Author: Junaid Ashraf Mianoor
People who are a fan of diet pills will have heard of the recently discovered effects of Hoodia gordonii. Hoodia gordonii is an herb found to reduce appetite resulting to weight loss. It has only been popularized recently due to the ban against the diet herb ephedra, which has known to have side effects on its users. And with society dictating that thin is beautiful, everyone is more than welcome to accept a new and thought to be safer diet pill in the market.
Hoodia gordonii is a cactus-like plant found in the deserts of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, and South Africa. It largely resembles a cactus but it isn't really one. Studies show that this succulent plant was being consumed by the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to ward off hunger and thirst during extended periods of hunting. It was known that they would cut off the stem and eat the bitter plant while on a hunting trip. The purple flowers of the hoodia gordonii will take five years before it appears and only then can it be harvested.
There are several varieties of hoodia but only the hoodia gordonii variety is known to have the active ingredient called "p57", also known as steroidal glycoside. The first company to license p57 was Phytopharm and has spent over $20 million dollars in hoodia research. Pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant, recognized the potential of hoodia in the market and asked Phytopharm to allow them to sublicense the rights to develop p57 for commercial production.
Hoodia gordonii gained popularity after a TV correspondent Leslie Stahl traveled all the way to Africa to try hoodia. They hired a local Bushman to track down some hoodia and she tried it for herself. After eating the plant, Stahl has reported that she lost the desired to eat or drink for the rest of the day. She didn't feel any immediate side-effects as well.
At present, hoodia gordonii is sold in powder, capsule, liquid or tea form that can be found online and in the local health stores. It is also an ingredient in popular diet pills. Albeit popular, there are no published results of controlled trials that the herb is safe to take in pill form. Hoodia gordonii works by altering the ATP levels so that a person will no longer feel hungry or thirsty.
Although hoodia gordonii is a relatively safe pill to take, its side effects are not known. It may not have side effects on the San Bushmen but that is because they are not taking any other type of medications unlike the populace today. Studies have not been made as to the interaction of the herb to other drugs. The intake of the herb can also be dangerous for those who have diabetes because with the hunger mechanism turned-off, blood sugar can get really low.
As with other supplements, it is wise to verify the product before actually using it. With the many suppliers of hoodia gordonii in the Internet, it is best to be cautious and do a thorough comparison of hoodia products before buying one.
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