Different commercially available plant preparations have been claimed to have anti-obesity action. We investigated the acute effects of oral administration of 12 of these preparations in non-obese women and men. No significant increase in energy expenditure (EE) has been noted after treatment with any of these preparations. No change in respiratory quotient (RQ) was shown, except after treatment with maté (Ilex paraguariensis) extract, where a drop in RQ was observed, indicating a rise in the proportion of fat oxidized. The results suggested the poor potential of these plant preparations in the treatment of obesity, except possibly for the maté extract. Further studies are required to explore the influence of higher dosages of these preparations as well as chronic administration in man.