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African Hoodia Gordonii Overview


Do you have an idea of what Hoodia Gordonii is?

The Latin Name is : Hoodia gordonii
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.

Hoodia Gordonii has an interesting history!

A Dutch 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 by Phytopharm.

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 Unilever.

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.

Where can you find Hoodia Gordonii?

Hoodia 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.

How does Hoodia Gordonii really work for weight loss?

There 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 evaluate.

Are there any side effects to taking Hoodia?

No side 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.

How 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.