Review Articles
Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii) Review Article
 

Initial Posting: 10/20/05  Updated: 10/21/11
What It Is:
Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii), is a cactus-like succulent plant that grows in the high deserts of the Kalahari on the border of South Africa and Namibia. Hoodia is very rare and is protected by national conservation laws in South Africa and Namibia. Its stems and roots are used in supplements.

What It Does:
It has been claimed that people indigenous to the Kalahari desert have used hoodia to stave off hunger during long-distance travel over the desert. In the 1960s the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a scientific research body in South Africa, included Hoodia gordonii among several hundred plant species in a project on edible wild plants. It found that rats fed hoodia lost weight but remained healthy.

It has been reported that a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 18 obese people showed that those who took hoodia for 15 days ate 1,000 fewer calories daily, and burned more fat than those in the placebo group, without adverse effects. However, this is a fairly small study and, suspiciously, has never been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Most of the other evidence for Hoodia in people seems to be anecdotal, centering on personal experiences with the herb.



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