Hoodia grows natively in the desert regions of central and southern Africa, and is very much cactus-like in terms of its appearance and properties.
It has recently found popularity as a weight loss supplement, the most popular brands being Hoodia Gordonii and Hoodia Gordonii Plus, and it is this application of Hoodia that will primarily be addressed here.
Great for people losing weight
The diet industry is worth billions of dollars annually, so it is little wonder that there are a great many fad products clamoring for the attention of those whose desire it is to lose some weight and get into shape.
It can be difficult therefore, to separate the hype from the science.
What is it actually?
Hoodia’s background as a hunger suppressant goes back many thousands of years to the time when desert nomads used the plant to ward of hunger and thirst during long periods of drought and treks across the desert.
They would cut the stems from the hoodia and eat the remainder of the plant, which is quite bitter and unappetizing when unprepared.
Hoodia plants do not mature properly for around five years, then they begin to develop purple flower, which are an indication that the hoodia are in their prime and ready to be eaten.
Hoodia and arguments of science
Science has confirmed some of the mechanics behind these traditional uses of hoodia to quell hunger, by identifying the presence of a steroidal glycoside known as p57.
This agent is present in hoodia gordonii, and absent in some other varieties of the plant, so be wary to look for this name when you purchase hoodia supplements.
Laboratory tests have seemed to confirm that animals given regular doses of it chose to eat less and consequently lost weight.
This sparked a rush of interest in the potential use of p57 as a diet drug, interest that was piqued by a feature on hoodia on the popular investigations television show ‘Sixty Minutes’.
As well as this chemical evidence for the appetite suppressant qualities of hoodia gordonii, there is much anecdotal evidence from the African bush communities who are still very much alive and kicking today, who still swear by the plant as an essential part of their lifestyle, allowing them to go for extended periods without food or water and without suffering as a consequence.
Curious visitors to these desert regions have also reported that they lost their appetites upon consuming it, and that the plant would indeed make an effective dieting tool.
In which form it is available?
It is sold in health food outlets and sports nutrition stores in a variety of forms, including capsules, liquid hoodia and powder to be added to other beverages as required.
It is also an active ingredient in Trimspa, a diet pill rapidly gaining in popularity after winning rave reviews.
Some interesting studies have been undertaken regarding the appetite suppressant qualities of it and its other possible applications.
Scientists have found that giving rats regular doses of it caused a variance in the levels of ATP, the energy molecule thought to play a significant role in the manufacturing of the feeling of hunger and its associated symptoms.
Another study on human participants found that those who took hoodia regularly consumed on average one thousand fewer calories in a day than those who took none.
Have it and work hard
It is completely organic, extracted from the hoodia plants and consumed in its original form as nature intended and just as the ancient tribes of the African deserts would have taken it.
It works by essentially fooling your brain into thinking that you have had plenty to eat.
As we all know, we tend not to think about food when we are full, but to think about it a lot when we are hungry.
As well as suppressing the appetite it causes people to think about food far less often, which is of priceless benefit to weak-willed dieters who might otherwise reach for the cookies, hunger or no.
The active ingredient in it, p57, is believed to be up to one hundred thousand times more effective at making the brain think that you have eaten sufficient food as glucose is, making it incredibly efficient at relatively small doses, and enabling dieters to effectively cut their calorie intake by up to forty percent without significant discomfort.
It is not known to have any harmful or unwanted side-effects, it does not cause sickness or palpitations as other weight loss drugs which feature stimulants are known to do, and it is not a diuretic like caffeine, so it will not dehydrate you or increase the frequency with which you need to urinate.
It is inadvisable to overdose on it in an attempt to experience rapid weight loss, as a healthy body needs nutrients that can only come from good whole foods in addition to supplements.
Always ready the label on hoodia supplements, and do not exceed the stated dose.
Effective dieting is not crash dieting, and though it can be extraodrinarily useful for helping people to lose weight much quicker than they otherwise might, it is not a miracle fat burner and should be taken in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise program for best results.
One other potential benefit to taking hoodia, which is probably worth mentioning, is that in addition to be renowned among the desert tribes of Africa as a way to stave of thirst and hunger, it is also reputed to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
The men of the tribes swear by it, and the women confirm that it can keep their fellas up all night, completely naturally.
Perhaps this is the real secret behind hoodia’s miraculous weight loss statistics. The biggest selling types of Hoodia are Hoodia Gordonii and Hoodia Gordonii Plus.