. At the end of 6 weeks feeding, compared with cellulose, bamboo shoot fiber not only decreased body weight gain by 47% but also decreased fat mass. [7] 

Psyllium husk is already a widely-used fiber supplement (think Metamucil). 

Lotus leaf has been used in traditional medicine to treat obesity. A new study published in the 2017 Frontiers in Pharmacology looked into the effectiveness of lotus leaf hot water extract in helping obese rats lose weight.  

We aimed to explore the effects of lotus leaf aqueous extract (LLAE) on high fat diet (HFD)-induced obese rats. … Overall, this is a promising beginning which demonstrates that … LLAE reduces visceral fat mass and ameliorates insulin resistance in obese rats. [8] 

None of these ingredients, with the possible exception of Psyllium husk and Artemisia dracunculus (already known to help diabetics), has any studies using human subjects. So the science is still very much in its infancy. 

Word On The Street About Meizitang Botanical Slimming 

The company websites are the only place I found any reviews, and of course they were all 4 stars or higher.  

“yasmin Hernandez” said: “I have lost about 2 pounds eating the same food as I did before using your product. I look forward to the next few months and hope to have positive results to report. But I have friends received great result. So it would be great for me too.” [9] 

“Ramona Miranda” noted: “it makes my mouth dry. i woke up yesterday with a sore scratchy throat…they told me its normal. i only need to drink more water .thanks, youre very helpful.” [10] 

The only even remotely review-sounding statement on the archived Amazon.com page was a customer question by an anonymous “Amazon Customer” in 2013:  

I am sad to say that after giving these slimming soft gels a really good try, in fact I ordered them twice, for almost a year. The only thing I seemed to get was a very dry mouth. For some people they worked wonderfully and they did lose weight. Sadly not for me. [11]  

A common side effect even among the glowing reviews on the company websites was the  dry mouth—very dry mouth. Water intake is always important for good health, but with these it seems even moreso. 

Every supplement affects every individual differently. Gender, age, genetics, pre-existing medical conditions, and individual body chemistry—as unique as a fingerprint—can affect how a supplement works on you. That's why supplements always add that “individual results may vary” disclaimer, and it's why reviews for a drug or supplement can be all over the spectrum. Only you and your doctor can figure out how it works for you, so always be forthcoming and transparent with your doctor about side effects you experience, as well as if the substance doesn't seem to be doing anything for you. 

The Bottom Line: Is Meizitang Botanical Slimming Worth A Try?  

Definitely not. Three big red warning lights and some iffy science… Honestly, there are just too many alarm bells with this one for my comfort. Busted once by the FDA, their formula really hasn’t changed much, the lack of clear company information is unsettling, and I don’t know what Chinese regulations are as compared to the FDA. The lack of human-based clinical evidence on the ingredients is problematic as well. This isn’t a particular sensation in the supplement world, either, and as such trustworthy reviews are scarce. I think you’d be better off avoiding this one altogether.  

Review Sources

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