Hoodia is a
succulent plant that is frequently mistaken as a member of the
cactus family. Though hoodia resembles a cactus, growing up to
six feet tall, that is really as far as the similarity goes. It
is actually a member of the Asclepiadaceae family of plants. The
Asclepiadaceae is a former plant family now treated as a
subfamily (a subfamily of Asclepiadoideae) in the Apocynaceae.
They form a group of perennial herbs, twining shrubs, or in rare
instances, trees, but they also contain a significant number of
leafless stem succulents, all belonging to the order Gentianales.
The name comes from the type genus Asclepias (milkweeds). There
are many different varieties of Hoodia plants, with Hoodia
Gordonii being the one which has been singled out as having
the molecule that acts as an appetite suppressant.
DOES HOODIA COME FROM?
Hoodia has been used
by the indigenous san bushmen of South Africa for centuries.
They appear to be the first to discover the appetite suppressing
qualities of this plant. The bushmen would go on long hunting
trips and chew on the Hoodia plant to reduce hunger and increase
It wasn’t until the mid 1960’s that the first research was
performed on hoodia gordonii as an appetite suppressant. Even
then it took another thirty years for the South African
laboratories to isolate the specific appetite suppressing
ingredient. This ingredient was called P57. It was one thought
that the major pharmaceutical companies could
make a synthetic version of P57 so it could be patented and
controlled. This turned out to be cost prohibitive so Big
Pharma went in newer, more profitable directions.
EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT HOODIA TRULY WORKS AS AN
While the san
bushmen didn’t do formal clinical studies in the bush, there are
literally centuries of real world evidence that consuming
really works as an appetite suppressant. There is also a
growing sector of the media who can support the effectiveness of
Below is a
portion of the transcript from 60 Minutes that aired in November
"So how did it work? Stahl says she had no after effects –
no funny taste in her mouth, no queasy stomach, and no racing
heart. She also wasn’t hungry all day, even when she would
normally have a pang around mealtime and she also had no desire
to eat or drink the entire day. “I’d have to say it did work,”
Stahl reporting on television news show 60 Minutes
An article clearing up the myth
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