What Is Hoodia?

Hoodia has been recently discovered by North Americans, although it has been used by South African bushman as an appetite suppressant before taking long trips for hundreds of years. It was discovered during a study of indigenous foods by a lab in South Africa, and may represent a great opportunity for the South African economy as well as a diet miracle for many of those who have given up on other weight loss methods. Hoodia itself is a group of stem succulent cactus – like plants, with stalks that look like spiky pickles or sea cucumbers. These plants can grow up to 1m high and flower large strong smelling flowers. The indigenous people who live where these plants come from call the plants Xhoba.

The Hoodia plant is not related to cactus plants, although it does look like a cactus. Eating a cactus plant, however, will not cause you to lose weight or suppress your appetite. The Hoodia species which many people have become interested in is Hoodia Gordonii. There are other Hoodia species, some of which are grown in gardens, but the Gordonii is the one targeted as a weight loss method, and therefore of interest to drug companies and dieters everywhere.

Hoodia has begun to appear on the market as a nutritional supplement, sold as pills which contain small amounts of Hoodia. This is exciting for many people, as a large number of North American people struggle with their weight, and there have been a few studies done which have shown amazing results and Hoodia users in the study lost weight easily without feeling hungry at all. In a set of clinical trials, obese people were given Hoodia, and instructed not to do anything but eat, read, or watch TV. They still lowered their calorie intake and lost weight. This has caused a great deal of excitement and prompted a number of companies to produce nutritional supplements which they say contain Hoodia. It has also become more popular after rumors that TV actresses were eating Hoodia to stave off weight gain.

Pharmaceutical companies are trying to develop extracts of the Hoodia, forming pills which specifically contain the active ingredient in the plant, and plan to market them as diet pills. They are also trying to develop synthetic copies of the molecule within Hoodia which specifically suppresses the appetite. Unfortunately, the synthetic copy is very expensive and would be difficult to mass produce. So Hoodia in its natural plant form is needed.

The diet industry is a billion dollar industry, and Hoodia, as a natural appetite suppressant, may change the entire industry. As yet, there have been no observed side effects, because Hoodia is not a stimulant like Ephedra. However, further research in this area does need to be done.

Hoodia combined with a proper diet, exercise, and otherwise healthy lifestyle may help users see faster weight loss without feeling hungry. However, Hoodia itself is very expensive, because it is only found in one area of the world and, as a protected plant, it is difficult to import.

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