Natural Appetite Stimulant: Home Remedies, Exercises, And Medicines

Medically reviewed by Dr. Abby Kramer, DC
by Pooja Karkala

The term ‘appetite’ refers to the desire to eat food. There are a host of factors that can contribute to a decrease or loss of appetite, including illness and emotional issues.

If you (or somebody you know) have a low appetite, this article is for you. We will discuss the reasons behind appetite loss and how you can rectify this using home remedies, medicines, and tips. Scroll down to get started.

What Causes Loss Of Appetite?

Loss of appetite can be temporary or long-term. The leading causes of a poor or absent appetite are:

  • Emotional distress
  • Depression
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Breakdown of relationships
  • Debilitating illnesses
  • Eating disorders

Here are some simple home remedies for increasing appetite in children and adults.

How To Increase Appetite Naturally

  1. Pure Maple Syrup
  2. Spices
  3. Coriander
  4. Fennel Tea
  5. Ginger & Coriander
  6. Carom Seeds
  7. Vitamins
  8. Fish Oil Supplements
  9. Yoga Or Other Exercises

Home Remedies To Increase Appetite

1. Pure Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a caloric sweetener that may help stimulate hunger. Syrups with added sugars increase hunger signals in your system, promoting increased caloric intake, which may lead to weight gain (1). However, these syrups not only provide fewer nutrients but also lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Note: Although this remedy helps promote hunger, it doesn’t support a healthy metabolism.

You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 liter lemon juice
  • 1/2 liter water
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
What You Have To Do
  1. Pour water in a pan, add pure maple syrup, and heat it.
  2. Remove the pan from the flame and let it cool.
  3. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and vinegar.
  4. Mix well and store the mixture in an airtight container.
  5. Drink two tablespoons of this mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

Consume this 2 times daily.

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2. Spices

Abdominal fullness or bloating can reduce your appetite. In such cases, carminative herbs and spices like cinnamon, black pepper, peppermint, thyme, etc. can reduce bloating and increase your appetite (2).

You Will Need

Cinnamon/Black pepper/Peppermint/Oregano

What You Have To Do
  1. Sprinkle a good amount of cinnamon on baked goods or buttered toasts.
  2. You can also add a mix of herbs like black pepper, oregano, thyme, etc. to a variety of dishes.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this daily.

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3. Coriander

Coriander is a commonly used herb in most Indian cuisines as it is known to treat indigestion. Coriander juice helps in the release of gastric enzymes, which, in turn, improves appetite. Coriander extracts helped increase appetite in rat studies (3). However, more studies are warranted on humans to understand the mechanism.

You Will Need
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Prepare fresh coriander juice by blending the leaves with water.
  2. Drink this on an empty stomach.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every alternate morning.

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4. Fennel Tea

Fennel seeds act as appetite boosters in adults and children. They stimulate the production of bile by the liver, thus promoting digestion. Studies show that fennel seeds can enhance food consumption and motivation to eat in rats (4).

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2-3 cups water
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil the fennel and fenugreek seeds for a few minutes.
  2. Strain and drink this tea.
  3. You can add some honey or orange juice for taste.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this tea 1-2 times daily.

Caution: Consult your doctor before using this remedy for toddlers and infants.

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5. Ginger And Coriander

Ginger is perhaps the most widely used appetite stimulant. Ginger juice works wonders for poor appetite. The administration of a ginger beverage increased appetite and promoted weight gain in rats (5).

You Will Need
  • Coriander seeds powder
  • Dried ginger powder
  • 100 ml of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix coriander seeds powder and dried ginger powder in the ratio 5:1 to make up to a tablespoon altogether.
  2. Add this mixture to the water and heat it until the volume of the water is reduced to almost half.
  3. Take it off the flame and let it cool down a little.
  4. Drink this mixture while it is warm.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this herbal concoction every day.

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6. Carom Seeds

Carom seeds are commonly used in Indian cooking to aid better digestion. Carom or ajwain, taken with lukewarm water once a day, will work wonders for your alimentary canal. Besides acting as an anti-flatulent and antacid, it also helps in the secretion of digestive enzymes that stimulate your hunger (6).

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds
  • A cup of warm water
What You Have To Do

Ingest the carom seeds with warm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once during the day, preferably in the mornings.

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7. Vitamins To Increase Appetite

B vitamins are commonly used to increase appetite in adults, toddlers, and infants. They help to release energy from food and promote a normal appetite. A deficiency of any of the B vitamins can cause poor appetite and unhealthy digestion (7).

The recommended intake of these vitamins depends not only on the age but also on other medical conditions of the person. Consult your doctor to test for any deficiencies that may be causing loss of appetite. If a deficiency is confirmed, supplementation with B vitamins is recommended to increase the appetite.

Note: Do not give any supplements to infants and toddlers without consulting a doctor.

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8. Fish Oil Supplements

Studies show that fish oil supplementation may help increase appetite in both adults and children (8), (9). It also reduces bloating.

Note: It is important to consult your healthcare provider before taking these supplements or giving them to children.

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9. Yoga Or Other Exercises For Appetite

Healthy exercise habits are the best way to regain a lost appetite. Yoga can help you to a great extent in this aspect. Practice yoga for 30-45 minutes every day for a healthy body and improved digestion. Some poses that can help to increase your appetite are:

  • Surya Namaskar This 12-step routine activates all the main muscle groups of the body and regulates all internal processes.
  • Kapalbhati Pranayama This breathing yoga exercise regulates digestion and increases appetite.
  • Paschimottanasana The Forward Bending Pose is good to relieve digestive problems and improve appetite.
  • Pawanmuktasana This pose helps eliminate constipation and other digestive problems, thus increasing your appetite.

Gaining better control over your daily routine can help a lot in improving your appetite. Sleep and wake up on time, exercise regularly, drink lots of water, avoid too much snacking between meals, follow proper meal times, and think positive.

Here are some medicines that can increase your appetite. However, talk to your doctor about the associated benefits and risks before taking these medicines.

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Medicines To Stimulate Appetite

1. Megestrol Acetate

It is a synthetic derivative of progesterone. It is prescribed to boost appetite and treat anorexia or cachexia (unexplained significant weight loss caused due to chronic diseases) (10).

Caution: Megestrol acetate has side effects like loss of libido, flatulence, chest pain, etc. (11). Hence, do not self-medicate. Consult a doctor for the appropriate dosage.

2. Oxandrolone

Oxandrolone is a synthetic derivative of testosterone. It is prescribed to increase appetite and help you regain lost weight after surgery, chronic infection, or severe trauma (12).

Caution: Unregulated use of this drug can lead to life-threatening liver conditions (13).

3. Dronabinol

It is a form of synthetic cannabis. It is prescribed to treat loss of appetite caused in people with AIDS. It is also given to treat severe nausea caused by chemotherapy (14).

Caution: Possible side effects of this drug include raise in blood pressure, dizziness, mood swings, etc.(15).

Here are some tips you can follow to stimulate your appetite naturally.

Tips To Increase Your Appetite

  1. Plan every meal – Have 6-8 small meals per day. Include nutritious and protein-rich foods in your diet.
  2. Pick high-calorie foods – Add cheese, butter, milk, and other protein-rich foods to your meals.
  3. Avoid low-calorie and fibre-rich foods.
  4. Exercise regularly.
  5. Drink protein-shakes daily.
  6. Eat your favourite foods often.

Loss of appetite may have many causes, but it can be cured. However, you must seek a doctor’s help if you are displaying symptoms of anorexia or bulimia. These conditions need medical intervention and cannot be treated with remedies.

For those of you who are simply dealing with a loss of appetite, try any or a combination of these home remedies to increase your appetite.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What part of the brain controls your appetite?

The hypothalamus controls your appetite and satiety. It coordinates the utilization of the energy produced by the digestion of food and regulates food intake (16).

What does it mean when you have no appetite?

When you have no appetite, it means that you do not feel hungry and do not have the urge to eat.

Is loss of appetite a sign of anorexia?

Yes, loss of appetite is a sign of anorexia, but only in cases where it is consistent over a long period. It also results in extreme weight loss and reduced immunity.

Can pneumonia cause loss of appetite?

Yes. Among the many symptoms and after-effects of pneumonia, loss of appetite is a common symptom.

16 sources

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Pooja Karkala

Pooja is a Mass Communications and Psychology graduate. Her education has helped her develop the perfect balance between what the reader wants to know and what the reader has to know. As a classical dancer, she has long, black hair, and she knows the struggle that goes into maintaining it. She believes in home remedies and grandma’s secrets for achieving beautiful, luscious hair. When she is not writing, she learns Kuchipudi, practices yoga, and creates doodles.
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