Product No. P08021
Hoodia plants have an appearance very similar to cacti, but are classified as succulents. The Hoodia genus encompasses a number of varieties of plant, of which Hoodia gordonii is one species. They are natives to the semi-deserts of South Africa and Namibia, with Hoodia Gordonii growing in the Kalahari Desert region of South Africa.
Hoodia gordonii grows in clumps of short, upright stems, with regular brown-spined stem angles. The stems are a greyish-brown colour with a light green new growth.
These plants are very difficult to grow and need a lot of water, warm temperatures and sunlight. They take many years to mature. The hoodia gordonii species is the most sought after for trade and occurs in fairly large areas. However, hoodia is protected by national conservation laws - it can only be collected or grown with a permit.
For many centuries the San bushmen of the Kalahari desert have used Hoodia plants as a thirst quencher and food substance whilst hunting and travelling across the vast desert, although the species hoodia gordonii was less often used because its lingering bitter taste was considered unpleasant. The bushmen also used hoodia as a cure for abdominal cramping, haemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes.
Recently, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa isolated an active compound for appetite suppression from hoodia gordonii – the only species of hoodia containing this compound. Molecules within the plant were shown to have a similar effect on nerve cells as glucose, tricking the brain into a sensation of fullness. Hoodia is now being widely marketed as a commercial appetite suppressant, after several trials showed it was a great success. Results of human clinical trials in Britain suggest that hoodia may reduce the appetite by hundreds of calories a day or more.
It works because the part of the mid-brain, known as the hypothalamus, contains nerve cells that sense glucose sugar. Whilst eating, blood sugar levels rise, the cells start firing, and a sense of fullness is achieved. The molecule in hoodia is thought to be about 10,000 times as active as glucose, and travels to the mid-brain to make nerve cells fire as they would whilst eating, even though no food is being consumed.
Key results of hoodia reported include a reduced interest in food, delay in the time after eating before hunger sets in again, feeling full more quickly, and a general feeling of well-being.
Hoodia gordonii is not a stimulant, and has no known side effects - it appears to be safe for most people.
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