Botanical: Hoodia gordonii
Family: Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) - Apocynaceae (dogbane)
Other common names: Khobab, Bobbejaanghaap, Bitterghaap, Bergghaap, Bokhorings
Hoodia gordonii is a South African succulent
that has been used as a natural appetite suppressant and believed to curb the desire to eat. Moreover, it is also said to support increased energy and encourage thermogenesis – the burning of fat! We eat too much, and perhaps more importantly, we eat incorrectly these days, and Hoodia may be a powerful weapon in the war against those unhealthy habits. More energy, less food and the ability to burn fat! – Sounds like one recipe we can all use for a better looking body and an overall feeling of fitness and good health!
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Hoodia is a succulent plant that is native to the Kalahari Desert, a large, arid, sandy area covering much of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Although there are several different species of the genus, Hoodia, the species gordonii is considered the only one with the active steroidal glycoside identified as "p57" that is considered effective and official as a natural appetite suppressant without any harmful side effects. Colonel R. F. Gordon first discovered Hoodia in December, 1778, and the plant’s botanical specific, gordonii, was bestowed in his honor. The genus, Hoodia, was given in honor of the keen succulent grower, Van Hood. In the early stages of growth, the leafless plant produces only one fleshy, ribbed, thorny stem, but later it branches with as many as fifty heavy boughs, bearing flowers that emit the unpleasant carrion-like odor of decaying flesh, which attracts the many flies that are needed for the plant’s pollination. The flowers vary in color from beige to deep crimson and bloom in August or September. Hoodia resembles a cactus, but it is clearly a succulent that can reach a height of about five feet, normally exposed to extreme heat, but also surviving in relatively low temperatures in a wide variety of habitats, including the deep Kalahari sands, on dry, stony slopes or flats and under the protection of xerophytic bushes. The Bushmen (called the San or Khoi San tribe) of the Kalahari have been traditionally chewing Hoodia for many centuries to combat hunger and suppress the appetite and thirst when setting off on extended hunting expeditions and long journeys. It was also eaten during times of hardship when food was not plentiful, in order to decrease the appetite (the Anikhwe of northern Botswana were said to feed pieces of Hoodia to the children who “eat too much” to make them eat less). Moreover, in addition to their use of Hoodia as an appetite suppressant and thirst quencher, the San people also employed the use of this succulent plant in their traditional medicine as a treatment for abdominal cramps, hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes. In 1996, there was a scientific study in South Africa that conducted research into the diets of the Bushmen, and when Hoodia’s properties were scrutinized, the investigators discovered that when fed to animals, they lost weight, and it was also non-toxic. The fleshy part of the stem is dried and made into a powder for use in herbal supplements. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa isolated an active compound (P57) as the substance responsible for appetite suppression, and they, in turn, licensed the rights for further development and global commercialization of P57, as well as the setting up of a sustainable production system. Hoodia is very rare, and strict conservation laws of South Africa and Namibia carefully control the harvest of this plant (by permit only) to prevent it from becoming extinct. Hoodia has also been included in a 2004 CITES Appendix to conserve indigenous plant populations within South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, and because of its rarity, it is important to ensure that the product purchased is only Hoodia gordonii from South Africa, and not another plant species, since the industry has unfortunately been flooded with adulterated and misrepresented materials reported to be Hoodia gordonii or Hoodia 20:1 extracts. With respect to this very important subject, BioCell Hoodia™ is authentic Hoodia gordonii, sourced exclusively from the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa. Analytical methods have been developed by specialists in the field of phytochemistry to identify and authenticate the plant, using digital photo-microscopy (DPM), high performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC), macroscopy and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to ensure that it passes specifications for identity, authenticity and quality. Each batch of BioCell Hoodia is tested by an independent laboratory via three measures (HPLC-P57, TLC, and Microscopy) to verify all subjects. In November, 2005, the CBS news program, 60 Minutes, aired a segment about Hoodia gordonii and its use as a dietary supplement that helps to reduce body fat and control appetite, and the coverage caused a surge of interest in this new botanical throughout the United States.
Hoodia gordonii is said to reduce the impulse of hunger. It is not a synthetic drug; it is a natural plant substance, and for thousands of years the Bushmen of the Kalahari have been eating Hoodia as an appetite suppressant when embarking on long journeys or in difficult times when food is scarce. Apparently, there is a bioactive compound in Hoodia (P57) that mimics the effect that glucose produces on nerve cells in the hypothalamus area of the brain (the gland that sparks hunger), deceiving those cells into thinking that the body is full, and the appetite is satisfied. In fact, no food has been consumed, nor is there any desire to eat. The inclusion of Hoodia in a sensible diet plan, along with daily exercise, may help to reduce food intake and, therefore, calories consumed.
Hoodia is not a stimulant but is said to naturally increase energy. It is also believed to have a thermogenic effect on the body – the process that will burn fat. A clinical study conducted in 2001, testing healthy volunteers who were given Hoodia, demonstrated that there was a significant reduction in the average daily caloric intake, as well as a significant reduction in body fat.
In South African folk medicine, the Bushmen of the Kalahari also use Hoodia to treat abdominal cramps, hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes, although there is scant scientific research to prove these claims.
Currently, there appear to be no warnings or contraindications with the use of Hoodia Herbal Supplement. Results may vary with regard to the time that Hoodia takes effect; some are immediate; and some may take several weeks.