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Hoodia - Things to Know

Updated on March 12, 2011

Hoodia is a plant growing in the South African region Kalahari known to have appetite suppressing and thirst quenching properties which have been utilized for over a hundred thousand years by the local South African tribes, especially during long periods of hunting.

The plant was discovered in South Africa while doing research on the local foods. Since then, it has become a great resource of the South African economy and provided hope for people with weight problems.

Hoodia resembles a cactus, having stalks which look like spiky pickles. In spite of its appearance it does not belong to the cactus family. The plant is a succulent, measuring about a meter at maturity and it has fragrant flowers. It was mostly used by aborigines such as the Xhoba.

There are many types of Hoodia, some of them growing in gardens. However, there is only one Hoodia species famous for its appetite suppressing qualities - Hoodia Gordonii. This is the only one that contains the active element of Hoodia P57.

The diet industry quickly started exploiting the effects of Hoodia Gordonii. Thus, this billion dollar industry increased its sales by including Hoodia Gordonii in the production of dietary supplements. Due to the incredible effects attributed to Hoodia, there is a strong demand for products based upon Hoodia.

Clinical trials have been performed on obese volunteers; these people took an extract of the Hoodia Gordonii and went on with their usual lifestyle, completely excluding from it physical exercises. In only two weeks, the results showed that their calorie intake had dropped by almost 1000 calories a day.

These results made people experiencing weight problems believe there is a solution for their problem. The Hoodia Gordonii weight loss diet gained more popularity when rumors about several TV stars using it were made public.

Today, different pharmaceutical companies try to market the active ingredient the P57 as diet pills. Moreover, they are also trying to develop a synthetic version of it. Although this has been created, the costs of mass producing are too high due to the production difficulties.

Moreover, it has been determined that the natural extract of Hoodia Gordonii is the best. Although no side effects of using this extract have been reported so far, some research is required for validation.

The slimming effects of Hoodia Gordonii can be boosted with a proper diet and physical exercise on a regular basis. The difficulties in obtaining pure plant supplements is inconvenient for those who want to see if it could be the answer they are seeking.

The problem is Hoodia Gordonii only grows in the Kalahari Desert (all attempts to grow it elsewhere have failed) and it takes up to 6 years for a plant to reach maturity. That is when it can be harvested for weight loss purposes.

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