Scientists believe that succulents developed millions of years ago, before the continents drifted apart. Hoodia gordinii is a succulent, but it is commonly referred to as a cactus. No one knows exactly how long hoodia gordinii has been around. It is one of many plants referred to as “bush food”; meaning that the San or Bushmen of South Africa gathered it for food. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa studied many indigenous species and noted an interesting fact about the hoodia gordonii cactus. When it was fed to animals, they lost weight, but not due to any toxic effect that they could detect. Natives reported that it was used to treat many common ailments. Most indigenous peoples used plants, roots and herbs for medicinal purposes. After all, there were no drug stores.
Most people are interested in the hoodia gordonii cactus for just one reason. The South African Bushmen reported that hoodia gordinii or xshoba, as it is called by the natives, was used by hunters to ward off hunger and thirst during times when other food was not available. They were not trying to lose weight. They did not have a weight problem. Anyone who spends the better part of a day searching for food is not going to be overweight. But, those people who are overweight have latched on to the idea that the hoodia gordonii cactus can help them lose the extra pounds.
News reports about hoodia gordinii have made the public aware of the possibility that a natural appetite suppressant that does not appear to be a stimulant has been discovered. Most of the research has been done by a British pharmaceutical company called Phytopharm. Phytopharm is not particularly happy to be sharing their research information at this time, because the health supplement industry is capitalizing on it. While the Phytopharm extract from the hoodia gordonii cactus is not expected to be release for quit some time. Many health supplement companies are selling hoodia gordinii powder and the better ones seem to be working. Dr. Joseph Varallo, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recently shared his experiences with Desert Burn®, a health supplement company which sells a 750mg tablet of powdered hoodia gordonii cactus, and they were quite positive. His full report is posted at the Desert Burn® website.
There is no doubt that hoodia gordinii will continue to make news. At some point in the future Phytopharm and its partner Unilever (maker of Slim Fast products) will release their product or products which contain the extract of the hoodia gordonii cactus. Some health companies are being investigated for making false claims about the actual content of their products. There is at least one class action suit involving a health supplement company and the claims the company made about their product. No reputable company will advise the customer that hoodia gordinii alone will take care of their weight problem. Reasonable diet and a regular exercise program are necessary to maintain a weight loss. Health supplement claims about the hoodia gordonii cactus should never be “too good too be true”. Companies that make such claims should be avoided. If they are not making honest statements about the effectiveness of appetite suppressants, then they may not be making honest statements about the content of their products. Look for CITES certifications at company websites to be confident that the product you are about to buy is genuine hoodia gordinii.
Patsy Hamilton is an editor for the Hoodia Info Blog. Visit us at http://hoodiainfo.blogspot.com