What is Hoodia?
Hoodia is a succulent plant found in the
Kalahari Desert of South Africa. The genus includes a number of
varieties of plant of which Hoodia Gordonii is one species. Hoodia
plants are actually succulents, not cacti, but they do have a spiny
appearance similar to cactus.
How has Hoodia Gordonii
been used in the past?
For many centuries, the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in
southern Africa have used Hoodia plants as a food. The species Hoodia
Gordonii was less often used because of its bitter taste. However, in
times of hardship, or being away from familiar areas, it was sometimes
eaten. In tablet form, the natural bitter taste Hoodia will of course
not be noticed.
How did research into
Hoodia Gordonii commence?
Due to the tradition of food use of Hoodia plants, certain
plants were included in a scientific research project established by the
South African statutory council known as CSIR (Council for Scientific
and Industrial Research) to screen a large number of bush foods. As part
of the screening process, extracts of plants were made and tested for
toxic effects. Surprisingly, it was observed that the Hoodia extracts
actually caused a reduction in appetite and body weight in animals!
Have the benefits of
Hoodia Gordonii been clinically proven?
Yes! In 2001, a large British pharmaceutical company completed
a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in overweight, but
otherwise healthy volunteers using an extract of Hoodia Gordonii. The
large doses of extract caused a statistically significant reduction in
average daily calorie intake. In addition, a statistically significant
reduction in body fat content was observed compared to the placebo group
after two weeks.
How long does it take
for Hoodia Gordonii to have an effect?
A clinical trial conducted by a large British pharmaceutical
company demonstrated that repeat large doses of Hoodia Gordonii extract
caused a statistically significant decrease in daily calorie intake. By
day 15 the calorie intake had decreased by approximately 1000 calories
Does Hoodia Gordonii
have any side effects?
There are no known side effects. In the clinical study
described above the safety data are consistent with a satisfactory
overall safety profile. However, as with all dietary supplements, we
recommend that you consult with your health practitioner prior to use.
Hoodia Gordonii is rare,
is the source sustainable?
Hoodia Gordonii is very rare and is protected by national
conservation laws in South Africa and Nambia. It can only be collected
or grown with a permit. Wild stocks are also extremely limited so
plantations have been established over the past 5 years to grow
sustainable quantities of Hoodia Gordonii.