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What Is Hoodia - Overview and History

Aug 17, 2007
Chances are that if you are a dieter or interested in fitness, you have heard of Hoodia. This natural appetite suppressant from South Africa is being advertised as a cure to weight problems. By fooling your mind into believing that you are not hungry with little side effects, Hoodia seems like a miracle cure. But is this really the case? Let's take a closer look at what Hoodia really is.

Oddly enough it is not a new discovery. It has been in use for almost 100,000 years by none other than the South African San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. This most primitive tribe used Hoodia to deter hunger during their long trips across the desert. Original research in the 1960's, conducted at South Africa's national laboratory, revealed weight loss in animals that were fed Hoodia as part of a study of indigenous foods. Thirty years later the natural appetite suppressant molecule contained in Hoodia labeled P57 was discovered. At this time it was licensed to Phytopharm and patented. Their first clinical trials conducted in December 2001 proved subjects given Hoodia consumed 1000 less calories per day and suffered no adverse side effects. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer teamed up with Phytopharm to fund research but dropped out when it was discovered that P57 couldn't be easily made into a drug.

The problem is it can't be made synthetically in large quantities and it is very expensive to do so even in small quantities. Phytopharm then opted to market Hoodia in its natural form through diet shakes and bars. Their products are due to line store aisles by 2008

Hoodia is only effective in its natural form and only from the gordonii plant variety. It is a cactus like plant that thrives in extremely high temperatures and has a bitter taste. It is found in the Kalahari Desert and attempts at growing it in other areas have not succeeded. In addition to making a person feel full, it produces a feeling of well being and seems to possess a mild aphrodisiac effect. It can work right away on some, while it may take several weeks for effects on others.

Hoodia was introduced into the United States market in 2004 and it is very challenging to find. It is sold in capsule, powder, liquid or tea form. Many companies market and sell capsules cheap calling it Hoodia. But be wary. They may actually be selling counterfeit pills that contain little or no Hoodia at all. If you want true Hoodia, only buy from companies that will guarantee the source is from the whole South African plant. Only use supplements containing at least 200mg of Hoodia gordonii powder. Keep in mind this appetite suppressant should not be used by children, pregnant individuals or those who are breast-feeding.

The Hoodia hype is ongoing. It sounds like the cure all pills many have been seeking. Caution is always wise. Since Hoodia is a new product, there hasn't been extensive testing to determine if there really are no serious side effects from its use. In addition, Hoodia is on the endangered list of plants. How then is it being exported? With this in mind, if you are going to buy Hoodia, make sure your Hoodia actually does contain Hoodia.
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