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Desert Plant -- Hoodia Gordonii-- May Be an Effective Aid in Weight Loss
Kalahari Bushmen Used Plant for Centuries to Curb Appetite and Eliminate Hunger

by Mary Shomon

If you haven't heard about the supplement hoodia gordonii, there's no doubt you will very soon. Hoodia, a natural appetite suppressant, is earning attention as a potentially powerful weapon in the war against obesity and the American focus on losing weight. Hoodia supplements were introduced to the U.S. market only in early 2004.

What is Hoodia Gordonii?

hoodia supplement for diet and weight lossHoodia gordonii, a plant that, while it looks like a cactus, is actually a "succulent" that grows in the high deserts of the Kalahari Desert region of South Africa. The San people of the Kalahari -- a tribe of hunter-gatherers with a 27,000-year-old culture and history in using native plants for medicinal purposes -- have been using the hoodia plant for centuries to help ward off pain, hunger and thirst when the Bushmen made long trips in the desert.

In an interview with ABC News, Andries Steenkamp, a spokesman for the San people, said: "I learned how to eat it from my forefathers. It is my food, my water and also a medicine for me. Said Steenkamp: "We San use the plant during hunting to fight off the pain of hunger and thirst."

Hoodia gordonii is entirely natural -- it is not a drug, and has no stimulant properties. There is interest, however, from various pharmaceutical companies, including the company Phytopharm, who are trying to synthesize the appetite-suppressing component, P57, in order to create a patentable drug in the future.

How Does Hoodia Work?

There are various species of hoodia, but the Gordonii variation is the only one that contains the all-natural appetite suppressant. Tbis type of hoodia contains a molecule that has similar effects on nerve cells as glucose, and tricks the brain into the sensation of fullness. Results of human clinical trials in Britain suggest that hoodia may reduce the appetite by hundreds of calories a day or more.

In a BBC interview, Phytopharm's Dr. Richard Dixey explained how P57 works:
There is a part of your brain, the hypothalamus. Within that mid-brain there are nerve cells that sense glucose sugar. When you eat, blood sugar goes up because of the food, these cells start firing and now you are full. What the Hoodia seems to contain is a molecule that is about 10,000 times as active as glucose. It goes to the mid-brain and actually makes those nerve cells fire as if you were full. But you have not eaten. Nor do you want to.
Which Hoodia Does Mary Shomon Recommend?

The only brand of hoodia that I recommend and have used is Hoodia from Paradise Herbs. I've found this product effective, and of good quality. You can easily order Paradise Herbs Hoodia from reputable online retailer, and it's available at the lowest prices on the Internet for this popular product.

Order Paradise Herbs Hoodia from
How Quickly Will Hoodia Work?

Some people report that hoodia works for them immediately, suppressing appetite within 20 to 30 minutes after taking the capsules. Generally, though, people typically need up to two weeks of regularly taking hoodia before they begin to notice the effects of hoodia, which include:
  • A reduced interest in food
  • A delay in the time after eating before hunger sets in again
  • Feeling full more quickly
  • General feeling of well-being
Does Hoodia Have Side Effects?

Hoodia gordonii is not a stimulant, and has no known side effects. Of course, there is always someone who has a reaction to even the safest supplement, so your own experience -- in conjunction with the advice of your practitioner -- should guide you.

How to Take Hoodia?

Prescription drugs containing hoodia or its synthetic P57 derivative are years away from being on the market. But natural hoodia supplements are currently available.

You need to be particularly careful that you take a hoodia that contains the actual plant -- some brands out there claim to contain hoodia, and have been tested to show they have no hoodia whatsoever. My favorite brand is Hoodia Slim from Paradise Herbs. Another quality brand is the Canadian-based MHSCI Hoodia.

Some people start by using 1-2 capsules an hour before lunch and 1-2 capsules an hour before dinner daily for the first two weeks. As the appetite suppressant effect kicks in, some people drop back to 1 or 2 capsules per day. Always follow the directions of your qualified healthcare professional.

My Own Experience With Hoodia

I'm not promising you that hoodia is some sort of miracle diet pill. You can't just pop a few hoodia every day, eat all you want, and lose weight. It just doesn't work like that, and I would be misleading you if I suggested it.

The reality is that for many people -- but for most thyroid patient in particular -- in order to lose weight, you have to cut some calories, focus on eating enough good fats (but limit the saturated fats), eat enough healthy protein, eat good carbs (high fiber vegetables and some fruits), avoid the high-glycemic simple carbohydrates (like sugar, flour, and rice), drink sufficient water, and ensure that you are doing things -- like aerobic and weight bearing exercise, and various supplements -- to safely raise metabolism.

It's a healthy -- but surprisingly effective -- approach I've described in great detail in my book The Thyroid Diet, a New York Times bestseller, Quills Award nominee, and Top Ten Health Book of 2004!

I've been using hoodia, because I have found that it helps me with that critical issue -- limiting calories. As I describe in The Thyroid Diet, I am not one of those people who can follow the "eat-all- you-want-as-long-as-it-doesn't-have-carbohydrates" Atkins-style approach because I have a good appetite, and it is not suppressed enough by eating low-carb to substantially cut calories and result in weight loss. But hoodia gives me that extra bit of willpower, and that feeling of well-being, and makes it easier to avoid snacking, and that keeps me feeling full for longer periods of time.

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I'm listening to this every night to help keep me on track, and making the right choices about food and exercise. I LOVE THIS AUDIOBOOK!!

Sticking Out Our Necks and this website are Copyright Mary Shomon, 1997-2007. All rights reserved. Mary Shomon, Editor/Webmaster
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting a new treatment program. Please see our full disclaimer.