The 411 on Weight Loss and Hoodia

A Typical Hoodia Gordonii Plant in Africa

If you’ve been thinking about losing weight, you’ve probably heard about hoodia gordonii. It’s a cactus-looking succulent plant that is a spiny and leafless and used for medicinal purposes. It grows naturally in South Africa and Namibia, and Bushmen have eaten it for years to prevent hunger.

It was the bushman’s use that first brought it to the attention of scientists, and, as word about hoodia’s properties leaked out, it soon became touted as the way to achieve easy weight loss. People around the globe learned of its hunger curbing properties, and numerous TV specials about hoodia appeared, as did Diane Sawyer’s hoodia special on 60 Minutes.

TV specials revealed that as early as the 1960s African scientists were studying the plant. Those scientists learned it had an ability to trick the brain into feeling full, and, in fact, some scientists claim after eating hoodia people can eat 1,000 less calories a day and not feel hungry. 

Since these findings, everyone’s on the bandwagon to get hoodia, and millions of web sites promise hoodia products and hoodia weight loss results. However, such web sites are offering false promises, and here’s why.

  • The only company that has the rights to sell, use, or distribute hoodia is a British Company named Phytopharm, who also entered into negotiations with Unilever Corporation. Together they are working on a viable product but have been unable to achieve results so far.
  • The pharmaceutical companies cannot encapsulate the ingredients necessary to achieve the same results shown by eating fresh hoodia. Web companies marketing hoodia products claim to be using powder—which would be illegal as only Phytopharm as the rights—but even if they were, the powder does not produce the same hunger curbing results as the real plant, which means powders are useless. 
  • Another delay in bringing hoodia to market is no one really know the side effects of taking hoodia or how much is safe because there haven’t been enough studies. That means before hoodia ever legitimately hits the market, these issues have to be resolved by pharmaceutical companies.
  • Additionally, hoodia is a rare, fragile plant. It take 50 years for it to mature, so the idea that there will be massive hoodia farms, is probably a pipe dream. The main hope for hoodia, in relation to weight loss, still remains with Phytopharm and Unilever. They are working on a solution, and, if, or when, they get one, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, if you’ve thought about purchasing hoodia weight loss products, save your money.

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