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Hoodia Gordonii - What's It All About?

Aug 17, 2007
Hoodia Gordonii is a humble cactus like plant that has recently been thrust into the limelight as its amazing properties, known to the Bushmen of Southern Africa for centuries, have finally grabbed the attention of the West.

As I am sure you know, the diet industry is worth over forty billion dollars a year, and everyone is on the look out for the "next great thing" - in this case, Hoodia Gordonii.

The Kalahari Desert in Africa is, as you can imagine, not a very hospitable place. Food and water is scarce and sometimes you would have to travel days to find something to eat. The human body needs regular food and water, and when it gets hungry, slows down and becomes weaker.

The Bushmen of the Kalahari discover a succulent plant which is known to us as Hoodia Gordonii. When they chewed on the plant they discovered that they could go for days without food and remain lively and energetic.

Hoodia looks like a cactus but is in fact a succulent plant. It's often given the name "African Hoodia Cactus", which is a misnomer. To get technical for a moment, Hoodia is from the genus Trichocaulon and its family name is Asclepiadaceae. Hoodia is quite an impressive plant and can easily grow over six feet tall.

The Bushmen had been using Hoodia for centuries and it wasn't until the 1960's that research started into Hoodia as an appetite suppressant. It took thirty years for the labs to isolate the specific appetite suppressing ingredient, which was given the designation P57 and was licensed to a British drug company called Phytopharm.

It wasn't until the end of 2001 (and $20 million later) that P57 had its first clinical trials. The trials proved to be a success and people who took P57, which was extracted from Hoodia Gordonii, ate a thousand calories less per day! And even better than that - there were no side effects.

In fact, P57 looked so promising as a diet drug that the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer bought the worldwide marketing rights for a massive $32 million!

Phytopharm also did a deal with a company called Unilever who wants to use Hoodia extra in its diet foods - so from around 2008 you will be able to by diet food with Hoodia in it to suppress your appetite.

The downside to this of course is that Phytopharm is buying up every last Hoodia plant in the Kalahari to meet demand. This means that if you were keen to jump the queue and buy yourself fresh Hoodia you might struggle to find some.

The other interesting development in the Hoodia story is that Phytopharm has a patent on Hoodia Gordonii as a weight loss product, despite the fact the Bushmen have been using it for centuries. This means though that no one else can sell Hoodia as a weight loss product.

Unfortunately, it looks like a magic pill based on Hoodia Gordonii is unlikely to happen - the P57 molecule is just not cost effective to synthesise.

However, you can currently buy Hoodia extract in liquid form and enjoy the benefits of this miracle appetite suppressant from the Kalahari Desert.
About the Author
Patricia and her husband have been reading up about Hoodia Gordonii, trying several Hoodia products and evaulating their results.
See their choice for Best Hoodia Gordonii
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