African Hoodia Gordonii Overview
have an idea of what Hoodia Gordonii is?
The Latin Name is : Hoodia
There are other names it is known by such as : The South African desert
cactus, hoodia, Ikhoba, xhooba, Ghaap and hoodia cactus,.
Pronounced HOO-dee-ah - Hoodia grows for the most part in Southern Africa
in the the semi-deserts of Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Angola. It
is a cactus-like plant that in recent years has been dynamically marketed as
a weight loss aid and become enormously popular.
There has always been a great demand for diet aids, but after the ban on
ephedra, the market was particularly ripe for a new diet product. Hoodia's
huge popularity results from claims that San Bushmen originating from the
Kalahari Desert have used Hoodia Gordonii for many thousands of years to
keep hunger and thirst at bay during long hunting trips out into the
dessert. They apparently cut off a stem and eat the sour tasting plant.
Hoodia gordonii’s green upright stems grow in clumps and although it is
often referred to as a cactus as it resembles one, Hoodia is in point of
fact a succulent plant. It takes approximately five years for the pale
purple flowers to appear before the plant can be harvested. There are more
than thirteen types of Hoodia Gordonii but the only active ingredient
currently identified is a steroidal glycoside named p57. At this point in
time it is thought that only Hoodia gordonii contains p57.
Gordonii has an interesting history!
anthropologist investigating the San Bushmen in 1937 noticed the San using
Hoodia Gordonii for appetite suppression when embarking on hunting trips and
in 1963 a group of scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research (CSIR), South Africa's state laboratory, began seriously to study
the properties of Hoodia Gordonii. The claim was made that laboratory
animals lost weight after being given Hoodia Gordonii.
South African scientists worked together with a British company called
Phytopharm, and isolated what they thought was the active ingredient
contained in Hoodia Gordonii, this was described as a steroidal glycoside
and they named it p57. In 1995, after obtaining a patent, p57 was licensed
Soon pharmaceutical giant Pfizer found out about Hoodia and expressed a
special interest in developing a Hoodia drug. Phytopharm had already spent
more than $20 million into research on Hoodia and in 1998 Phytopharm
sub-licensed the development rights of p57 to Pfizer for $21 million. Pfizer
has since returned the rights for Hoodia to Phytopharm, who now work with
After 60 Minutes journalist, Leslie Stahl and her crew travelled to Africa
to test Hoodia, much of the hype surrounding Hoodia really got going. A
local Bushman was hired to accompany them into the desert find some Hoodia.
Describing it as "cucumbery” in consistency, but not bad, Stahl ate it. She
reported that she lost any desire to eat or drink for the entire day. She
also said that no immediate side effects, such as indigestion or heart
palpitations were experienced.
can you find Hoodia Gordonii?
Gordonii is sold in a capsule, liquid, powder or tea form and can be found
for sale in health food stores and is for sale over the Internet.
does Hoodia Gordonii really work for weight loss?
are no available controlled clinical trials in human to show that it is safe
in either form despite Hoodia’s popularity. Although one study in print in a
September 2004 copy of “Brain Research” had found that injecting p57 into
the appetite centres of rat brains resulted in changed ATP levels. ATP is an
energy molecule that could affect hunger. Animals receiving p57 injections
ate less than the rats receiving placebo injections. Nevertheless, this was
a study in animals and certainly injections to the brain are completely
different to oral consumption and cannot be used to indicated that oral
Hoodia suppresses the appetite in human beings.
Phytopharm, the manufacturer, refers to a clinical trial relating to 18
human volunteer subjects who found that Hoodia consumption diminished desire
for food intake by approximately 1000 calories daily compared to a placebo
group. Although the study is intriguing it was not published or subjected to
any peer-review process, so the quality of the study is difficult to
there any side effects to taking Hoodia?
effects have been reported from eating Hoodia or from use of the P-57
molecule. Bear in mind that for thousands of years the San Bushmen have
eaten Hoodia Gordonii plants with no ill effect.
will I Know if the product is Pure Hoodia?
There has been widespread reporting
regarding counterfeit Hoodia products and Mike Adams of News Target, reckons
that 80% of Hoodia products may be counterfeit or contaminated. It is very
difficult to ascertain if a Hoodia product contains pure Hoodia and p57t,
unless it is tested by an independent laboratory. We have tested leading
Hoodia Brands and have chosen three products that in our opinion offer the
safest and most effective weight loss available on the market today.