Register as a User. If already registered LOG IN. Help this community by editing pages or by UPLOADING PICTURES.

Hoodia

From Philippines
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hoodia.jpg
Hoodia Gordini Plant
Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
Helpful Informational Links
Dandelion Root Products
The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used fresh or dried in teas, capsules, or extracts.
Try the Dandelion Way
Hoodia
Kalahari Bushmen have traditionally eaten hoodia stems to reduce their hunger and thirst during long hunts.
Alternative way to loose weight!
Immune System Supplements
Astragalus root is used to support and enhance the immune system. Astragalus has also been used for heart disease.
Herbal Alternative Health
Hoodia gordonii P1010383.JPG
Hoodia Gordini Plant and Flowers

Hoodia

The medicinal herb Hoodia as an alternative herbal remedy - Hoodia is a flowering, cactus-like plant native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Its harvest is protected by conservation laws.Common Names--hoodia, Kalahari cactus, Xhoba

Latin Names--Hoodia gordonii Picture of Hoodia

What Hoodia Is Used For

  • Kalahari Bushmen have traditionally eaten hoodia stems to reduce their hunger and thirst during long hunts.
  • Hoodia gordonii is a natural cactus like plant that grows naturally in Africa. Hoodia Gordonii has been known to produce major appetite suppression for many years in the South African region.
  • Today, hoodia is marketed as an appetite suppressant for weight loss.

How Hoodia Is Used

  • Dried extracts of hoodia stems and roots are used to make capsules, powders, and chewable tablets. Hoodia can also be used in liquid extracts and teas.
  • Hoodia products often contain other herbs or minerals, such as green tea or chromium picolinate.

What the Science Says about Hoodia

  • There is no reliable scientific evidence to support hoodia's use. No studies of the herb in people have been published.

What other sites are saying about Hoodia

Wikipedia: The use of Hoodia spp. has long been known by the indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, who infrequently use these plants for treating indigestion and small infections, but their use of the plant to suppress appetite on long hunting trips in the Kalahari Desert has stimulated the most interest.

In 1977, the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) isolated the ingredient in hoodia—now known as P57—which is responsible for its appetite-suppressant effect, and patented it in 1996.[1] The CSIR then granted United Kingdom-based Phytopharm a license, and they collaborated with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to isolate active ingredients from the extracts and look into synthesizing them for use as an appetite suppressant. Pfizer released the rights to the primary ingredient in 2002. Paul Hutson, associate professor in the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy, told the Wisconsin State Journal, "For Pfizer to release something dealing with obesity suggests to me that they felt there was no merit to its oral use". Pfizer states that development on P57, the active ingredient of hoodia, was stopped due to the difficulty of synthesizing it. Jasjit Bindra, lead researcher for hoodia at Pfizer, states there were indications of unwanted effects on the liver caused by other components, which could not be easily removed from the supplement, adding, "Clearly, hoodia has a long way to go before it can earn approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Until safer formulations are developed, dieters should be wary of using it."

In 2002, CSIR officially recognized the San tribespeople’s rights over hoodia, allowing them to take a percentage of the profits and any spin-offs resulting from the marketing of hoodia. H. gordonii is a protected plant which may only be wild-harvested by individuals and the few companies which have been granted a license

Side Effects and Cautions of Hoodia

  • Hoodia's safety is unknown. Its potential risks, side effects, and interactions with medicines and other supplements have not been studied. The quality of hoodia products varies widely. News reports suggest that some products sold as hoodia do not contain any hoodia. Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Herbal remedies in zamboanga.PNG

Hoodia Gordonii

Hoodia gordonii is one of the most sought after succulents due to its medicinal properties. It has been called one of the wonder plants of the twenty first century. Trade in this plant is restricted. See Information document on trade in Hoodia gordonii and other Hoodia species for further details.

Description of Hoodia Gordonii

Hoodia gordonii is a spiny succulent. In the early stages only one stem is produced but at a later stage the plant starts branching. Mature plants can have as many as 50 individual branches and weigh as much as 30 kg. Plants under ideal conditions can attain a height of 1 m. Flowers are borne on or near the terminal apex (top part of the plant). The flowers are large and have a carrion-like smell (smell similar to rotten meat). In some ways the Hoodia flowers resemble a petunia flower. Flowers vary in colour from pale straw to dark maroon. Flowers are normally borne in August or September. Flowers can reach a diameter of 75 mm. Seed is produced in October and November. The seed capsules resemble small antelope or goat horns hence the Afrikaans common name of bokhorings.

Distribution

Hoodia gordonii has a very wide distribution. It occurs in the northeastern part of the Western Cape, the north and northwestern regions of the Northern Cape and southern Namibia . It is used to extreme heat (above 40°C), but it can survive in relatively low temperatures (-3°C).

The plant appears to have a wide tolerance of growing habitats, found in deep Kalahari sands, on dry stony slopes or flats and under the protection of xerophytic bushes.

source: www.plantzafrica.com/planthij/hoodgord.htm

News About Hoodia

Is Hoodia Gordonii Effective for Weight Loss?

By Mary Shomon (Reviewed by a board-certified physician)

Many thyroid patients — struggling with weight loss challenges — are interested in natural supplements that may help with various aspects of weight loss. You may have heard about the supplement hoodia gordonii, introduced to the U.S. market in early 2004, and promoted as a natural appetite suppressant. Here is an overview of hoodia, and its possible benefits.

What Is Hoodia Gordonii?

Hoodia gordonii is a plant that, while it looks like a cactus, is actually a spiny succulent that grows in the high deserts of the Kalahari Desert region of South Africa, and other very hot and arid areas of Africa.

It is native to South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. In the decade since the introduction of hoodia, it is now considered an endangered species due to ​overgathering.

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 Kalahari desert. The San also believed it also had medicinal purposes —helping with hypertension, diabetes, severe abdominal cramps, and hemorrhoids.

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 not a drug and has no stimulant properties.

There is interest, however, from various pharmaceutical companies, who have been trying to synthesize the appetite-suppressing components of hoodia in order to create a patentable drug in the future. How Is Hoodia Supposed to Work?

There are various species of hoodia, but the Gordonii variation is only one that contains what scientists believe is an appetite suppressant.

This type of hoodia contains a molecule that is said to have similar effects on nerve cells as glucose and tricks the brain into the sensation of fullness.

In a BBC interview, pharmaceutical executive Dr. Richard Dixey explained how this molecule — called 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.

Hoodia seems to have some appetite suppressant effects on a subset of people who take it. It generally takes several weeks to take effect. Some of the effects of hoodia 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

Some informal human clinical trials have suggested that hoodia may reduce the appetite by hundreds of calories a day or more in some people. Most of the evidence for hoodia, however, seems to be anecdotal and is not supported by scientific research.

To that end, the use of hoodia is controversial. Mark Blumenthal, founder of The American Botanical Council, told WebMD: "We can only say the evidence available to us right now, which is considered inadequate, suggests that there is some type of appetite-suppressing mechanism in some of the naturally occurring chemicals in hoodia.”

While some scientists maintain interest in the P57 molecule and feel that it may have some applications for human use down the road, there does not appear to be any conclusive evidence that hoodia is particularly effective for weight loss.

If You Decide to Use Hoodia

Prescription drugs containing hoodia or its synthetic P57 derivative are still not on the market.

But natural hoodia supplements are currently available.

If you decide to use hoodia, always talk to your healthcare provider first. Then, you should choose only a tested, quality product, and make sure it is from a reputable company.

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 active hoodia whatsoever. Hoodia is also found in the popular diet pill Trimspa.

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.

Do not take hoodia if you have one of the following conditions/ages:

• Anorexia, bulimia or another eating disorder
• Children under the age of 18
• Clotting or bleeding disorder
• Depression
• Diabetes
• Heart problems/taking heart medication
• Liver problems
• Nursing mothers
• Pregnant women
Does Hoodia Have Side Effects?

Hoodia gordonii is not a stimulant, and is not thought to have significant side effects. Various supplement manufacturers, however, caution about the following potential side effects, even if the risk is low:

• Anxiety
• Appetite suppression which could lead to malnutrition
• Diabetes
• Elevated blood pressure
• Feelings of nervousness
• Gastrointestinal issues
• Increased bleeding
• Interactions with other medication
• Liver damage

Hoodia (Hoodia Pilifera) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

(Tips Curing Disease)
Hoodia (Hoodia Pilifera) Overview

Hoodia (Hoodia Pilifera) other names: Cactus, Cactus Hoodia, Cactus du Kalahari, Extrait de Hoodia, Hoodia Cactus, Hoodia Extract, Hoodia Gordonii, Hoodia Gordonii Cactus, Hoodia P57, Kalahari Cactus, Kalahari Diet, P57, Xhoba.

The herb Hoodia pilifera gets is name from Van Hood, who was a keen and tender cultivator. On the other hand, the botanical name of the species is derived from the Latin term ‘pilus', ‘hair; trifle' + ‘i' - the connective vowel is made use of in Latin from the Latin word ‘fero', denoting ‘to bear, carry and bring'. In effect, this refers to the apical hairy spines present on the tip of every tubercle (a small, firm, rounded nodule).

Native to South Africa, Hoodia pilifera is a leafless plant having a fat, succulent stem. Generally, Hoodia pilifera is found growing in parched areas at an altitude of approximately 300 meters to 900 meters. The Hoodia pilifera produces saucer shaped flowers that have a deep purple to nearly black to pinkish brown color inside, while on the exterior it has a reddish green hue. The flowers of Hoodia pilifera may appear solitarily or even in small clusters or inflorescences. The flowers of the Hoodia pilifera are somewhat diminutive having a corolla that is pinkish-yellow in most cases, while the corona has a yellow hue with a potent wicked smell. On the other hand, the pedicels are comparatively long which makes the flower somewhat droopy at times.

It may be noted that the Hoodia pilifera plants are uses in the same manner as the Hoodia gordonii to suppress appetite and thirst.

Hoodia pilifera is a succulent plant growing up to a height of 0.5 meters, having plump, uneven and thorny stems that originate from a common base. The flowers of Hoodia pilifera possesses the smell of decaying flesh with a view to draw flies and blowflies, which act as main pollinators. The seed capsules of Hoodia pilifera remind you of the horns of a goat and enclose numerous brown seeds having silky seed hairs. Currently, three sub-species of the Hoodia pilifera are known. The sub-species pilifera bears purple-brownish flowers that grow up to 20 mm in diameter, while the sub-species annulata bears flowers that have deep purple to black color and grows up to 20 mm to 30 mm in diameter with unfolding lobes. The third known sub-species is called pillansii which produces flowers whose color ranges from yellow to pink and are devoid of the elevated rim or annulus, which is present in the other two sub-species. The main species that is under commercial development is Hoodia gordonii, which produces large, flesh-colored flowers.

Native to the arid regions of Southern Africa, hoodia has been cultivated on a trial level and is yet to be commercialized completely. Although it is very simple to cultivate the plants in the Hoodia species, the plants are vulnerable to root decay owing to excessive watering as well as lack of clean air. The plant generally requires watering during the growing season and very rarely during the winters. Normally, it is advisable to over-winter the plants when they are grown in warm conditions - at around 10°C. However, despite being native to Africa, the Hoodia species appear to grow excellently as well as produce flowers devoid of any additional heat that one may have considered necessary for cultivating these plants. Sometimes the plants are also able to endure temperatures close to 0°C or even below provided they are maintained in a dry state.

Hoodia (Hoodia Pilifera) Health Benefits

Hoodia is a cactus-type plant from the Kalahari desert in Africa.

People use hoodia to curb their appetite so they are able to lose weight. According to some claims, San bushmen in Africa eat hoodia to fight off hunger during long hunts.

The stems of the plants belonging to the Hoodia species as well as other succulents are also known as carrion flowers or stapeliads - locally called ‘ghaap'. Traditionally, the Khoi-San herders of Namibia and South Africa use the stems of the hoodia to suppress their appetite as well thirst. It may be mentioned that the appetite suppressant code has been isolated, recognized as well as patented. Currently, scientists are studying the appetite suppressant principle of the Hoodia with a view to develop a medication to cure obesity.

In South Africa, the country where the plant originated, people use the Hoodia plant species as an expedient food during emergencies. In addition, Hoodia is also used as a source of moisture in ruthless parched surroundings. Hoodia pilifera possesses a bland, but cool and watery flavor. Some people consume the plant raw, while there are others who preserve it in sugar before eating the plant, especially the stems.

The unripe pods of Hoodia pilifera are a favourite among the people for its sweetness. Like Hoodia gordonii as well as many other succulents that are referred to as carrion flowers or stapeliads, plants of this species may be used to suppress appetite as well as thirst. To eat the plant, the stem of Hoodia pilifera is cut into small pieces, the skin of Hoodia pilifera is peeled to remove the thorns and consumed fresh. However, the most favourable dose of this Hoodia pilifera is yet to be known.

Be careful when buying hoodia products. According to news reports, some samples of hoodia sold on the Internet do not contain any hoodia at all. You might not get what’s listed on the label.

Hoodia (Hoodia Pilifera) Side effects

There isn’t enough information to know if hoodia is safe.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of hoodia during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


6 Impressive Hoodia Gordonii Benefits

(Organics Facts)

Hoodia Gordonii is a true gift from nature that promotes weight loss. Being overweight and obese, as well as having diabetes and related problems, has taken over the world like a disastrous epidemic over the last few decades and people are ready to do just about anything to get rid of these problems. This started an endless search for natural products, synthetic medicines, and diet plans that could help people lose weight. It is one of the most promising finds in this endless search.

Over the last few years, the demand for Hoodia and its products has risen surprisingly. It may not be a well known name in many Asian and African countries, because obesity has not been such a big problem here due to food habits and lifestyle. However, the scenario is changing and obesity is spreading its roots in these places too, but it is a major issue in European and American countries.

Let’s explore what it is, its available forms, its uses, and why it is so popular, so that before you try some Hoodia product, you are well aware of all the information. It is always safer to be informed.

Although a lot of information on it is available on the Internet, let me give a few more facts and important details.

What is Hoodia Gordonii?

It is a succulent, fleshy cactus-like plant of the Asclepiad family, which is an original inhabitant of the Kalahari desert in Africa. Among its many varieties, Hoodia Gordonii is the most popular because its extracts suppress hunger and effectively helps reduce weight and fat percentage. It is available on the market in many forms, including pills, capsules, juice, complexes, chews, diet supplements, and even lollipops.

Unprocessed Hoodia may show some side effects such as dry mouth and liver problems. Once growing naturally and abundantly in Africa, wild Hoodia Gordonii has now became a rare sight there because of over exploitation, due to the discovery of its appetite suppressing properties. Many think that it is a variety of Cactus, but if I tell them that the well-known, much heard of, and even more misunderstood Cactus Gordonii Hoodia is not a Cactus at all, they will be taken aback. Believe me, I am absolutely right. Just like “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter”, all the plants with spongy and fleshy leaves that bear thorns are not cacti. It forms an integral component of many weight loss drugs, due to its appetite suppressing properties.

Hoodia Availability in the Market

Most of the Hoodia available in the market is not the natural African Gordonii Hoodia, but rather the commercially grown Hoodia from other parts of the world. Does that make any difference? Apparently not! Because their properties remain almost the same, except in the commercially grown ones, you may find some traces of artificial fertilizers. If you don’t want that, make sure that you buy genuine African Hoodia Gordonii.

Hoodia as an Appetite Suppressant

Hoodia is today’s answer for the millions across the world who want to shed some pounds off their bodies and look slimmer. How does it do this? Its chemical composition resembles that of Glucose or acts as Pseudo-Glucose, but is far more powerful than glucose in its glucose-like behavior. They send the brain chemical signals that the stomach is full and that the body does not want any more food. When absorbed in the body, the body thinks that it has consumed some very high-energy giving food (which is not so) and gives the brain a chemical message with that information. The brain, in turn, immediately rings the body, giving instructions to stop eating. This kills the appetite and the body is kept unfed so it uses its own stores of fat to meet its energy requirements. What is the result? No energy consumed under the facade of high-energy food. What about body’s fat store? It is burnt, thereby helping you lose weight.

Products with Hoodia Gordonii

Due to its overwhelming demand, many companies and laboratories came up with pills, capsules, supplements, and other products that contain Hoodia Gordonii. Let’s learn more about these products and their benefits.

Hoodia Tea: Hoodia Tea is taking the world by storm these days as one of the most dependable and favoured Hoodia-based products. It really works fast and no adverse effects have been seen thus far. It is a shredded and dried form of the Hoodia plant that can be consumed like tea by brewing it in warm water. Most of the Hoodia Teas available in market are seldom pure Hoodia, since they come as blends of Hoodia with Green Tea and other herbs.

Hoodia Supplements: These supplements are the dietary supplements that mainly contain Hoodia, along with other ingredients, and are used for losing weight. These Supplements, because of their Hoodia content, give the feeling of a full stomach and thus result in a loss of appetite. This in turn results in a lower intake of food, lower energy intake, utilization of the fat stored in the body and the subsequent loss of weight. Unlike many other weight-loss diet supplements, it is safer (studies are still going on to explore possibilities of threats to the liver) in the sense that it does not contain artificial stimulants.

Hoodia Complex: First of all, it is nothing like some inferiority/superiority complex growing in you for not using or using Hoodia. Hoodia Complex is a medical preparation or composition that includes Hoodia along with other herbs and is meant to suppress your hunger or appetite while also revitalizing you by contributing some antioxidants to your body. Apart from Hoodia extract, it contains some vitamins, a few minerals, extracts of ingredients like Green Tea, St. John’s Wort, Cocoa seeds, Garcinia Fruit, Gymnema leaf and components like sorbitol and stearic acid. The composition of Hoodia Complex may vary according to the manufacturers and the above ingredients should not be considered as strictly standard, although they more or less remain the same.

Hoodia Pops: Have you ever thought of licking a lollipop all the time and still losing weight? I assume that many of you haven’t, unless you have heard of Hoodia Pops! They are lollipops containing Hoodia extract with some other herbal extracts, which are flavored and artificially sweetened. These Hoodia Pops have become very popular with celebrities these days, not merely because they help lose weight, but rather due to the fact that they are handy, state of the art, and new. These pops help you lose weight in two ways. First, they help you lose weight due to the presence of Hoodia in them that kills your appetite and second, they keep your mouth engaged so you aren’t thinking about eating. Having an oral fixation can often lead to overeating.

Hoodia Dex-L10 Gordonii: Hoodia is in high demand across the world because it is really helping people out with losing weight. Because of this, Delmar Laboratories, Nutralab Inc. came up with a product range named Hoodia Gordonii Dex, more precisely, Hoodia Dex-L10. A whole range of dietary supplements that function as appetite suppressants are sold under this series name. These products include Hoodia Dex-L10 Basic Diet Pills, Hoodia Dex-L10 Complete (a mixture of Hoodia with some herbs) and Hoodia Dex-L10 Gordonii Soft Chews, the latest product released. As the name suggests, the chief ingredient of these products is the extract of the plant Hoodia Gordonii, a succulent plant of the Asclepiad family, which is native to the Kalahari Desert of Africa and is known for its appetite suppressing properties.

Hoodia 57: Hoodia 57 is yet another Hoodia Gordonii-based appetite suppressant drug. It is one of the latest entries in the world of Hoodia-based drugs and is believed to be the most powerful among them, as well as the safest. Hoodia is otherwise very safe except for dry mouth in some cases where you feel thirsty (you cannot call this adverse, since it is doesn’t harm the body; it actually stimulates you to drink water, which is good). Also, some studies have shown some effects on the liver. Hoodia 57 overcomes even that. No wonder that it is one of the most popular weight-loss drugs among the celebrities and stars that gives them that dream size – zero.

Side Effects of Hoodia Gordonii

Almost ninety percent of Hoodia Gordonii users are of the belief that it has no side effects at all on the body, which is true to some extent, but not absolutely. There are two reasons behind this. The first one is that its side effects do not show up or are not detected quickly, unlike Caffeine in Green Tea and other stimulants found in other appetite suppressants. Second, even if some people know about it, they tend to ignore it, and are just overwhelmed by the weight reducing effects of Hoodia and the fact that it is in such high fashion today. You take it and you fall in the same line with Britney Spears! But let me tell you, it does have side effects. The most common is a sticky, dry mouth, followed by some suspected damage to liver in the long run and lastly, the risk of seriously depriving the body of energy. These side effects are due to some of its constituents, which are difficult to remove while processing. Still, since Hoodia products are herbal and most of its preparations do not contain harmful synthetic chemicals or stimulants, they are safer than most of the weight loss drugs available in the market that put stress on the heart and metabolism.

Conclusion: Hoodia Gordonii may be one of the most effective natural products for weight loss, but it is not totally safe. So, indiscriminate and very long-term use should be avoided. Furthermore, one should not depend completely on it for losing weight; rather, you should use them in accordance with daily exercise and workouts. So, use it with caution and only when you truly feel that you need it!


6 supplements to help reduce hunger and keep your calories in check

By Rachael Schultz

Fight cravings with these science-backed herbs, spices, and natural supplements.

You can count your daily macros and eat all the best foods, but if you’re trying to lose weight by cutting calories, sooner or later a certain diet-derailing monster is going to rear its head—hunger. And when your stomach starts growling, it’s nearly impossible to think about anything other than stuffing your face to quiet it.

So if you're trying to lose weight and constantly feel hungry, the first thing you should consider is whether you’re actually eating enough calories. (After all, starving yourself isn’t going to deliver sustainable weight loss.) But if you’re cutting back your calories in a healthy way and still feeling hunger pangs all day, try incorporating one of these six supplements to help suppress your appetite, reduce cravings, and feel full longer. And, as always, if you're considering taking supplements, you should talk to your doctor first.

1. Capsaicin

Adding a little spice to your supplement routine can help curb cravings thanks to capsaicin, the source of heat in chili peppers. Healthy men and women who took a dose of 4mg of capsaicin every day for 12 weeks consumed fewer calories per day—about 250 less on average, according to a new study in Appetite. This supports earlier research, also published in Appetite, that found taking 2mg of capsaicin or more reduced caloric intake among study participants by an average of 310 calories. One important note: In the new study, roughly 23% of participants reported GI distress at the 4mg/day dosage. (After all, this is spicy stuff.) Nobody from the lower-dose group did, though, and they still reported eating 142 fewer calories a day compared to the placebo group. The smart move? Start with 2mg/d of capsaicin, and only move to more if you think you need it and can handle it.

2. Thylakoids

Thylakoids are compounds made from membranes found in green plants, and they have been shown to help reduce cravings and feelings of hunger. A 2015 study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that when overweight and obese men and women took supplemental thylakoids, they felt less hungry, and less of a longing for food over two hours, compared to the placebo group. In fact, when overweight and obese women took a single dose of thylakoids before breakfast, they were 21% less hungry, 14% more satiated, and reported 30–36% fewer cravings for salty and sweet snacks throughout the day, respectively, says a 2015 study in Appetite.

Why? Well, a few reasons. An earlier study, also in Appetite, found that people who took a thylakoid supplement with a high-carb meal not only felt less hungry but also secreted more cholecystokinin, a hormone responsible for suppressing your appetite. Furthermore, when study participants took thylakoids before a fat-heavy meal—fat helps knock down cravings by activating reward systems in your brain—thylakoids helped delay digestion of fat so participants reaped the reward activation for longer, researchers from Louisiana State University found. The green-plant membrane works when taken with a non-fat- or non-carb-heavy meal, too, since the supplement works to release several gut hormones that promote feeling full and reduce feeling hungry, a 2015 study in Plant Foods Human Nutrition found.

3. Supplemental protein

You’ve probably heard this before, but adding protein to pretty much any meal—whether powder or in some other form—can keep you feeling fuller for longer. A small 2015 study in Appetite found that male athletes who took whey protein supplements an hour after breakfast were significantly less hungry in the hours after than guys who skipped it. Another, larger study in Steroids found that overweight and obese adults who packed breakfast with protein felt less hungry and reported fewer cravings throughout the day because the macronutrient reduced levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.

Aim for around 20g of clean protein, which is just as effective as higher doses, the studies suggest.

4. HCA (hydroxycitric acid)

Hydroxycitric acid is derived from the dried fruit rind of garcinia cambogia, and has been shown to reduce food intake, says Rehan Jalali, certified sports nutritionist and president of the Supplement Research Foundation. While older studies have shown that taking HCA reduced caloric intake in overweight men and women, a string of recent study analysis had more mixed conclusions. In one, Brazilian researchers analyzed 21 existing studies on garcinia cambogia and found that some (but not all) studies showed that those who took the herb had less of an appetite, lost weight, and reduced their body fat percentage.

Another study analysis, this one in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, reported similar mixed results, and added if HCA does work as an appetite suppressant the efficacy hasn't been studied long term, so the benefits might wear off over time. But both sets of researchers point out that none of the studies they looked at reported adverse effects in taking HCA, which is a good sign. Jalali recommends a large dose of 2g to 3g a day to determine any effect on appetite.

5. Prebiotic fiber

You probably know fiber is helpful to keep things moving through your system, but a few prebiotic kinds may be especially helpful to keep your calories in check, too. Overweight adults who consumed galactooligosaccharides, a soluble fiber extracted from legumes, daily had less of an appetite and ate fewer calories compared to folks who skipped the stuff, reports a study in the Journal of Nutrition. Meanwhile, a study in Appetite found people who popped a psyllium supplement, made from the husks of seeds, before each meal for three days felt significantly less hungry, less driven to snack, and more full in between meals (6 to 7g was the most effective dose).

Fair warning: A few participants experienced GI distress, a super-common side effect of upping your fiber, but, if this happens, up your water intake to keep things moving and talk to your doctor.

6. P57 Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii)

The native South African cactus has gained popularity in recent years. It’s being included more often in fat loss formulas, and there may be some truth to the hype: A 2015 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that people who ingested 3g of frozen hoodia a day had fewer cravings, felt less hungry, and ended up eating less over the 40-day study. It's worth noting that eight of the participants had mild side effects, though the researchers note they all cleared up and none had anything more severe.

What is it exactly though? “The Hoodia cactus, native to the Kalahari Desert, has been used for centuries by the hunter-gatherer San-speaking tribes of the region," Jalali explains. "The San peoples have long recognized the appetite suppressant qualities of the Hoodia cactus, and have traditionally chewed the stem to stave off hunger and thirst during long hunting expeditions in the desert.” The Hoodia has a special molecule, what’s been dubbed “P57,” that researchers believe mimics the way glucose signals the nerve cells in our brain that we’re full.

Aim for 500-1,000mg daily, but look for supplements with P57 specifically, Jalali says. A lot of companies use an extract that doesn’t include this molecule and are therefore selling snake oil that can just result in nasty side effects.


SA plant bounty goes global

By Brent Meersman

Many years ago, the wonderfully eccentric raconteur botanist Wim Tijmens, who turns 80 in May, introduced me to buchu brandy. Having travelled around China and undertaken various exotic expeditions, Tijmens swore that a tot every night and a little with your toothpaste was the best way to avoid diarrhoea while in hot countries. I took his advice and, armed with a bottle of Huguenot Buchu Brandy, survived two months in India without even a moist fart. Yet I had to steel myself at bedtime; neat buchu brandy has the taste of something that could eat its way through a bathtub.

Surprisingly, buchu is used in many berry-flavoured cool drinks to enhance their taste.

The buchu plant or agathosma – from the Greek agathos (pleasant) and osme (smell) – comes in two main varieties: Agathosma crenulata (with serrated-edged leaves) and Agathosma betulina (the round leaf type). Crenulata is grown commercially for essential oils; betulina is extraordinarily fussy about the conditions in which it will grow.

Buchu grows wild and is widely harvested on the slopes of the Western Cape mountains, where it is endemic. It fetches a lucrative price, but having it on one's farm is both a blessing and a curse. It can be a bit like having rhinos: like the practice of poaching, it is common and widespread. When I lived in the Piketberg, our farm was cleared out more than once.

Buchu was well known to the Khoi and San and is purported to have many miraculous properties, especially relating to the renal and digestive systems. Buchu-infused vinegar was used to wash wounds and it was apparently a lifesaver for troops in the Crimean War.

Search the internet and you will find dozens of mainland Chinese companies selling buchu leaf extract and a bewildering number of herbal remedies containing it. Medicinally, buchu is popularly taken like tea.

Voluntarily surrender Another Western Cape shrub to take the world by storm is rooibos, which is indigenous to the Cederberg. Although used to make tea, the plant (Aspalathus linearis) has nothing to do with the tea bush. You find rooibos tea in cafés, speciality shops and even supermarkets the world over these days – its commercial boom has been closely tied to the craze for things rich in antioxidants, free of caffeine and low in tannins.

In 1994 an American company registered rooibos as a trademark, but was fortunately later forced by legal action to "voluntarily surrender" it.

The latest craze, which has now hit the United States, is to treat rooibos as one would coffee to make rooibos cappuccinos and red lattes.

Aromatic and delicious honeybush (Cyclopia genistoides) has not yet enjoyed the success of rooibos, but it certainly has potential. According to a report by the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, production now stands at 150 tonnes a year exported and 50 tonnes used locally. Among the more interesting strengths identified in line with value-added global trends is its organic nature and its suitability for infants.

Iced and instant honeybush tea have also made an appearance. Both rooibos and honeybush have also started to be processed as "green tea", instead of using traditional "black tea" methods.

Only in the past decade has another indigenous plant, the rather fearsome-looking succulent Hoodia gordonii (native to South Africa and Namibia) hit the vast commercial market of fat Americans as an appetite suppressant. This property might not surprise one because the plant smells like carrion (it is pollinated by flies).

Efficacy Hoodia has run into many problems, including the issue of its intellectual property rights belonging to the Kalahari Khomani San community and fraudulent companies flooding the internet and the United States market with slimming tablets that, in fact, contained no hoodia. Then giant multinational Unilever, after spending a few hundred million dollars on research, found it lacked efficacy and caused too many side effects. But hoodia capsules continue to be sold.

Yet another endemic plant of pharmacological interest is the mesemb (a succulent that looks like stones or pebbles) that is found in the Namaqualand area – Sceletium tortuosum. It has been used by the Khoisan since time immemorial and by colonists since the 1600s.

Tijmens wondered how it was possible that the Dutch, from a wet climate in a country below sea level, could possibly survive in the great rainless interior that drives white men mad. His entertaining theory was that they sat on their stoeps staring at the horizon and chewing local plants known as kougoed. Some of the kougoed had inebriating and even hallucinogenic properties. The colonists were high.

Sceletium will not make you see things, but it is a "mood enhancer" and is used in antidepressants and to treat anxiety. It is grown commercially, but wild harvesting has put the plant under pressure in its natural habitat. The Dutch are still involved in its global distribution.

The San used it for bartering in the time of Jan van Riebeek. Two years ago, the government granted the first bioprospecting licence to HGH Pharmaceuticals for sceletium, acknowledging the San as the primary indigenous-knowledge holders of certain medicinal and other uses of kougoed. The Paulshoek and Nourivier communities are to be the beneficiaries.

One indigenous plant for which the most notorious bogus claims are made is Hypoxis hemerocallidea, known as inkomfe (isiZulu), moli kharatsa (Sesotho) or in English by the misnomer the African potato (the edible part is a corm, not a tuber).

Emerging ethos Although it will not cure Aids, the Thabo Mbeki government's mad crusade has turned it into a muti industry. A government brochure printed in 2012 still makes the claim that the plant "is an immune booster for people living with HIV/Aids". If not used correctly, it is actually toxic.

Of more interest to cooks than chemists is the Kalahari truffle. Like its European namesake, it is the mushroom-like fruit of a subterranean fungus, but is not particularly rare. They grow mostly on the roots of desert melons in a symbiotic relationship. Kalaharituber pfeilii or !N'abbas is actually a terfezia, not a truffle. It appears in April and May after good rains and pops up at slow-food markets and, from time to time, on the menus of fancy restaurants such as Aubergine in Cape Town.

The fruit of Sclerocarya birrea, better known as the marula, has been turned into one of the country's most successful culinary exports. South Africans of a certain age probably remember Jamie Uys's drunken elephants in his film Animals Are Beautiful People falling about after eating fermented marula. (The scene may have been staged.)

Archaeological evidence suggests that the use of marula stretches far back in time. The tree is the subject of many legends and indigenous uses, including determining the sex of an unborn child. But marula is best known to the world through the popular cream liqueur Amarula, of which an estimated 70000 cases a year is sold in more than 100 countries.

In general, legitimate producers of these indigenous products express ecological concerns and show sensitivity for their importance to local communities. This kind of awareness seems to be becoming inculcated in South Africans and their business ethics.

One must hope commercial success will improve and not destroy this emerging ethos.


Cactus that promises to curb the appetite

By Cahal Milmo

A multi-million pound race between the world's biggest food companies is under way to tackle the global obesity epidemic by producing the first clinically-tested "satiety pill".

Three conglomerates - the Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever, France's Danone and Kraft in America - are researching compounds to achieve the hallowed goal of inducing people to eat less by suppressing their appetite.

With 300 million people worldwide rated as overweight or obese, the annual global cost of treatment and economic loss from the epidemic is now £100bn.

Scientists are increasingly placing their hopes in a range of natural substances which have the effect of duping the brain into "satiety" - the feeling of a full stomach. In the last 12 months, patents have been given appetite-suppressing extracts including Korean pine nuts and chicory roots. But at the head of the race to cash in on the £3bn worldwide market for dietary control products is Hoodia gordonii - a spiny cactus, which takes five years to mature in the Kalahari desert.

Hoodia contains a secret weapon - a compound known as P57 which has been isolated by a British bio-technology company, Phytopharm, and is now at the heart of a £21m research scheme funded by Unilever.

Phytopharm announced last month that it was making good progress in clinical trials of P57. The cucumber-like core of the Hoodia has been used for centuries by indigenous San tribesmen to stave off hunger pangs. They eat it on long hunting trips.

Unilever has struck a deal with the San to pay the tribe a royalty from the sales of any product containing P57 to be used in a social programme.

Phytopharm, which will also receive a royalty on sales of all products containing its Hoodia extract, warned last month that it was talking with authorities to curtail the sale of "Hoodia" products on the internet which claim to cause weight loss. Unilever is working to launch a range of "hunger buster" products based on Hoodia in 2009.

Phytopharm found that the compound closely mimics a natural substance in the body which sends a satiety message to the hypothalamus - the part of the brain that controls appetite.

Trials have shown that those taking P57 can cut their consumption by as much as 1,000 calories per day. The recommended calorie total for an adult man is 2,500 per day and for a woman, 2,000. A Unilever spokesman said: "We don't want to put our name to something that is not backed 100 per cent by the science behind it. We are now satisfied that the product works and has the potential to help with weight management."

The cash and energy being pumped into Unilever's project is mirrored by its rivals. Danone has patented new types of dietary fibre which slow the passage of food through the digestive system, making people feel full for longer. Kraft is working on a special form of starch which resists being broken down by the body, again designed to create the sense that the stomach is full.

But a senior executive with one conglomerate told The Independent: "Satiety has the potential to be one of the biggest earners of the next five years."

Many of the substances, including P57, work by affecting a mechanism in the ileum, part of the lower intestine, where the presence of fat triggers a response of satiety to the brain.

This "ileal brake" is triggered or mimicked by the compounds by disguising the fat molecules until they reach the ileum. In one case, the body is convinced it has consumed 500 calories when in reality it has had just 190.

However, according to Gary Frost, professor of nutrition and dietetics at Surrey University, humans have a "squirreling" instinct which encourages them to eat to excess in preparation for times of food scarcity. "There is a sense that for the company or companies that can isolate a proven appetite suppressant, there is a market waiting that would entail the vast majority of the population," he said. "It is a glittering prize but a controversial one - can you confidently say that one food will halt your desire for another?"

Neville Rigby, spokesman for the International Obesity Task Force, said: "The key to tackling obesity is eating decent food and balancing your calorie intake with the amount of energy you burn. There is no magic bullet."


Hoodia: Benefits, Side Effects, Interactions and Dosage

(Consumer Health Digest)
About Hoodia

Many people want to try herbs and other forms of medicine to help with various conditions. The plant Hoodia can be used to try a number of medical conditions. This plant is also helpful when people are trying to lose weight as it works as an appetite suppressant.

Origin of Hoodia

Hoodia comes from the Kalahari Desert in Africa. It is a plant that is similar to a cactus. This plant is considered to be endangered. It is slow to grow and once it is picked it is slow to reproduce. This plant has tan flower and is thorny. While it can be consumed by human Hoodia does have an unpleasant smell to it. This plant has been used for a number of years as an appetite suppressant. The people in Africa did not have access to much food, so this plant would increase their feeling of fullness. Today it is used by people that are trying to lose weight.

Health Benefits of Hoodia

There are benefits when taking Hoodia for weight loss purposes. When the stem of the plant is consumed, a person will not feel hungry. They can eat small amount of food and be full for hours. The less food that a person is eating, the less they are consuming. When combined with an exercise program a person will be able to burn off these calories. They will be full longer. Hoodia contains P57, which is a molecule that suppresses appetite. This molecule has been used in other products to help obese people. The brain will think it is full and a person will feel hungry for hours to come. A person will be able to eat less without that hungry feeling. Emotional eaters will no longer have the desire to eat.

Possible Side Effects of Hoodia

Like with any other weight loss supplement or medication a person should use Hoodia under the close supervision of a medical professional. People who have diabetes need to be careful when taking this supplement. It may make it harder to control blood sugar levels. People that have heart conditions or are taking medication for this problem should not take Hoodia. People with blood clotting or bleeding disorders should also take this medication under the close supervision of a doctor. People with eating disorders may not take this supplement as it will interfere with their progress in recovery.

Proper Dosage for Hoodia

This plant should only be taken under care of a medical professional and only take the dosage that they have suggested. If a person is purchasing this plant in supplement form they need to follow the directions exactly. If too much is taken a person should go directly to the emergency room. The information on the package should be followed to the tee to make sure a person is safe and there are no negative interactions.

Use of Hoodia in Supplement

Since the Hoodia plant is rare especially in the western countries, this plant is often taken in supplement form. Be sure to take the supplements as directed. When purchasing supplements research the different brands. Make sure the products do not contain binders, fillers, or anything else that can be harmful.

Must Watch Video – Hoodia Review

https://youtu.be/85MA7FtUcTs

Hoodia Interactions

There are no known food or drink interactions with Hoodia. People that have allergic reactions to plants or herbs should be cautious when using this supplement. People that are on medication for diabetes, blood conditions, and other health concerns should also be cautious when using this supplement. Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take this supplement since the interactions with the baby or fetus are undetermined. People with high blood pressure should consult a doctor before starting this or any weight loss program to make sure they are healthy enough for the diet and exercise.

Conclusion

Hoodia can help a person finally lose weight and get into shape. Since a person will be eating less then will not need to be consuming extra food and calories. Supplements made from this plant are great for emotional eaters and people that overeat. Like with all weight loss plans and supplements be sure to use this under the care of a doctor. Hoodia is all natural but a person still needs to be careful when taking supplements for weight loss.


How Does Hoodia Gordonni Benefits in Weight Loss?

By Shelly Rayner

Today various weight loss foods for women are available that are helping out them without affecting them negatively. These plenty of weight loss foods also helps them to lose weight and in getting thin healthily and while enjoying their favorite food eating them heartily.

Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant which grows in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. Many years ago, hunters in South Africa who have to wander without food during their long durations of hunting found this. In today’s world, this is the most sought-after and popular diet product that have been clinically proven and tested to suppress the appetite of a person. Now you must be thinking how does hoodia helps in fat loss? It may sound like a dietary dream for some but it isn’t so simple. It is true that if you dying to have sexy and lean midsection, taking a diet would be last thing on your mind. Eating less in order to lose body fat is fine but not eating enough can actually cause muscle loss rather than fat loss in your body.

Hoodia Gordonii is as such a seed that contains very effective molecules which helps in suppressing your appetite. And for this reason you will not feel like eating again and again. It is not false to say that as the demand of this particular product is increasing day by day the supply of pure Hoodia product is decreasing in the same ratio. The remarkable diet offers to live on well-balanced diet meals and burning the unwanted extra calories. A lot of low fat and low calorie recipes are also available for losing weight.

Hoodia is a particular species of plant out of 13 species which is mainly found in the Kalahari Desert. It is renowned for suppressing bad urges of eating food. Also this is a product which is many times stronger than glucose and will make you feel completely filled with food even if you are not. What is most of times overlooked is that the same and more long lasting results for a flat belly can be achieved by following a healthy but strict diet for flat stomach.

Does Hoodia Really Work Safely for Achieving Weight Loss?

Keep in mind that if hoodia is affecting your natural hunger signals then it becomes tough to get into foods that you need- those which helps in losing body fat while keeping muscle tissues intact. If you use hoodia for long period, you won’t get right nutrients that are required for the healthy functioning of your body. Therefore if we talk little bluntly we can conclude that regular use of hoodia for fat loss can put you into a very dangerous situation.

Secondly you should keep in mind that unique hoodia is not a thoroughly tested product and thus cannot be regarded as safe. Taking high quantity of it can damage you metabolism and cause thyroid related problems in your future. So if you want flat abs and fat loss, then it’s better to also depend upon healthy alternatives so that you do not deteriorate your health day by day. At the end, it can be concluded that hoodia diet pills are not at all a proper method for achieving flat abdominal area if you are just relying on these.

But it is for sure that if you try Hoodia for small time together with other healthy habits such as diets, exercises, etc. it can affect wonderfully without showing you any side effects at all. What you need is diet that supplies all the nutrients to your body but at the same time helps in fat loss in addition to Hoodia so that it works safely on your body.

As per the reviews online there are so many Hoodia diet pills in the market that have shocking claims and shocking results. If you have been shopping around for hoodia, you must have seen manufacturers that scream claims such as, “lose 10 pounds in 7 days,” or “lose weight easily” and their capsules won’t even contain enough hoodia gordonii that can help you lose weight.

To get flat tummy, you know that you should need 2000 to 3000mg of hoodia gordonii on daily basis but if you purchase diet pills that contain only 400-750mg of hoodia capsule then it would be of no benefit and a total waste of your time and money. Where To Get Genuine and Original Hoodia Pills Online?

It is sad to say that current supply of pure and unique hoodia is reducing day by day; therefore it has become really difficult to find 100% pure hoodia anywhere. The FDA does not regulate the real hoodia supply. This is why many people end up buying fake hoodia from local health stores or online websites.

There are number of websites and stores that are selling this product in various forms to suit the need of every individual on this earth who are struggling every minute to get a flat tummy.

But not all companies are genuine and reliable. Original and genuine Hoodia only controls your appetite very effectively and at the end of day you will eat much less than you usually do when you consume this appetite suppressant.

As per our past records and consumer reviews online, we can say that buying Hoodia at sites such as Amazon.com is a great idea. They sell range of different products which are original and genuine. You can check and compare for the best products with the best consumer reviews to decide which works for you.



Biopiracy: Patenting the Public Good

(The European Parliament Web Team)

It is a leafless plant that smells like rotten meat, but that was not why the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was interested in it. The hoodia gordonnii had been used for centuries by the San people in Southern Africa to suppress appetite on long hunting trips. In 1996 the company patented the ingredient in hoodia responsible for suppressing appetite. However, following protests about ignoring the San people, CSIR cut a deal in 2002, entitling them to a percentage of the profits of products containing the ingredient.

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly relying on traditional knowledge to help identify plants with medicinal properties, which they then research to create new products. Unfortunately, local communities do not always benefit. This is sometimes referred to biopiracy: the industrial practice of privatising and patenting products based on the traditional knowledge or genetic resources of indigenous people without authorisation or compensation.

It’s about more than not sharing in the benefits. It can also make it more difficult for indigenous people to make use of the resources they have been using for generations. For example, the patent-holder of the Enola bean - a variety of Mexican yellow bean - sued many importers of Mexican yellow beans, even though their beans were a different variety and only their colour was similar, This led to export sales dropping by more than 90% and affecting 22,000 farmers. Although the patent was later revoked, much damage had been done.

This is the paradox of biopiracy. The development of new medicine and other products on the basis of existing genetic resources has the potential to benefit everyone, but in practice often leaves the local communities who alerted companies to the plants’ usefulness worse off.

French Green MEP Catherine Grèze wants to do something about it. On 6 December the development committee will vote on her report on the development aspects of intellectual property rights on genetic resources: the impact on poverty reduction in developing countries. In the report, she looks at the problems and proposes solutions.

There is no doubt that traditional knowledge is vital. It does not always lead to useful new products - for example there is still no scientific proof that hoodia can suppress appetite - but by drawing on traditional knowledge, enterprises can significantly increase their chances of finding genetic resources with promising prospects. For example the rosy periwinkle was originally studied for tackling diabetes but is now used to treat cancer..

Current legislation does little to protect traditional knowledge. Companies can patent the composition and process that arise from the research and development inspired by traditional knowledge, but as traditional knowledge has been passed on for generations it can’t be given protection in the form of a patent.

Ms Grèze wants additional legislative support for traditional knowledge. When applying for patents in Europe, firms should reveal the origin of any genetic resources and if traditional knowledge was used. They should also indicate if they have informed consent from the competent authorities and provide evidence of fair and equitable benefit sharing.

In the case of the San people, their share of the profits of the sales of drugs derived from hoodia is administered by a trust, which aims to use the money to support education , fund community projects and buy ancestral land that had been taken from them. It shows how an agreement can benefit the local community.

But ultimately, it should leave everyone better off. If indigenous people share in the benefits, they are more likely to come forward with their knowledge and more useful products can be developed.


Sharing the Secrets of the Hoodia: San to Reap Financial Benefits of Traditional Knowledge

By Wyatt Buchanan

A new exhibition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers seeks to remind visitors that while modern medicine often appears as pills in plastic bottles, the cures for many of our ailments come not from a laboratory but from the ground.

The show, which runs through mid-October, is called "Nature's Pharmacy: The Healing Power of Plants," and is the conservatory's second major exhibit since it reopened in Golden Gate Park in 2003. On display are plants from four continents that have profound medical uses.

"The products of tropical plants for most people in the temperate zone come from Safeway or some other store," said Scot Medbury, director of the conservatory.

Some of those plants include quinine -- famous for treating and preventing malaria -- and curare, which was used as potent arrow poison but also is an essential anesthetic for open-heart surgery.

One-quarter of the 500 million prescriptions that doctors in the United States write every year are for drugs that started as plants, according to the conservatory's research. Herbal medicines were a $60 billion industry worldwide in 2000.

The show is set up to look like an open-air market, with the plants grouped by continent. Overhead speakers play a soundtrack of a bustling marketplace, while different smells are pumped in, including coffee from South America and curry spices from Asia. North America and Africa are the other continents represented.

Along with the medicinal value of plants, the exhibit emphasizes the need for conservation of places where the plants grow.

"If you don't know what is out there and you destroy it, you don't know what you've lost," said Jim Henrich, curator of horticulture and exhibitions for the conservatory.

The destruction of jungles and other habitats in places such as the Amazon River basin in South America is the biggest threat to losing plants before botanists can identify whether they have medicinal value, Medbury said. Only 20 percent of the 250,000 identified plant species have been studied for medical value, according to the exhibit.

One display features the Pacific yew tree, which grows from British Columbia to California. In the early 1980s, botanists discovered that the tree's bark had medicinal value in fighting breast cancer, and the bark has been used in the popular drug Taxol.

Ironically, the discovery of its medical properties led to a major harvesting of the Pacific yew. Botanists working to identify plants with medical value hope that by isolating the chemicals that help treat diseases, they can contribute to the creation of synthetic versions in a lab.

The conservatory avoided plants that could stir too much controversy, such as the coca plant, from which cocaine -- along with legal drugs such as novocaine -- is derived.

"If we had those, we thought the story would get away from us and we would never get it back," Medbury said.

There are a few nonmedical plants, too, such as the ficus religiosa, under which Buddha was sitting when he received enlightenment.

"It's not medicinal, but it's spiritual," Henrich said.

A cactus called Hoodia featured in the Africa section was traditionally used as an appetite suppressant for tribal hunters. Now it is being studied as a possible weight loss medicine.

The poisonous Calabar bean, which is used to treat glaucoma, also was used by tribes in Nigeria as a form of justice. Those accused of violating the local secret society's laws were forced to drink a poison made from the beans. If they lived, they were innocent.

Many of the plants came from the conservatory's collection; others were borrowed from institutions throughout the state.

Other plants will be added as their growing seasons allow.


Sharing the Secrets of the Hoodia: San to Reap Financial Benefits of Traditional Knowledge

(Cultural Survival)

A Landmark Agreement Recognizing the San’s Intellectual Property Rights

On March 24, 2003, a small group of people gathered in the Kalahari Desert of far northern South Africa to observe a momentous occasion. After years of negotiations and uncertainty, representatives of the San peoples of southern Africa joined representatives from South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to celebrate the signing of a benefit-sharing agreement for a drug being developed from a traditional mainstay of the San diet – the seemingly humble Hoodia plant.

The Hoodia has been traditionally used by the San to treat stomach pain and eye infections, among other applications. But one property in particular drew the attention of CSIR researchers back in 1995: its qualities as an appetite suppressant. On long hunting trips through the desert, San would go without food for days, chewing on the stem of the Hoodia to suppress their hunger and thirst and boost their energy. Scientists isolated the compound, called P57, in the plant that curbs hunger, and obtained a patent for it in 1996.

The San, with the help of their longtime lawyer Roger Chennells, cried foul, pointing out that the Hoodia’s unique properties were the unique traditional – and communal – knowledge of the San, passed down for centuries. Seeking acknowledgement of this fact, and of the collective ownership of this knowledge by the broader San community, they sued in 2000, beginning a long process of negotiation with CSIR that only recently ended with the celebration in the Kalahari.

“The San in the region are very pleased and proud of the achievements reached so far concerning the Hoodia negotiations,” Joram |Useb told Cultural Survival. Mr. |Useb is a regional co-ordinator for the Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), the umbrella organization for many San communities throughout the broader region. The San, through WIMSA, gave a mandate to the South African San Council to negotiate on their behalf, he reports.

Through the concerted efforts of the Council, and Mr. Chennells, the San secured eight percent of milestone payments to be made by CSIR’s licensee, Phytopharm, as the drug is in clinical development over the next three to four years. (It has been an uphill battle – Phytopharm’s chief executive claimed that the San were initially excluded consultations because he didn’t know they still existed. The San number over 100,000 people living in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.) Under the agreement, the San stand to receive six percent of all royalties when the drug reaches the market. The money will be placed in a trust administered by representatives of the regional San Councils, WIMSA and CSIR. A payment of $32,000 has already been made, and the San have big plans for the windfall.

According to Mr. |Useb, WIMSA’s Annual General Assembly has discussed a range of options for using the money, with particular emphasis on bolstering education, financing San organizations, and the purchase of ancestral lands that have been taken from the San. The San plan to invest the money, and only tap into the interest generated to fund community projects. Another anticipated use is to cover legal costs incurred from cases brought by the San for human rights or other violations committed against them. There are also plans to share money from the trust with various San organizations, to sustain their programs in Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana.

For years, noted Kxao Moses ‡Oma at the celebration of the agreement on March 24, “the San culture – including our traditional knowledge – has been put to use by external parties for multiple purposes, with little or no benefit accruing to the San . . . The international interest that the agreement between the San and the CSIR has aroused has helped the San umbrella body, WIMSA, to raise awareness of the need to protect and control San intellectual property.”

Now the San hope for a brighter future, with job training, education programs and a whole range of new possibilities that could be funded by the revenue they receive from the sales of any drug to come from the Hoodia. The agreement has heartened the broader community of the world’s indigenous peoples and advocates, as well, as it promises to set an important precedent for the negotiation of benefit-sharing arrangements from drugs and other products that spring forth from the deep and precious well of traditional knowledge.

As Mr. Chennells observed in CSIR’s press release, “This groundbreaking benefit-sharing agreement between a local research council and the San represents enormous potential for future bioprospecting successes based on the San's extensive knowledge of the traditional uses of indigenous plants of the area. We are optimistic that this case will serve as a sound foundation for future collaboration, not only for the San but also for other holders of traditional knowledge.”


African crop entices dieters, farmers and smugglers

By Robyn Dixon (Los Angeles Times)

Mariental, Namibia -- When fully grown, the plant resembles something from "The Day of the Triffids" or some other science-fiction creation: a squat succulent with thick, spiky arms, purple fleshy petals and seedpods like rhino horns.

Hoodia gordonii is no beauty, but this humble plant is Africa's latest cash crop, priced almost like a narcotic at $40 an ounce. The plant, which grows wild in the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa, was once used by indigenous tribes to suppress hunger and thirst when hunting. Now it's such a darling of the international dieting industry that googling the word calls up millions of responses.

The resulting demand is so hot, wild supplies have been severely compromised, smuggling is rife, and farmers in southern Africa are trying to get in on the game.

"You start doing the sums; it's too good to be true. You want to throw your calculator away. It's an impossible phenomenon," hoodia farmer Dougal Bassingthwaighte said.

With international giant Unilever licensed to commercialize hoodia and international demand far outstripping supply, there's a mad race on to get plants to the market.

Bassingthwaighte, 65, who is farming hoodia with his son, Kirk, has 130,000 seedlings being planted out from his nursery, where they begin as tiny green sprouts, to his fields. In about two years, when he plans to harvest them, each is likely to weigh about four pounds. He hopes to have a million plants next year.

But the explosion of interest has not only put enormous pressure on the rare plant -- listed as an endangered species by international treaty -- it also puts intense pressure on an embryonic market that could be a boon for Africans if it could grow at a natural and sustainable pace.

Sadly, the craze for hoodia brings out the worst in people. Tiny as it is, the industry is rife with fierce competitive secrecy, quack products and illegal harvesting. Next, authorities in crime-ridden South Africa fear, comes the inevitable interest of organized gangsters.

Whether hoodia works as a diet aid has not been scientifically proved. Pills and capsules claiming to contain hoodia are widely available in the United States online and at stores that sell herbal supplements. Such products are largely exempt from U.S. government regulations that require drugs to be tested for safety and effectiveness before being sold.

But Bassingthwaighte says he has no doubt.

"I grew up with it. I actually ate it as a kid. I know the stuff works," he said. As a farm boy, he often walked or rode in the heat to other farms. "And people said, 'Eat this. It will take away your hunger and thirst.' And it did."

Back then, it never occurred to anyone to farm the plant.

Three types contain the active ingredient P57: hoodia gordonii, the most common, which has a bitter taste; the similar-looking hoodia currorii; and hoodia officinalis, a smaller and rarer plant, preferred by indigenous Namibian tribes because it tastes sweeter. Bassingthwaighte sees the last as having potential as an organically farmed salad vegetable.

South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research isolated and identified P57 and patented it in 1996, later licensing British firm Phytofarm to develop and commercialize it. The council argues that anyone who sells hoodia as a weight-reduction product outside that license would infringe on the patent.

In 1998, Pfizer signed a deal to develop the product but withdrew in 2003; a year later, Unilever entered a licensing deal with Phytofarm. Under legal pressure from lawyers representing the San tribesmen, Phytofarm later signed a royalty deal with them.

South Africa is the only African country exporting hoodia legally. Paul Gildenhuys of the Western Cape Conservation Authority said the amount of hoodia exported to Europe and America under permit from that province more than doubled in the past year from 22 tons to 49, raising suspicions that significant smuggling was going on. He said there were reports of hoodia flowing through Western Cape province from other parts of South Africa or other countries.

"The problem with the industry is that people are all trying to get their part of the cake," he said. "They actually try to guard their information jealously. And a lot of people try to run each other down. They will say, 'Don't buy anything from Mr X because he's a smuggler. Buy from me.' But there's nothing to prove that it's true."

To the northwest, in Namibia, the growing demand has led to widespread smuggling that has endangered wild plants.

"This smuggling is a huge concern because it's undermining the whole industry," Bassingthwaighte said. "They were coming across and smuggling hoodia before we woke up to it. When our local indigenous people realized this thing was of value, they started ripping the plants up in the wild."

Some in Namibia hope that if the market is brought under control, the hoodia craze could benefit the country's poor. Others fear that commercial farmers and giants such as Unilever could clean up while poor communities are paid a pittance for manual labor on hoodia farms.

"We do see it as a very real opportunity to give a source of income to some of the poorest people in Namibia," said Steve Carr, coordinator of a succulent cultivation project being carried out by Namibia's National Botanical Research Institute, which is part of a working group helping indigenous people farm hoodia.

"It's an irony," he said. "It could be a way for people who feel they are overweight to help people who face a daily struggle to put something in their stomachs."

But Carr said the market was being damaged by the many products on the U.S. market that were not pure hoodia.

"We're concerned that the initiative to provide an income to some of the poorest, marginalized groups could be undermined before it even gets off the ground," he said.

Carr said he believes the high prices in the market are unsustainable and will come down if the market develops in a sustainable way.

"We don't have an inherent concern about high prices. What we're concerned about is high prices being driven by people who are operating illegally and who don't give a damn for conservation of the plant," he said. "We do think there's a bubble and that the price will drop and that people who show they have a high-quality product will get a long-term benefit."

Bassingthwaighte set up the Namibia Hoodia Growers' Association to protect farmers' interests and get other farmers on board, to try to meet public demand with a quality product before the hoodia craze evaporates.

Hoodia seeds germinate easily. But then comes the tricky part: keeping them alive, organically, with no pesticides or sprays.

"No one can tell you why one grows beautifully and the other one doesn't," Bassingthwaighte's wife, Bobbie, said as the family wandered up and down inspecting the rows of tiny germinated seedlings. "It's like human beings."

Dougal Bassingthwaighte said: "It's very difficult to grow, period. Bacteria is a problem. Fungus is a problem. It seems vulnerable to all kinds of baboons, ground mice and lizards which eat it."

The seeds explode from their pods in a puff of delicate fluff. Small, hand-sewn socks are placed over the hornlike pods to capture the seeds, giving the plants an even more bizarre appearance, as if a colony of elves had hung out their stockings to dry. The socks are later emptied and each seed handpicked from the fluff.

Bassingthwaighte hopes to get an export license and believes he will be able to sell about 4,800 pounds of dried hoodia powder a year. So far, his operation is small. But gazing tenderly over his tiny seedlings, he dreams of a day when hoodia plants stretch in every direction toward the horizon, the strange plants tilting their horns at the bright Kalahari sky.


Hoodia gordonii for Weight Loss

(Super Skinny Me)

Hoodia gordonii (pronounced HOO-dee-ah) is a succulent cactus-like plant, which can be found in the Kalahari dessert in South Africa. Hoodia Gordonii is a natural product, proposed to possess appetite-suppressant properties, which in turn can support weight loss goals, by reducing food intake due to lack of hunger. It is not a manufactured drug that contains a number of synthetic ingredients. There are 13 types of Hoodia, but only Hoodia gordonii is thought to have this ability.

Hoodia gordonii is a species threatened with extinction and although not currently considered endangered but is at risk if trade is not controlled. Therefore, Hoodia is protected by South African and Namibian national conservation laws. It is listed under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and thus is illegal to export from Africa without a CITES certificate being issued by proper authorities.

In January 2008, the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (representative of botanic gardens in 120 countries) stated the following: “400 medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, from over-collection and deforestation, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease“.

HOW DOES HOODIA GORDONII WORK?

The active the ingredient in Hoodia gordonii is thought to be a substance called P57 and therefore responsible for its appetite-suppressant effect. Levels of sugar (glucose) in your blood help regulate your appetite. The higher your blood sugar, the lower your appetite. After eating, blood sugar rises and signals your brain that you are full. According to Phytopharm’s Dr Richard Dixey, P57 is about 10,000 times more active than glucose. This means that it signals your brain that you are full, although you have not eaten, thus fooling your body into thinking it is full, even when it is not, thus curbing the appetite.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR HOODIA?

Thus far, the science on Hoodia is sparse. It has not been conclusively proven that Hoodia works as an appetite-suppressant. There have been no peer-review (this is when a clinical trials scientific research papers are subjected to independent scrutiny by other qualified scientific experts) double-blind trials (trial in which neither doctor nor patient know whether they are giving/ receiving Hoodia or just a placebo). This is the gold standard in clinical trials, as they tend to give the most accurate results.

There have been smaller scale studies, some of which have suggested that it does have appetite- suppressant properties. A study carried out in the UK on obese patients by Phytopharm (the company holding the license for Hoodia), reported a statistically significant reduction in daily average calorie intake of volunteers, who were administered large doses of Hoodia.

Furthermore, a US patent has reported the appetite-suppressant properties of Hoodia, and described the isolation of a steroidal glycoside (P57), which reduced food intake in rodents.

HOODIA SIDE-EFFECTS?

There have been no widespread clinical trials, which have examined the safety of Hoodia, as a nutritional supplement. Although, reportedly the African tribesmen that chew Hoodia do not experience side-effects, one must remember that there are vast differences between population groups. It is unlikely that these tribesmen are taking blood pressure tablets or any other medications, for example.

• It is thought that Hoodia may possibly affect liver function, caused by components of Hoodia, other than the active ingredient P57.
• If Hoodia does affect liver function it may interact with medications a person is taking.
• People with diabetes should exercise caution when using Hoodia, since one of the suggested theories is that it exerts its effect is by interfering with the blood sugar feedback mechanisms of the body. Without proper feedback regulation, it may be possible for a person’s blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels, because Hoodia has tricked the brain into thinking that the blood sugar levels are sufficient.
• It is probably best for pregnant or nursing women, children and people suffering with liver or kidney disease, to refrain from using Hoodia, as its safety in these groups has not yet been established.
• Hoodia may also suppress thirst.
GUIDELINES FOR BUYING PURE HOODIA

Mike Adams from News Target, estimates that up to 80% of Hoodia products currently being purchased by consumers are contaminated with other ingredients or do not even contain H. gordonii. Furthermore, many products do not contain a high enough dose for H. gordonii to be effective.

Hoodia is scare, which is the reason there is such a high proportion of counterfeit and contaminated goods. All products containing Hoodia should have CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) certificates. This is a document required to sell H. gordonii and verify that it has been obtained through legal channels. Thus, the display of such a certificate by Hoodia resellers is one of the ways consumers can confirm the authenticity of the product. However, it has been reported that some products have counterfeit CITES certificates. However, a real CITES certificate will clearly show the name of the exporter and importer for the Hoodia, while a fake CITES certificate will generally have these blanked out. Thus, it is almost impossible to know if a Hoodia product contains pure Hoodia, unless an independent laboratory has tested it.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is currently working on a Hoodia Standard, which is thought to be available in late 2007, as a result of the scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission of the Hoodia industry, as well as the complaints by consumers of fraudulent Hoodia products being marketed.

Hoodia products are available in a variety of formats, including tablets, capsules, liquid, protein shakes, diet fruit bars, tea and coffee products.

Remember that no pill alone, will make you lose weight. Hoodia may accelerate the fat loss process of a weight loss program that involves exercise and a healthy diet, but is likely to be of little or no benefit if it is your only weight loss solution.


Facts about Hoodia Cactus

By Kathryn Whittaker

There at least twenty types of hoodia plants, but only the gordonii variety, with cactus-like spines, is succulent.

This hoodia plant has been used for centuries as a way of suppressing hunger and quenching thirst. But medical scientists believe that there's more to hoodia gordonii - in fact, they believe that it can actually solve the world's obesity problem. This has started the buzz on the weight-loss attributes of hoodia gordonii, perhaps as dietary supplement for weight loss.

Many testimonials from those who have taken hoodia diet pills have proven that the plant really works, suppressing the appetite, and it works wonders if you're fasting. Testimonies by some hoodia users claim they have gone without eating for 56 hours but still didn't feel hungry or thirsty. Powders made from the hoodia gordonii contain some fiber, organic material and antioxidants. One of the most important active substances is steroidal glycosides -- molecules that make the brain think that the stomach is full, a feeling that similar to having just eaten.

Hoodia gordonii controls calorie intake, thus resulting in weight loss. Scientific studies have shown that hoodia can suppress appetite, which helps in weight loss. The results of clinical and laboratory experiments show that both human and animals automatically control their food intake after taking hoodia. Obese individuals who have experimented with hoodia have lowered their calorie intake significantly. Just think of the effect on people who only need to lose a pound every three days.

Various health problems have been linked to obesity, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and insulin resistance. There are also diabetes-related cases affecting over 70 million Americans. The hoodia plant may actually help in controlling overeating and diabetes, as it has the ability to control appetite and promote weight loss.

There really is no questioning the effectiveness and the safeness of the hoodia plant - just ask the San Bushmen, who've been eating hoodia for the past couple of centuries. These plants have kept them alive during famines, and have help them to survive long hunting expeditions without eating any other food.


You Can't Help But Admire These Plants in the Kalahari Desert

(Buzzle)

The Kalahari desert, the sixth largest in the world, is home to some unusual species of flora and fauna. Here is a brief description of the major plants you will find in the Kalahari desert.

The word 'Kalahari' is derived from the Setswana (a language spoken in southern Africa) word kgala, meaning great thirst. The Kalahari desert covers the central part of southern Africa, and covers large areas of South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. It is surrounded by the Kalahari basin, and the only major river flowing through the area is the Okavango.

The terrain in the Kalahari is dotted with ancient lake beds, that have now run almost dry. This semi-arid desert is covered with red sand and lacks a permanent source of surface water. Rainfall is scanty, and parts of the desert are drained by the salt pans of Makgadikgadi and Etosha. In spite of harsh weather conditions, Kalahari desert exhibits a wide variety of plant and animal species. The vegetation mainly consists of dry grasses and shrubs, and a few species of Acacia and thorned trees, which have adapted well to the arid landscape. Described below in greater detail are the most commonly found plants in the Kalahari desert. Plants Found in the Kalahari Desert

Hoodia Gordonii

Sometimes referred to as Hoodia cactus, the actual name of the plant is Hoodia gordonii. Though it shares many similarities with cactus, it does not belong to the cactus family. Very well adapted to dry climate, this barbed succulent is leafless, and is widely used in southern Africa for its medicinal purposes. Pollination of flowers is usually carried out by flies, and its flowers have an unpleasant, decaying meat odor. The natives of the region, mainly the San Bushmen, make use of this plant to treat a variety of digestive and gastrointestinal problems and to suppress appetite and thirst.

Camel Thorn Tree

Belonging to the genus Acacia, camel thorn tree (Acacia erioloba) is endemic to southern Africa. This spiny tree can grow as high as 17 meters, and hence it's a favorite with giraffes, which are found abundantly in the Kalahari. With their long necks and specially adapted tongues and lips, they can easily reach up to and eat the succulent, fleshy leaves of the camel thorn, which other animals cannot. The sharp thorns of the tree prevent animals from over-grazing. Weaver birds build large over-sized nests in these trees, even as big as 2 meters. The tree also bears gray, kidney-shaped, seed-bearing pods, which are a staple diet for cattle. The pods are collected and the seeds are used commercially to feed livestock because of their high nutritional value. The seeds can also be used as a substitute for coffee beans, after crushing and roasting them. The dark reddish-brown wood of this tree also has many uses, being very strong and drought-resistant. It is used in constructing poles, fences, and houses, and it is also used as firewood. The root system is also well-developed and reaches deep into the earth.

Shepherd's Tree

Known locally as matoppie and witgatboom, shepherd's tree (Boscia albitrunca) can attain a length of 8 meters. This slow-growing tree is commonly found in the Bushveld and Lowveld regions of southern Africa, and thrives in the dry and salty, low-lying areas. The trunk is sturdy and white, and may have patches of gray or black bark. The wood is used in the preparation of kitchen utensils by the native people. The tree bears a dense evergreen foliage, with the leaves forming a big canopy over the top, with intertwining twigs and leaves. The leaves are thin, narrow, and stiff with a leathery texture, and taper towards the base. The veins of the leaf are quite indistinct, except for the midrib. They are a source of nutrition for antelopes, giraffes, and other animals, being very high in vitamin A and protein content. The shepherd's tree produces small, star-shaped yellow flowers, with a sweet scent, which are also a food source for animals. The tree also has round fruits, which turn yellow on ripening, and measure even less than an inch. It is used to treat patients who suffer from epilepsy. Like the camel thorn, the roots of this tree also reach deep into the ground. The root powder is considered edible and used to make coffee and porridge.

Horned Melon Tree

Known by various names like gemsbok cucumber, African horned cucumber, hedged gourd, and kiwano, the horned melon tree belongs to the cucumber and melon families. Native to southern Africa, this tree is famous for its fruit, the kiwano, which resembles a spiny, oval melon. The plant is an annual creeper and thrives in warm climates. A single creeper can produce several fruits, and these in turn act as support for the vine and tendrils to spread further. The leaves and stems have a layer of fuzz. The fruit is considered a delicacy, and can be eaten both raw and ripe, and is also used in cooking. Its taste is a blend of cucumber and banana. It is beneficial for health with a high content of fiber and vitamin C.

Tsamma Melon

Also known as citron melon, this plant is endemic to the Kalahari desert. It is used extensively as food by the tribes living in the desert, and as a source of water because of its high water content. The leaves of this plant are lobed and abrasive to touch. It bears single, large yellow flowers. The flesh of the citron melon is white and hard; and thus the fruit is often cooked prior to consumption.

The Kalahari desert has a diverse ecology. But plants like the Hoodia gordonii are threatened by illegal trade since there is ongoing research about its medicinal properties all over the world. The dry seasons see a rise in drawing water from the earth by boring deep underground holes, which adversely affects the plant life. These plants can survive in very specific conditions, and care must be taken to see that human actions do not disturb the delicate balance of nature so that the biological diversity of the desert is maintained, and continues to flourish.


Is Hoodia Cactus Really Benefit To Weight Loss

(Greens Plant)

The South African Hoodia Cactus is known by many different names in the Western world but the san Bushmen still call it by the name familiar to them, Xshoba or Xhooba. Besides using this Hoodia Gordonii for appetite and thirst suppressants the San Bushmen also used it to heal minor ailments and even infections. In the Western world the scientific label is Hoodia Gordonii. In reality the plant where Hoodia is derived from is actually a succulent but many people wrongly name this species of plants cactus rather than the correct name; succulent. This particular succulent or cactus-like plant only grows in the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa.

The African hoodia cactus is known by many names. You've undoubtedly heard about hoodia cactus extract by now as it has been covered by numerous major media sources, including the BBC, CBS, The Today Show, and much much more. If you are into herbs and natural cures, you've undoubtedly heard of the Hoodia Gordonii cactus, the latest natural diet discovery for suppressing the appetite. There are dozens of hoodia plant, but only the hoodia gordonii species harbors a seemingly magical active ingredient that tricks the brain into thinking its full and, therefore, assists with weight loss. Hoodia Gordonii is a spiny, bitter, and succulent aloe plant that resembles a cactus which grows in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa.

It is important to note that there are more than twenty different varieties of hoodia, but only hoodia gordonii is believed to contain the natural appetite suppressant. Involvement in the next anti-obesity wonder is believed to eventually make a boatload of money for the Africans that never ends, considering that companies are expected to shell out even more continued money to purchase Hoodia cactus. Now, having said all of that, here are some things to be aware of to get a better picture of the health risks of hoodia gordonii cactus.

There are certain health risks of hoodia gordonii cactus for diabetics because the active ingredient tricks the brain into thinking you're full. However, because obesity is such a large and growing threat in the Western world it was logically concluded that if people could be made to consume less calories, the hoodia gordonii plant could be a boon to the weight loss dreams of millions of people.


Hoodia

By Annette McDermott (Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN)

Hoodia is a succulent, flowering, cactus-like plant that grows in the arid desert areas of South Africa. It's becoming known for being an appetite suppressant and potential natural weight loss remedy. If you're thinking about trying hoodia, here's what you need to know.

History

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) states that hoodia first earned its reputation as an appetite inhibitor when Kalahari Desert Bushmen used hoodia stems to lessen thirst and ease hunger while hunting for long periods of time. Although limited research has been done on hoodia since the 1960s, North American interest gained huge momentum in 2004 when CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl visited the Kalahari desert to try hoodia for herself. She describe hoodia as "a little cucumbery in texture." Stahl had no urge to drink or eat for the remainder of the day and reported that she believed it was due to the hoodia she'd consumed. Uses and Research

Hoodia is used exclusively as an appetite and thirst suppressant and weight loss supplement. Although there are at least 13 species of hoodia, hoodia gordonii is the only species identified to date that contains the ingredient P57, a glycoside believed to suppress appetite.

Encouraging Study Results

While many are skeptical about hoodia's benefits, what little research has been performed demands attention. According to the Global Healing Center (GHC), an unpublished study on seven overweight people showed impressive results. Each person took two 500mg hoodia capsules with a balanced breakfast daily for 28 days. Most participants experienced a reduced appetite and an average 3.3 percent reduction in body weight. These results were achieved with no negative side effects. This is important because weight loss supplements are notorious for having uncomfortable and potentially dangerous side effects such as rapid heart rate, arrhythmia and insomnia.

GHC cites another study performed on rats which determined P57 may stimulate the hypothalamus to signal the body is full. Side Effects and Interactions

Based on its extensive use by people living in the Kalahari desert, hoodia is believed to be safe. However, because so few studies have been performed on humans, it's hard to identify potential side effects with certainty. Known human and rat studies have shown no significant side effects to date, but Drugs.com states that you should not take hoodia if any of the following apply:

• You have diabetes or take drugs to control blood sugar levels.
• You have heart problems or you take heart medication.
• You have bleeding or blood clotting disorder or you take blood thinners (such as warfarin, aspirin or heparin) or medications to increase the clotting of blood.
• You have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
Warnings

Another concern about hoodia products is the actual amount of hoodia they contain. The University of Maryland Medical Center's website suggests hoodia supplements may contain little or no hoodia whatsoever. They may also contain other ingredients. For this reason, they do not recommend using hoodia to lose weight.

In 2011, the FDA warned consumers that the "P57 Hoodia" supplement marketed by Huikng Pharmaceutical contained sibutramine, a controlled substance. Sibutramine was removed from the U.S. in 2010 after it was found to raise blood pressure and pulse in some people.

In addition, because the efficacy and safety of hoodia hasn't been conclusively established, pregnant or breast feeding women, children, and people with liver disease or kidney disease should avoid hoodia.

How to Buy

If you and your physician determine you should try hoodia, it's really important that you find a high quality source. Because plant supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, it can be difficult to determine their quality and, as mentioned previously, some formulations may add dangerous ingredients.

When buying hoodia, here are some things to look for:

• Hoodia has been identified as an endangered species so it's important to only buy CITES certified hoodia.
• Look for products that specifically contain hoodia gordonii, the form of hoodia believed to help suppress appetite.
• Purchase only 100 percent pure hoodia and avoid added fillers and other ingredients, especially if you're unfamiliar with them.

Unfortunately, while the Internet is deluged with hoodia products, very few meet the above criteria. Check with your local natural health store to take a close look at product labels or consider these sellers:

• Powerslim Hoodia sells all natural, CITES certified hoodia gordonii. You can purchase a bottle of 60 capsules for $39.95 plus shipping. The price per bottle drops for each additional bottle purchased.
• Optimum Hoodia is also pure hoodia gordonii and CITES certified. A bottle of 90 sustained release tablets is $44.95 plus shipping. They also offer hoodia in powder, extract and mist forms.
A Cautiously Optimistic Approach to Weight Loss

Millions of people struggle with weight loss. Since being overweight contributes to serious illness such as heart disease and diabetes, finding a natural weight loss solution that has limited side effects is an extremely exciting prospect.

Preliminary research suggests there are many reasons to be excited about hoodia. However, the lack of hoodia research and the deluge of low quality products in the marketplace are reasons enough to proceed with caution. If you feel hoodia is right for you, discuss its pros and cons with your doctor.


Export magic from the bone-dry Kalahari Desert

(New Era)

WINDHOEK – What started some 16 years ago as a small-scale project with the humble Hoodia plant could by early next year blossom into an international export industry, providing jobs for hundreds of unemployed residents of the sleepy hollow of Hoachanas, and establish Namibia as a vital supplier of medicinal and cosmetic products made from indigenous plants.

Spearheading this ambitious project with the assistance of the University of Namibia’s Science Department and the marketing skills of a close friend, is Molly Kaderi of Farm Vredelus in the Hardap Region. Kaderi has also brought on board a pharmaceutical research giant from Germany to ensure the unique Namibian products hit the international market by 2015.

When Kaderi and her partner John Bassinghwaithe arrived at Vredelus in 1995, they were fascinated to learn that the San and Nama (Khoi) people have been using the Hoodia (known as !Khoba by the Nama people) and other plants on their long hunter-gathering trips for various purposes, amongst which are their medicinal qualities and appetite and thirst supressing properties.


Witnessing the struggle of cattle and sheep farmers in that harsh, arid area, she started experimenting with plants as she realised the plants can easily survive in the Kalahari on the huge underwater reservoirs and hence are not dependent on rain.

“In fact, these plants don’t like water. They thrive in stressful conditions, yet some of them have proven to be excellent stress relievers and are in high demand in America and Europe – our main export markets,” Kaderi tells New Era.

She says she has also witnessed the degradation of the Hoachanas community of some 3 000 people of which 99 percent are unemployed. “I am surrounded by nine resettlement farms on which owners struggle to keep their heads above water with livestock farming in extreme conditions, and the poverty in Hoachanas is just unbearable where alcohol rules amongst the men and husbands, and women and wives suffer in silence,” she says.

“I and my marketing partner, Susanne Hoff, want to turn this around by providing jobs and a steady and reliable income for these people. The plants are there, we will train the people to grow them, and we have established the export business over the years. We will buy their harvests and provide them with a decent life in this forgotten area,” Kaderi says.

“It is now time to go big and change the face of the Kalahari landscape for ever,” she says with the same confidence that has seen her achieving remarkable things in the community.

“You only need a fraction of the space to get the same income as from cattle in that area. Hence, it would be the ideal crop for all resettlement farmers in the area, so that they can make a livelihood from the allocated piece of land, which is arguably too small for livestock farming,” she notes.

Starting with Hoodia and being the chairman of the Hoodia Planters Association, Kaderi has been producing and exporting various products from her medicinal plants, which are all indigenous to Southern Africa.

The two-women team are in the process of starting a venture with the University of Namibia, which will conduct test planting and carry out various chemical tests on the plants to underpin their medicinal qualities.

“This is just the start of much bigger things. It is our aim and vision to start a whole industry with this. With the assistance of a German company, we also have had some plant material tested and in about a year from now we will hopefully have the first cosmetic series based on this plant in the market.

“We don’t need rainwater, we don’t need irrigation, we need some local funding to supply the infrastructure of the new producing facilities. We need willing and able people and we need wheelbarrows and shovels. We will supply the seeds and the income. It’s as simple as that,” Kaderi says.

Farm Vredelus specialises in medicinal plants, which are grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers in their natural environment. Vredelus is a fully certified exporter by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and is registered with the US’s Food and Drug Administration.


Natural health with Megan Sheppard: Weight loss

By Megan Sheppard

Q. A few years back, you mentioned a supplement that you found very effective for weight-loss.

You said it was almost like a ‘miracle’ cure as one loses weight so effectively when using it (together with appropriate food intake, of course).

What is the name of this supplement, and where can I buy it? I find it extremely difficult to lose weight.

A. There are certainly shelves full of so-called miracle pills for weight loss, but as you will no doubt be aware, most of these supplements and gimmicks do fall short — or worse, they result in weight gain. advertisement

The one weight loss supplement that has consistently performed well in the health world is CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). CLA is an essential fatty acid supplement that works by reducing body fat and improving muscle tone at the same time.

When taken for a minimum of three months, CLA supplementation has been shown to reduce body fat by an average of 20%.

There are a couple of other supplements which have the scientific backing to show that they do help with weight loss, however the difficult part is sourcing a reliable product which actually contains the pure herbs in the specified doses. The top two are hoodia gordonii and African mango seed extract.

Hoodia takes five to seven years to mature and provide the appetite suppressant effect, so it is often illegally harvested. The African government has limited the amount available for export, which makes licensed supplies expensive and difficult to source.

Many unlicensed products contain little or no Hoodia gordonii and instead are loaded with stimulants.

African mango seed extract (irvingia gabonensis) works by increasing your metabolism and reducing the body’s resistance to leptin, a hormone linked to metabolic rate, body temperature maintenance, fat burning, and appetite control.

It also improves insulin sensitivity. A double-blind, placeo-controlled study of irvingia gabonensis seed extract showed an average weight loss of 10 pounds for those taking this supplement, while those taking a placebo did not lose any weight.

As you mention, there are no miracle cures that allow us to lose weight without also addressing our lifestyle choices.

A simple food combining technique of choosing either proteins with vegetables or vegetables with starchy carbohydrates and avoiding proteins and starchy carbohydrates at the same meal is surprisingly effective.

Another food combining guideline that works well is to only eat fruit on an empty stomach — first thing in the morning is easiest, and avoid combining it with dairy or cereal products.

Many people seriously restrict their calories in order to drop weight, but this tends to have the opposite effect where the body goes into starvation mode and holds on to the calories as fat for long-term energy storage.

It is important to keep your metabolism fired up — there are many online calculators to help you work out your optimal calorie/kilojoule intake based on your age, measurements etc.

Avoiding food after 7pm is probably one of the simplest ways to lose weight. People who are continually hungry in the evenings might need to increase their calorie intake during the day.

Any foods and drinks that are labelled as fat-free, sugar-free, or diet should most likely be avoided since these are typically highly-processed and full of chemicals that actually cause the body to gain weight.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is widely available through sports and body-building suppliers, such as www.bulkpowders.ie . African mango seed extract is available from most health stores.

Pure and ethically-sourced Hoodia gordonii is a little more difficult to track down; unfortunately I am unable to recommend a reliable supplier at this point.


Health Benefits of Hoodia Gordonii

(Organic Facts)

Hoodia Gordonii is a true gift from nature that promotes weight loss. Being overweight and obese, as well as having diabetes and related problems, has taken over the world like a disastrous epidemic over the last few decades and people are ready to do just about anything to get rid of these problems. This started an endless search for natural products, synthetic medicines, and diet plans that could help people lose weight. It is one of the most promising finds in this endless search.

Over the last few years, the demand for Hoodia and its products has risen surprisingly. It may not be a well known name in many Asian and African countries, because obesity has not been such a big problem here due to food habits and lifestyle. However, the scenario is changing and obesity is spreading its roots in these places too, but it is a major issue in European and American countries.

Let’s explore what it is, its available forms, its uses, and why it is so popular, so that before you try some Hoodia product, you are well aware of all the information. It is always safer to be informed.

Although a lot of information on it is available on the Internet, let me give a few more facts and important details.

What is Hoodia Gordonii?

It is a succulent, fleshy cactus-like plant of the Asclepiad family, which is an original inhabitant of the Kalahari desert in Africa. Among its many varieties, Hoodia Gordonii is the most popular because its extracts suppress hunger and effectively helps reduce weight and fat percentage. It is available on the market in many forms, including pills, capsules, juice, complexes, chews, diet supplements, and even lollipops.

Unprocessed Hoodia may show some side effects such as dry mouth and liver problems. Once growing naturally and abundantly in Africa, wild Hoodia Gordonii has now became a rare sight there because of over exploitation, due to the discovery of its appetite suppressing properties. Many think that it is a variety of Cactus, but if I tell them that the well-known, much heard of, and even more misunderstood Cactus Gordonii Hoodia is not a Cactus at all, they will be taken aback. Believe me, I am absolutely right. Just like “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter”, all the plants with spongy and fleshy leaves that bear thorns are not cacti. It forms an integral component of many weight loss drugs, due to its appetite suppressing properties.

Hoodia Availability in the Market

Most of the Hoodia available in the market is not the natural African Gordonii Hoodia, but rather the commercially grown Hoodia from other parts of the world. Does that make any difference? Apparently not! Because their properties remain almost the same, except in the commercially grown ones, you may find some traces of artificial fertilizers. If you don’t want that, make sure that you buy genuine African Hoodia Gordonii.

Hoodia as an Appetite Suppressant

Hoodia is today’s answer for the millions across the world who want to shed some pounds off their bodies and look slimmer. How does it do this? Its chemical composition resembles that of Glucose or acts as Pseudo-Glucose, but is far more powerful than glucose in its glucose-like behavior. They send the brain chemical signals that the stomach is full and that the body does not want any more food. When absorbed in the body, the body thinks that it has consumed some very high-energy giving food (which is not so) and gives the brain a chemical message with that information. The brain, in turn, immediately rings the body, giving instructions to stop eating. This kills the appetite and the body is kept unfed so it uses its own stores of fat to meet its energy requirements. What is the result? No energy consumed under the facade of high-energy food. What about body’s fat store? It is burnt, thereby helping you lose weight.

Products with Hoodia Gordonii

Due to its overwhelming demand, many companies and laboratories came up with pills, capsules, supplements, and other products that contain Hoodia Gordonii. Let’s learn more about these products and their benefits.

• Hoodia Tea: Hoodia Tea is taking the world by storm these days as one of the most dependable and favoured Hoodia-based products. It really works fast and no adverse effects have been seen thus far. It is a shredded and dried form of the Hoodia plant that can be consumed like tea by brewing it in warm water. Most of the Hoodia Teas available in market are seldom pure Hoodia, since they come as blends of Hoodia with Green Tea and other herbs.

• Hoodia Supplements: These supplements are the dietary supplements that mainly contain Hoodia, along with other ingredients, and are used for losing weight. These Supplements, because of their Hoodia content, give the feeling of a full stomach and thus result in a loss of appetite. This in turn results in a lower intake of food, lower energy intake, utilization of the fat stored in the body and the subsequent loss of weight. Unlike many other weight-loss diet supplements, it is safer (studies are still going on to explore possibilities of threats to the liver) in the sense that it does not contain artificial stimulants.

• Hoodia Complex: First of all, it is nothing like some inferiority/superiority complex growing in you for not using or using Hoodia. Hoodia Complex is a medical preparation or composition that includes Hoodia along with other herbs and is meant to suppress your hunger or appetite while also revitalizing you by contributing some antioxidants to your body. Apart from Hoodia extract, it contains some vitamins, a few minerals, extracts of ingredients like Green Tea, St. John’s Wort, Cocoa seeds, Garcinia Fruit, Gymnema leaf and components like sorbitol and stearic acid. The composition of Hoodia Complex may vary according to the manufacturers and the above ingredients should not be considered as strictly standard, although they more or less remain the same.

• Hoodia Pops: Have you ever thought of licking a lollipop all the time and still losing weight? I assume that many of you haven’t, unless you have heard of Hoodia Pops! They are lollipops containing Hoodia extract with some other herbal extracts, which are flavored and artificially sweetened. These Hoodia Pops have become very popular with celebrities these days, not merely because they help lose weight, but rather due to the fact that they are handy, state of the art, and new. These pops help you lose weight in two ways. First, they help you lose weight due to the presence of Hoodia in them that kills your appetite and second, they keep your mouth engaged so you aren’t thinking about eating. Having an oral fixation can often lead to overeating.

• Hoodia Dex-L10 Gordonii: Hoodia is in high demand across the world because it is really helping people out with losing weight. Because of this, Delmar Laboratories, Nutralab Inc. came up with a product range named Hoodia Gordonii Dex, more precisely, Hoodia Dex-L10. A whole range of dietary supplements that function as appetite suppressants are sold under this series name. These products include Hoodia Dex-L10 Basic Diet Pills, Hoodia Dex-L10 Complete (a mixture of Hoodia with some herbs) and Hoodia Dex-L10 Gordonii Soft Chews, the latest product released. As the name suggests, the chief ingredient of these products is the extract of the plant Hoodia Gordonii, a succulent plant of the Asclepiad family, which is native to the Kalahari Desert of Africa and is known for its appetite suppressing properties.

• Hoodia 57: Hoodia 57 is yet another Hoodia Gordonii-based appetite suppressant drug. It is one of the latest entries in the world of Hoodia-based drugs and is believed to be the most powerful among them, as well as the safest. Hoodia is otherwise very safe except for dry mouth in some cases where you feel thirsty (you cannot call this adverse, since it is doesn’t harm the body; it actually stimulates you to drink water, which is good). Also, some studies have shown some effects on the liver. Hoodia 57 overcomes even that. No wonder that it is one of the most popular weight-loss drugs among the celebrities and stars that gives them that dream size – zero. Side Effects of Hoodia Gordonii

Almost ninety percent of Hoodia Gordonii users are of the belief that it has no side effects at all on the body, which is true to some extent, but not absolutely. There are two reasons behind this. The first one is that its side effects do not show up or are not detected quickly, unlike Caffeine in Green Tea and other stimulants found in other appetite suppressants. Second, even if some people know about it, they tend to ignore it, and are just overwhelmed by the weight reducing effects of Hoodia and the fact that it is in such high fashion today. You take it and you fall in the same line with Britney Spears! But let me tell you, it does have side effects. The most common is a sticky, dry mouth, followed by some suspected damage to liver in the long run and lastly, the risk of seriously depriving the body of energy. These side effects are due to some of its constituents, which are difficult to remove while processing. Still, since Hoodia products are herbal and most of its preparations do not contain harmful synthetic chemicals or stimulants, they are safer than most of the weight loss drugs available in the market that put stress on the heart and metabolism.

Conclusion: Hoodia Gordonii may be one of the most effective natural products for weight loss, but it is not totally safe. So, indiscriminate and very long-term use should be avoided. Furthermore, one should not depend completely on it for losing weight; rather, you should use them in accordance with daily exercise and workouts. So, use it with caution and only when you truly feel that you need it!


Cactus diet deal for Phytopharm

(BBC News)

A slimming aid made from a southern African cactus is set to be developed by UK firm Phytopharm and Unilever.

Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever will help the pharmaceutical firm develop the snacks containing Hoodia extract.

Phytopharm shares jumped 10.7% on the news, with analysts saying sales of $600m (£309m) a year were possible.

The plant, licensed to Phytopharm in 1997, has been used for thousands of years by the Sans bushmen of the Kalahari desert to stave off hunger.

Studies have reportedly shown the plant curbs appetite instead of reducing calorific intake like many existing products.

New collaboration

Phytopharm will receive an initial fee of £6.5m from Unilever - out of a potential total of £21m - as well as future royalties on product sales.

Under the deal, production of the Hoodia cactus at Phytopharm's nursery in South Africa will also rise from eight million plants to potentially hundreds of millions, said Phytopharm chief executive Richard Dixey.

The firm had initially hoped to market a slimming drug from Hoodia with Pfizer. But the research collaboration came to an end in 2003.

Analysts said Unilever could launch the new products in 2007.

"This deal goes a long way to restoring the market faith in Phytopharm's pipeline after the Pfizer exit," said analyst Erling Refsum at Nomura.


Hoodia Dangers: How Dangerous Is Hoodia?

By Elizabeth Harrell

What You Should Know Before Buying Hoodia

Hoodia Gordonii made headlines as a major weight loss miracle drug, but how safe is it really? All of the major television networks have reported on it and it even received attention in Oprah’s magazine, although the stories of her reportedly using it to lose weight are well documented. Even though many companies are making significant profits off of hoodia product sales, it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Since it is sold as a dietary supplement, FDA approval is not required to sell the product in the United States. Use the following guide to learn about the dangers of this miracle weight loss drug as well as the differenet types of hoodia that are available.

What is Hoodia Gordonii?

Hoodia is a stem succulent, somewhat like a cactus, grown in South African desert regions. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that anthropologists noted hoodia being eaten by the San, or African bushmen. The San use hoodia for a variety of medicinal purposes, but most often, they chew it to avoid getting hungry and thirsty during extended hunting trips. There are twenty different species of hoodia, but only hoodia gordonii appears to have the active ingredient p57, which provides the effects of an appetite suppressant. The South African government gained a patent for p57 and licensed it to a pharmaceutical company, Phytopharm. Later, it was determined that hoodia was not economically feasible for mass production, particularly due to the inability to effectively grow it anywhere except the African desert.

Case Studies

In 2004, there were several case studies that examined the use of hoodia for weight loss and also noted possible negative side affects. Dr. David McLean of Brown University conducted one of the studies. He noted that hoodia use seems to have an effect on the part of the brain that controls appetite.

However, he only experimented on animals and noted that human results may be different due to different metabolisms. Two small human studies, one with seven participants and one with eighteen, appeared to demonstrate that the volunteers taking hoodia supplements dramatically decreased their caloric intake by as much as half. Tthe volunteers demonstrated no negative side effects in either study. Other than these minimal studies, there is little U.S. documentation of hoodia medical trials. Considering the African bushmen, they have using hoodia for centuries to prevent hunger pangs without obvious negative side affects. Definitely not a medical case study, it could be considered an informal anthropological case study.

Negative Side Effects

The only actual documented negative side effect of hoodia is thirst suppression that occurs along with the appetite suppression. The danger of thirst suppression is dehydration which is easily remedied by drinking 64 ounces of water each day. Other appetite suppressants often note increased heart rate and higher blood pressure. However, hoodia does not seem to cause these problems in the average user. The American Botanical Council, a non-profit research organization, notes that they have not received any negative reports from consumers concerning hoodia. Medical doctors express concern for the unknown possible effects of hoodia on a person who takes prescription medication, has a serious illness or is pregnant or nursing. It is recommended that children not use hoodia, as well.

Without case studies, the possible effects may be overlooked or not evident in the short term.

Other Health Concerns

As hoodia is a dietary supplement with the goal being weight loss, there are concerns about consumers abusing it. If a person has a history of mental health issue related to weight, such as bulimia or anorexia, this product could promote abusive weight loss. There isn’t any research available concerning abuse of hoodia or the long term effects of such abuse. However, too much weight loss can result in other health problems.

Types of Hoodia Products

There are a variety of hoodia products available to consumers. 1. Powder – the production of this form of hoodia involves grinding up the whole hoodia plant. It is the least expensive way to process hoodia, but also contains the skin and fibers of the plant which provide no benefit. Most hoodia capsules are in this form. 2. Concentration – producing this form of hoodia involves liquid extraction. It does not include the fiber or skin. The concentration is often sold as a liquid and touted to be the most effective form of hoodia because liquid is processed by the body faster than a pill. 3. Hoodia patches and sprays – neither of these forms are considered as effective as the liquid form of hoodia.

Being Wise When Purchasing Hoodia Products

Hoodia is expensive because it is grown only in the African desert.

There are plenty of hoodia scams out there, so it’s wise to use the following guidelines when making a purchase:

1. Real hoodia comes only from South Africa, so don’t purchase anything that states it was grown elsewhere.

2. Before making a purchase, request a lab analysis certificate from the company. If they are legitimate, they won’t view this as a challenging or odd request.

3. Companies that purchase hoodia from South Africa also receive a CITES certificate from the South African government to validate the product. CITES is an international agreement designed to regulate trade of plants and animals between countries. Legitimate online companies will typically display the certificate on their website. If the certificate is not displayed, there is no proof that you are actually buying hoodia from South Africa. This certificate alone doesn’t cover what happens to the hoodia once a company purchases it. In combination with the lab analysis certificate, it is solid validation for the consumer.

4. Check the product ingredients to see if the aerial stem is listed because this is the part of the succulent that suppresses appetite.

5. Avoid any hoodia products that aren’t completely natural or include stimulants.

6. Buy only hoodia gordonii products. There are at least twenty other species of hoodia that are not effective as a weight loss product.

7. Avoid purchasing hoodia in sprays or patches. The most effective product forms are pill, liquid and powder.

Even with these products, be sure that they are 100% hoodia without fillers and other supplements.

The Cost of Hoodia

Hoodia is not an inexpensive weight loss product due to the limited harvest and consumer demands. However, for many, the results seem to be worth the cost. An average 3 month supply of liquid hoodia runs around $120.00. A single month supply tends to cost much more at $50-60 a bottle. As well, once weight loss has occurred, the continued use of hoodia is required to maintain the appetite suppressant qualities.

How Dangerous is Hoodia Gordonii?

It seems that for the average adult, hoodia gordonii does not have serious side effects. However, the lack of research should be seriously considered. Most certainly, people with serious illnesses, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children should avoid the use of hoodia products until further testing has been completed. If you plan on trying the product, consult a medical professional first and use common sense when purchasing the item.

Are You On the Road To Obesity?

The statistics for obesity in America reveals a growing society. The problem is it's the waistline that's growing. Do you fear that you or your children may face being obese? Do you know what role fast food plays in the continuing problem of children and weight problems? Measure your knowledge of obesity and what makes people overweight by taking this true and false obesity quiz.


Hoodia, Snake Oil or Magic Elixir?

By Michael Vance (Student at Appalachian State University)

For over 20,000 years, the hunter-gatherer tribes of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa have used a native cactus type plant, called Hoodia, to control their appetites on long hunts. These tribes, the Sans people, also have the legal rights to monetary gain from the plant since it only grows wild in a small area in the Kalahari Desert and can only be legally exported under license.

A search on Amazon.com reveals page after page of Hoodia products touted for their appetite control and weight loss properties. While these sites may plug the product as a natural supplement for weight loss, very few clinical studies have been performed to confirm Hoodia’s effectiveness in weight loss. Plus, as with many “magic elixirs” for weight loss, Hoodia can cause unwanted and possibly dangerous side effects.

While the Sans tribes people uses the Hoodia plant to suppress appetite on long hunts, they also use Hoodia as a medical aid to treat digestion and minor ailments. The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) isolated the molecule P57 as the appetite suppressant and patented it. P57 is thought to work in the hypothalamus similar to glucose signaling satiety and fullness without any food being eaten. The CSIR soon sold the patent to Phytopharm, who collaborated with the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer to develop and distribute Hoodia to the masses. However, Phytopharm, Pfizer, and later Unilever were never able to confirm through studies that P57 worked. Lack of studies and patent rights did not stop Hoodia from becoming the next appetite suppressant sensation to take the internet by storm.

While limited Hoodia studies failed to confirm the effectiveness of weight loss, the studies did show the potential for various adverse side effects. Hoodia’s effect on the liver has not been determined, but there is evidence to suggest a negative impact that needs more study. Hoodia may also elevate blood pressure and cause gastrointestinal distress with constant stomach cramps, headaches, vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea. There is also some evidence to suggest Hoodia may hamper blood clotting leading to the potential for more pronounced bleeding.

Perhaps one of the most confounding aspects of using Hoodia for weight loss may be that the products that claim to have Hoodia as the primary weight loss ingredient may have little if any Hoodia at all. The limited area where Hoodia can grow and its propensity to only grow wild instead of under commercial growing along with patented legal rights to the plant, counterfeit products abound. With the limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of Hoodia in weight loss along with the potential for serious side effects, Hoodia supplements should be consumed with caution if at all.



How Do I Buy Pure Hoodia?

By Cathy Wong, ND

Q: How in the world do I go about finding a product that really does contain 100% hoodia? I have been researching this for months but do not want to keep wasting my money on these so called "100% Pure Hoodia" pills. Thank you for any and all advice you can give.

-Lisa

A:

Hoodia gordonii is a herbal weight loss supplement sold in health food stores and online. Unfortunately, there are widespread reports that most hoodia products are counterfeit or have been adulterated.

If you search online for hoodia, you'll find hundreds of companies selling hoodia and cautioning you not to buy the competitor's useless hoodia pills.

Counterfeit and adulterated hoodia products exist because the supply is scarce. Hoodia is a plant that is difficult to grow and takes four to five years in a very hot environment to mature.

Also, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (an international agreement between governments to ensure that harvest operations and trade of wild plant and animal specimens doesn't threaten their survival) imposed trade controls on hoodia in October 2004. In order to be legal, hoodia must be grown or collected with a permit. But some sources say that some hoodia companies use counterfeit or stolen certificates.

Another major problem is that it's impossible to know if a hoodia product contains pure hoodia and the purported active ingredient.

According to ConsumerLab.com, an independent lab in White Plains, New York, there are no definitive, established tests for judging the quality of hoodia products at this time. ConsumerLab.com does not test hoodia products for that reason.

Even when companies can produce a certificate, some companies may have submitted a genuine sample of hoodia to the lab to obtain the seal of authenticity and then used adulterated hoodia in the production run.

Nutritional supplement companies might not even be aware that they are using fake or adulterated hoodia because they do not submit their hoodia for independent testing.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Due to the limited safety information, it's too soon to recommend hoodia for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using hoodia, make sure to consult your physician first.


Rare spiky plant flowers at Eden

(BBC News)

A rare plant which researchers believe could help combat obesity has flowered at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

It is thought to be the first time that the succulent Hoodia plant, which was grown by horticulturalists at Eden's nursery, has flowered in the UK.

The Hoodia has been eaten for centuries by San bushmen of the Kalahari to suppress their appetite while hunting.

Research is being undertaken into the possibility of the plant being used in the production of anti-obesity drugs.

Because it is from an arid region, the plant will not appear in Eden's Rainforest or Mediterranean Biomes but will be used in an educational exhibit.

It will also form part of the project's horticulture team's preparations for Eden's next phase, the Edge.

Eden horticulturalist Jann Coles said: "We are delighted that the Hoodia has flowered for what may be the first time in the UK here at Eden.

"It's a privilege to be looking after such a rare and beautiful plant, especially one with such interesting scientific potential."

The plant, which has a pungent smell, is protected by conservation laws and can only be collected or grown with a permit.


Sharing wealth from the Hoodia trade

(University of Cape Town)

A lively panel discussion on the worldwide marketing of Hoodia and its effects on the San people served to launch a book on the subject, co-edited by Dr Rachel Wynberg of UCT's Environmental Evaluation Unit, and to welcome the 40 delegates to a UCT training course to build African capacity in access and benefit sharing.

The week-long course was a first for Africa, and ran under the direction of Rachel Wynberg, in collaboration with the ABS Capacity Development Initiative for Africa. Plans are now afoot to roll it out elsewhere in Africa.

The discussion, facilitated by former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Jody Kollapen, included panellists representing the San people, farmers, government, industry and academia. Topics raised included how the San, arguably the most marginalised people in Africa, can be made partners in the marketing of Hoodia, rather than merely knowledge holders, and the reasons for the recent decline in the worldwide Hoodia market, and how this could be addressed.

Panellists agreed that the market decline was at least partially caused by imitation 'fly-by-night' manufacturers, who produced ineffective products containing little or no Hoodia.

Robby Gass of the Southern African Hoodia Growers Association noted that the San are the face of authentic Southern African Hoodia, and should be promoting it worldwide. Lacticia Tshitwamulomoni, assistant director of the National Department of Water Affairs and Environment, noted that although her department is in a position to enforce new, progressive legislation protecting the San in the marketing of Hoodia, it doesn't have the capacity at present.

"The issue is relatively new, and we're still trying to slot it in," she said.

Dr Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, hosted the book launch at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The book, Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit-Sharing: Lessons from the San-Hoodia case, is the first in-depth account of Hoodia bioprospecting and use of traditional San knowledge in the global context of indigenous peoples' rights. Wynberg's co-editors were Professor Doris Schroeder, a leading European expert on ethics and benefit sharing, head of the Centre for Professional Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire and professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Roger Chennells, the lawyer who negotiated the benefit-sharing deal on behalf of the San.



Africa's Bushmen May Get Rich From Diet-Drug Secret

By Leon Marshall (in Johannesburg for National Geographic News)

The wheel of fortune could be turning for southern Africa's San, or Bushmen.

Sidelined over decades because of their dwindling numbers and ancient way of life, the San have been reduced to a few struggling communities living on the fringes of society. But now their traditional knowledge may be their salvation; they stand to make a lot of money—and gain much respect—from the international marketing of an appetite-suppressant they have been using for thousands of generations.

The drug named P57 is based on a substance scientists found in the desert plant Hoodia gordinii. The San call the cactus !khoba and have been chewing on it for thousands of years to stave off hunger and thirst during long hunting trips in their parched Kalahari desert home.

A deal has been signed between the South African San Council and the country's Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIR), which identified the appetite-suppressing ingredient in Hoodia during research into indigenous plants in 1996. At a small ceremony recently held in the Kalahari desert near the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which South Africa shares with Botswana, the San and the CSIR made a deal to share royalties earned by commercial sale of the San's ancient knowledge of the plant.

The overly nourished millions of people in the developed world spend billions of dollars a year on preparations and remedies to combat obesity. Effective new products that help shed weight are always in high demand.

Children danced and sang as members of the San community watched their leaders sign the deal. The chairman of the San Council, Petrus Vaalbooi, said, "We are thankful that the traditional knowledge of our forefathers is acknowledged by this important agreement, and that we are making it known to the world. As San leaders we are determined to protect all aspects of our heritage."

The landmark deal signed by the San could blaze the trail for indigenous communities elsewhere in the world. Many traditional cultures have ancient knowledge of the healing powers of plants—intellectual property that is often not recognized, let alone protected for commercial gain.

Defining Moment for the San

For the San the agreement could be a defining moment as it could mark a turn for the better in ways other than a financial windfall.

In terms of the deal, the CSIR will pay the San 8 percent of milestone payments made by its licensee, UK-based Phytopharm, during the drug's clinical development over the next few years. This could come to more than a million dollars.

The biggest revenue stream could come from 6 percent royalties the San would receive if and when the drug is marketed by the international drug giant Pfizer, which has in turn been licensed by Phytopharm. Given the international demand for obesity drugs, the market for P57 could run to billions of dollars.

The South African San Council was stung into action by a reported remark by a Pfizer representative to the effect that the San had used the Hoodia but that they were extinct. This was in answer to questions by journalists whether the San could expect compensation for their contribution to the prospective blockbuster drug.

South African human rights lawyer Roger Chennels, who took up the San's case, said they immediately challenged the CSIR. "The negotiations were tough, but the San had the moral high ground. Once their moral ownership of the intellectual property rights was recognized, and once they wisely agreed to enter into a partnership, the dealings became reasonable," Chennels said.

Though the South African San Council was set up in 2001 to represent the country's Khomani, !Xun, and Khwe tribes, a trust has been set up (please see side bar) that will share the money with other San groups in neighboring Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Angola. This is in recognition of the fact that indigenous knowledge, as with the Hoodia plant, is mostly shared by tribes across national boundaries.

The San are southern Africa's oldest human inhabitants, having lived in the sub-continent for at least the past 20,000 years and possibly going back 40,000 years. But from the many, possibly even millions, who once roamed the plains and mountains, only about 100,000 remain.

Brink of Extinction

The South African San Institute (SASI), a non-governmental organization that mobilizes resources for the benefit of the San, explains they have been driven to the brink of extinction first by African agro-pastoralists who started arriving from central Africa from about 1,800 years ago, and then by European settlers who arrived from the mid-17th century.

SASI says few San are able to live by hunting and gathering today. Most work as farm laborers. A few groups run nature conservancies, but others live unemployed in marginal settlements, with no income other than small pensions from the state.

Nigel Crawhall, a San linguist who heads up SASI's culture and heritage management program, believes the Hoodia-drug deal could help rescue what remains of San culture.

The SASI program is essentially about trying to mend San society and reconstruct San culture, and so set its remaining communities on a more sustainable path.

The San have largely lost their sense of community and identity by being dispossessed of their territories and becoming physically dispersed. They have suffered language loss and some of their important social institutions have become dysfunctional.

Reconstructing San society and culture is an intricate process which is aimed at getting dialogue going between the elders who still have knowledge of some of the old ways and the younger generation who have lost it. The purpose is to get them talking about what had gone lost and what not, and about safeguarding that which is important. It is a process of self-discovery, says SASI.

Apart from the prospective financial benefits from the Hoodia deal, Crawhall says, there is much it could do to assist this difficult process, also by way of creating a more helpful relationship between the San and the world they live in.

He explains: "The San thought nobody was interested in them. Now Hoodia has come along. They are excited and have even become a bit secretive about their use of plants, even though most of this has already been written up in books. But their young people do not know about these uses, and that could change now that there is this mass market of the developed world wanting to use their discovery for body cosmetics.

"What struck them was that anybody would want to use such medicines to lose weight. So there is also this interesting interface with the outside world."

Fortuituous Confluence

To Crawhall, the Hoodia deal forms part of a fortuitous confluence of factors which could spell a better future for the San. It fits well with the consciousness of human rights that has come with South Africa's new democratic constitution and which has already resulted in important land-restitution breakthroughs for the San. It also fits well with the growing international awareness of indigenous minorities and their rights.

Chennels, who has also been fighting the San's legal battle for restitution of their traditional land, says he believes the deal represents notable recognition and acknowledgement of the importance of the traditional knowledge and heritage of the San peoples.

"This groundbreaking, benefit-sharing agreement between a local research council and the San represents enormous potential for future bioprospecting successes based on the San's extensive knowledge of the traditional uses of indigenous plants of the area.

"We are optimistic that this case will serve as a sound foundation for future collaboration, not only for the San but also for other holders of traditional knowledge," he said.


Gathering Hoodia cactus in the Kalahari

By Jan Stuermann

Prickly bush in the Kalahari Desert could be key to weight-loss success

Jan van der Westhuizen leaves a small offering of his hair on the spot where he just dug up a Hoodia cactus, which he collects for medicinal purposes. The medicine man helps to take care of his tribe, who live near Andriesvale in South Africa's Northern Cape.

The Hoodia cactus, which grows in the Kalahari Desert, has been used for thousands of years by the San Bushmen, one of the world's oldest and most primitive tribes, to stave off hunger on long hunting trips. The Pfizer pharmaceutical company bought the development rights to Hoodia with the idea of marketing it as an appetite suppressant. It stopped work on the project, however, after it experienced problems while synthesizing P57, the active ingredient in Hoodia.

An extract of the plant is now being sold in the US as a dieting aid. Some royalties from its sale will go back to the San community, who live a dire and impoverished life.


Hoodia Gordonii Review

By Cathy Wong, ND

What Should I Know About It?

What is Hoodia Gordonii?

Hoodia (pronounced HOO-dee-ah) is a cactus-like plant that grows primarily in the semi-deserts of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.

In the last few years, hoodia has been heavily marketed for weight loss and has become immensely popular.

Although there has always been a demand for diet pills, after the ban on the herb ephedra, the market was particularly ripe for the next new diet pill.

Much of hoodia's popularity stems from claims that the San Bushmen of the Kalahari desert relied on hoodia for thousands of years to ward off hunger and thirst during long hunting trips. They were said to have cut off the stem and eat the bitter-tasting plant.

Hoodia gordonii grows in clumps of green upright stems. Although it is often called a cactus because it resembles one, hoodia is actually a succulent plant.

It takes about five years before hoodia gordonii's pale purple flowers appear and the plant can be harvested.

There are over 13 types of hoodia. The only active ingredient identified so far is a steroidal glycoside that has been called "p57". Currently, only hoodia gordonii is thought to contain p57. What is the History of Hoodia Gordonii?

In 1937, a Dutch anthropologist studying the San Bushmen noted that they used hoodia gordonii to suppress appetite. In 1963, scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa's national laboratory, began studying hoodia.

They claimed that lab animals lost weight after they were given hoodia gordonii.

The South African scientists, working with a British company named Phytopharm, isolated what they believed to be an active ingredient in hoodia gordonii, a steroidal glycoside, which they named p57. After obtaining a patent in 1995, they licensed p57 to Phytopharm.

Phytopharm has spent more than $20 million on hoodia research.

Eventually pharmaceutical giant Pfizer learned about hoodia and expressed interest in developing a hoodia drug. In 1998, Phytopharm sub-licensed the rights to develop p57 to Pfizer for $21 million. Pfizer returned the rights to hoodia to Phytopharm, who is now working with Unilever.

Much of the hype about hoodia started after 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl and crew traveled to Africa to try hoodia. They hired a local Bushman to go with them into the desert and track down some hoodia. Stahl ate it, describing it as "cucumbery in texture, but not bad." She reported that she lost the desire to eat or drink the entire day. She also said she didn't experience any immediate side effects, such as indigestion or heart palpitations. Where is Hoodia Gordonii Found?

Hoodia gordonii is sold in capsule, powder, liquid, or tea form in health food stores and on the Internet. Hoodia is also found in the popular diet pill Trimspa. How Does Hoodia Gordonii Work?

Despite its popularity, there are no published randomized controlled trials in humans to show hoodia is safe or effective in pill form.

One study published in the September 2004 issue of Brain Research found that injections of p57 into the appetite center of rat brains resulted in altered levels of ATP, an energy molecule that may affect hunger. The animals receiving the P57 injections also ate less than rats that received placebo injections. However, this was an animal study and injections in the brain are different from oral consumption, so it cannot be used to show that oral hoodia can suppress appetite in humans.

The manufacturer Phytopharm cites a clinical trial involving 18 human volunteers that found hoodia consumption reduced food intake by about 1000 calories per day compared to a placebo group. Although intriguing, the study wasn't published or subjected to a peer-review process, so the quality of the study cannot be evaluated. Caveats

There are some potential side effects of hoodia that you should be aware of. What are Hoodia's Side Effects and Safety Concerns?

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of hoodia, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

There are widespread reports of counterfeit hoodia products. Mike Adams of News Target, estimates that 80% of hoodia products are contaminated or counterfeit. It's impossible to know if a hoodia product contains pure hoodia and the active ingredient, unless it has been tested by an independent laboratory.

People looking at hoodia buyer's guides, hoodia ratings, and hoodia comparisons on the Internet should be very cautious. Most of these sites have been secretly created by companies selling hoodia. They explain why the hoodia in other products is inferior, even though there are no published reports showing that one is more effective.

Hoodia also goes by the names xhooba, !khoba, Ghaap, hoodia cactus, and South African desert cactus.


Truth of the Unique Kalahari Flora: Hoodia Gordonii

(Top Health News)
Hoodia Gordonii Supplement Health Benefits on Weight Loss

Many plants are praised for their natural ability to suppress appetite, thus assisting individuals who are struggling with weight loss. Hoodia gordonii is one of these plants. The supplement derived from the succulent South African plant is advertised as a potent appetite suppressant that can enhance the results of a balanced nutritional plan.

Interested in trying hoodia gordonii supplements? Here is everything about the origin of the plant and the science explaining its ability to speed up the weight loss process.

Introduction

Hoodia gordonii is a native of Kalahari Desert in Africa. People have been consuming the plant for centuries. The bushes are often called “cactiform” because of the resemblance to cacti.

The Bushmen were the people using the succulent plant for a long period of time. Familiar with its appetite suppression qualities, the Bushmen used hoodia gordonii to survive in the harsh desert climate and to boost their energy levels.

The naturally-occurring chemicals in the plant are the ones responsible for the appetite suppression. The active ingredient is called P57, a chemical that is capable of increasing the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP is responsible for releasing energy during metabolic processes. High levels of ATP will also create a sensation of satiety. Explained in simple terms, it mimics the effects of glucose. Glucose causes an increase in blood sugar levels, which results in a sense of satiety.

Hoodia is an all-natural supplement. The Bushmen have been consuming the plant’s leaves for centuries without experiencing adverse side effects. This is why researchers decided to test the plant and see whether it could be used for the production of a weight loss supplement. The supplements are a fact and today, people from all parts of the world have access to such products.

Science and Research

There have been just a few studies but the results are quite promising. Hoodia delivers weight loss benefits in a highly unique way, which determines the interest of the scientific community in the plant. Additionally, its appetite suppression qualities have been identified by an indigenous African tribe, which is a relatively rare occurrence. Many other plants that are recognized for their weight loss effects were used as food or herbal remedy by indigenous people, rather than as a way to stay slim.

A Brown University researcher named David MacLean is one of the individuals who decided to test hoodia gordonii. The results of the experiment were presented in 2004 and published in Brain Research magazine.

MacLean described P57 and its ability to affect the hypothalamus, creating a sensation of satiety.

MacLean used healthy rats to figure out how P57 affects the brain. The rats were injected daily with small amounts of P57. During the experiment, researchers found out that P57 increases the amount of hypothalamic ATP by nearly 100 percent! The rats were given a low-calorie diet but their ATP levels remained high, which suggested that the hoodia gordnoii extract was responsible for the effect. Additionally, the amount of food they consumed decreased significantly in comparison to the amounts for the control group.

A study involving human volunteers was carried out by Richard M. Goldfarb from Bucks County Clinical Research Center. Seven overweight volunteers participated in the experiment and they were given 500 milligrams of the weight loss supplement two times per day. The experiment continued for a period of 28 days.

At the end of the clinical study, the participants who took the supplement lost 3.3 percent of their body weight which translated to an average weight loss of 10 pounds. Participants in the study reported that they experienced appetite suppression within days of the experiment’s beginning.

Reviews and Benefits

Hoodia gordonii has been endorsed by many researchers and professionals studying natural weight losspossibilities. One of these individuals is Dr. Richard Dixey who managed a pharmaceutical company researching remedies for many conditions including obesity. Dr. Dixey said that the molecular structure of hoodia gordonii is so potent that it can deliver a sustainable sense of fullness that is independent of food consumption.

A report about the effects of hoodia was created by a BBC journalist named Tom Mangold. While in Africa, Mangold decided to sample the actual plant. After eating a small piece of hoodia, both Mangold and his cameraman lost appetite and were unwilling to consume dinner. The same applied to breakfast the next morning. Their appetite returned within 24 hours of trying the succulent Kalahari Desert plant.

There are many hoodia gordonii supplements you can try to test the plant’s potency for yourself. There are hoodia teas, pills and even pops. Hoodia gordonii is generally safe for usage, though some people have experienced mild side effects like dry mouth. Because hoodia supplements are not of synthetic origin, they are much safer than otherweight loss possibilities.

People who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a clotting disorder or an eating disorder should avoid taking hoodia supplements. If you are currently using pharmaceutical products for the treatment of a medical condition, you should consult a physician before starting a hoodia gordonii weight loss program.

Using hoodia gordonii to suppress your appetite can help your weight loss efforts and help you achieve faster results. The Bushmen have known the qualities of the plant for a long time and they used it to decrease hunger level in a natural way. Trying hoodia supplements for yourself is the best way to figure out whether these are the right products for your needs.


Hoodia Cultivation: Learn About Hoodia Cactus Plants

By Bonnie L. Grant

Plant lovers are always looking for the next unique specimen to learn about or grow. Hoodia gordonii plant may give you the botanical fuel you are looking for. Not only is the plant fascinating in its adaptations and appearance, but it has some potential as a fat-busting supplement. The benefits of hoodia are not confirmed, but evidence seems to point to the plant having some effect on diminishing appetite. All of us dieters can give a cheer for that.

What is Hoodia?

Picture a low-growing cactus with plump, spiny limbs and an attractive flower that smells like rotting flesh. It probably doesn’t represent a plant you want in your home, but this African native has been a staple of the Bushmen diet and may signify some hope for those challenged with obesity. Hoodia cactus has been on the menu for thousands of years in South Africa and may soon be coming to a store near you. What is hoodia? There are over 20 species in the genus with Hoodia gordonii plant just one of the many amazing specimens.

Tired of hearing your tummy grumble all the time? Hoodia cactus is a possible answer. The plant is covered in spines and has thick, fleshy limbs. It is a low-growing plant that will only get 23 inches in height at maturity. The spines and the short stature are necessary adaptations to protect the plant from hot scorching sun and conserve moisture. The spines also prevent many animals from eating the flesh. Hoodia produces a flat, saucer-shaped flower that is flesh colored. The flower is quite interesting looking but keep your distance if you get to see a bloom. The flower smells like something gone bad, but the odor attracts flies which pollinate the plant.

Possible Benefits of Hoodia

The Federal Drug Administration has not approved the safety of using hoodia as an appetite suppressant but that hasn’t stopped several companies from manufacturing and distributing the supplement. The thick stems are edible, once you remove the spines, and appear to diminish appetite. Research done in the 1960’s on indigenous plants found that animals who ate the succulent lost weight. This didn’t immediately turn into a breakthrough discovery. It took several more decades before the pharmacological company, Phytopharm, took notice of the research and began to conduct their own. The result is a huge farming operation in South Africa with goals towards marketing the product in the future.

Hoodia Cultivation

Phytopharm has acres of farmland devoted to hoodia cultivation. The plant may be grown in native soil or in a standard potting mixture. Water is the key between life and death with this plant. It lives in the Kalahari where rainfall is minimal. Too much water can kill the plant but too little will have the same effect. The average watering rules are once every third month all year around. That is only 4 watering cycles per annum. The only other considerations are lighting, insects and disease. Farmers are just learning how to deal with any insect pests and disease in a cultivated setting. Hoodia gordonii plants require bright light but prefer not to be exposed to the highest sun of the day. Some protection from noon time heat is appreciated. Wide scale cultivation is still in the learning phases as the potential drug becomes a cash crop. Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.




How to Grow Hoodia Gordonii

By Kay Dean (Demand Media)

Hoodia gordonii resembles a cactus in appearance, but it is actually a spiny succulent. Native to the South African Kalahari Desert, the plant is valued for its purported appetite-suppressant qualities. Demand for Hoodia gordonii sparked a rush on native plants compelling the South African Department of Nature Conservation to restrict trade in the plant. Hoodia gordonii can grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11 in habitats that resemble its native Kalahari Desert region. These conditions exist in parts of California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

1 Locate a nurse plant that can shelter the young Hoodia gordonii plants. A nurse plant is a large shrub that provides shade from the harsh rays of the sun. The soil surrounding the nurse plant should be well-drained, sandy loam. Mix well-rotted compost into the seedbed. Plant the Hoodia gordonii seeds a scant 1/4 inch deep.

2 Water the seedlings sparingly -- three to four times per week during the hot summer months and only once every two weeks during the winter. Hoodia gordonii is a desert plant; overwatering can cause the germinating seeds to rot in the ground. Maintain the young plants under the nurse plant for approximately one year, by which time they should be strong enough to transplant.

3 Fill several 4-inch plastic pots with well-drained potting material. Dig up the individual Hoodia gordonii plants and carefully transplant them into the pots. Move the potted Hoodia gordonii plants to a location where they receive full sun. Leave the plants in pots and repot them as they grow or plant them in the ground. The established plants grow rapidly, reaching maturity in approximately three to five years. Full-grown Hoodia gordonii plants have multiple branches and can reach 18 inches in height.

Things You Will Need
• Hoodia gordonii seeds
• Well-rotted compost
• Garden trowel
• Well-drained potting mix
• 4-inch plastic pots
Tip

The flower of the Hoodia gordonii plant gives off an aroma similar to rotting meat. Plant the Hoodia gordonii plants away from areas you frequent to avoid the unpleasant smell.

Warning

Hoodia gordonii extracts, teas and powders are marketed as appetite suppressants, but its effectiveness is purely anecdotal. There is no scientific evidence to support claims of Hoodia gordonii’s appetite-suppressant qualities because no studies in people have been published, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.



Sampling the Kalahari Hoodia diet

By Cahal Milmo

A multi-million pound race between the world's biggest food companies is under way to tackle the global obesity epidemic by producing the first clinically-tested "satiety pill".

Three conglomerates - the Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever, France's Danone and Kraft in America - are researching compounds to achieve the hallowed goal of inducing people to eat less by suppressing their appetite.

With 300 million people worldwide rated as overweight or obese, the annual global cost of treatment and economic loss from the epidemic is now £100bn.

Scientists are increasingly placing their hopes in a range of natural substances which have the effect of duping the brain into "satiety" - the feeling of a full stomach. In the last 12 months, patents have been given appetite-suppressing extracts including Korean pine nuts and chicory roots. But at the head of the race to cash in on the £3bn worldwide market for dietary control products is Hoodia gordonii - a spiny cactus, which takes five years to mature in the Kalahari desert.

Hoodia contains a secret weapon - a compound known as P57 which has been isolated by a British bio-technology company, Phytopharm, and is now at the heart of a £21m research scheme funded by Unilever.

Phytopharm announced last month that it was making good progress in clinical trials of P57. The cucumber-like core of the Hoodia has been used for centuries by indigenous San tribesmen to stave off hunger pangs. They eat it on long hunting trips.

Unilever has struck a deal with the San to pay the tribe a royalty from the sales of any product containing P57 to be used in a social programme.

Phytopharm, which will also receive a royalty on sales of all products containing its Hoodia extract, warned last month that it was talking with authorities to curtail the sale of "Hoodia" products on the internet which claim to cause weight loss. Unilever is working to launch a range of "hunger buster" products based on Hoodia in 2009.

Phytopharm found that the compound closely mimics a natural substance in the body which sends a satiety message to the hypothalamus - the part of the brain that controls appetite.

Trials have shown that those taking P57 can cut their consumption by as much as 1,000 calories per day. The recommended calorie total for an adult man is 2,500 per day and for a woman, 2,000. A Unilever spokesman said: "We don't want to put our name to something that is not backed 100 per cent by the science behind it. We are now satisfied that the product works and has the potential to help with weight management."

The cash and energy being pumped into Unilever's project is mirrored by its rivals. Danone has patented new types of dietary fibre which slow the passage of food through the digestive system, making people feel full for longer. Kraft is working on a special form of starch which resists being broken down by the body, again designed to create the sense that the stomach is full.

But a senior executive with one conglomerate told The Independent: "Satiety has the potential to be one of the biggest earners of the next five years."

Many of the substances, including P57, work by affecting a mechanism in the ileum, part of the lower intestine, where the presence of fat triggers a response of satiety to the brain.

This "ileal brake" is triggered or mimicked by the compounds by disguising the fat molecules until they reach the ileum. In one case, the body is convinced it has consumed 500 calories when in reality it has had just 190.

However, according to Gary Frost, professor of nutrition and dietetics at Surrey University, humans have a "squirreling" instinct which encourages them to eat to excess in preparation for times of food scarcity. "There is a sense that for the company or companies that can isolate a proven appetite suppressant, there is a market waiting that would entail the vast majority of the population," he said. "It is a glittering prize but a controversial one - can you confidently say that one food will halt your desire for another?"

Neville Rigby, spokesman for the International Obesity Task Force, said: "The key to tackling obesity is eating decent food and balancing your calorie intake with the amount of energy you burn. There is no magic bullet."


Sampling the Kalahari Hoodia diet

  • Source:news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/2947810.stm
By Tom Mangold (BBC Two's Correspondent)

Correspondent's Tom Mangold travelled to Africa and sampled the appetite suppressing Hoodia, a plant which may make Kalahari bushmen millionaires.

Imagine this: an organic pill that kills the appetite and attacks obesity.

It has no known side-effects, and contains a molecule that fools your brain into believing you are full.

Deep inside the African Kalahari desert, grows an ugly cactus-like plant called the Hoodia. It thrives in extremely high temperatures, and takes years to mature.

The San Bushmen of the Kalahari, one of the world's oldest and most primitive tribes, had been eating the Hoodia for thousands of years, to stave off hunger during long hunting trips.

When South African scientists were routinely testing it, they discovered the plant contained a previously unknown molecule, which has since been christened P 57.

The license was sold to a Cambridgeshire bio-pharmaceutical company, Phytopharm, who in turn sold the development and marketing rights to the giant Pfizer Corporation.

Fortune cactus

When I travelled to the Kalahari, I met families of the San bushmen.

It is a sad, impoverished and displaced tribe, still unaware they are sitting on top of a goldmine.

But if the Hoodia works, the 100,000 San strung along the edge of the Kalahari will become overnight millionaires on royalties negotiated by their South African lawyer Roger Chennells.

And they will need all the help they can to secure the money.

Currently, many bushmen smoke large quantities of marijuana, suffer from alcoholism, and have neither possessions nor any sense of the value of money.

The truth is no-one has fully grasped what the magic molecule means for their counterparts in the developed world.

Blood sugar

According to the British Heart Foundation 17% of men and 21% of women are obese, while 46% of men and 32% of women are overweight.

So the drug's marketing potential speaks for itself.

Phytopharm's Dr Richard Dixey explained how P.57 actually 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."

Clinical trials

Dixey organised the first animal trials for Hoodia. Rats, a species that will eat literally anything, stopped eating completely.

When the first human clinical trial was conducted, a morbidly obese group of people were placed in a "phase 1 unit", a place as close to prison as it gets.

All the volunteers could do all day was read papers, watch television, and eat.

Half were given Hoodia, half placebo. Fifteen days later, the Hoodia group had reduced their calorie intake by 1000 a day.

It was a stunning success.

The cactus test

In order to see for ourselves, we drove into the desert, four hours north of Capetown in search of the cactus.

Once there, we found an unattractive plant which sprouts about 10 tentacles, and is the size of a long cucumber.

Each tentacle is covered in spikes which need to be carefully peeled.

Inside is a slightly unpleasant-tasting, fleshy plant.

At about 1800hrs I ate about half a banana size - and later so did my cameraman.

Soon after, we began the four hour drive back to Capetown.

The plant is said to have a feel-good almost aphrodisiac quality, and I have to say, we felt good.

But more significantly, we did not even think about food. Our brains really were telling us we were full. It was a magnificent deception.

Dinner time came and went. We reached our hotel at about midnight and went to bed without food. And the next day, neither of us wanted nor ate breakfast.

I ate lunch but without appetite and very little pleasure. Partial then full appetite returned slowly after 24 hours.

The future

Mr Chennells is ecstatic:

"The San will finally throw off thousands of years of oppression, poverty, social isolation and discrimination.

"We will create trust funds with their Hoodia royalties and the children will join South Africa's middle classes in our lifetime.

"I envisage Hoodia cafes in London and New York, salads will be served and the Hoodia cut like cucumber on to the salad.

"It will need flavouring to counter its unpleasant taste, but if it has no side effects and no cumulative side-effects."

Unfortunately for the overweight, Hoodia will not be around for several years, the clinical trials still have several years to run.

Do not travel to the Kalahari to steal the plant as it is hard to find and illegal to export.

And beware internet sites offering Hoodia "pills" from the US as we tested the leading brand and discovered it has no discernible Hoodia in it.

So just be patient. Help is at hand.



Reduce cravings with Hoodia

By Carolyn Simon (Naturopath)

Hoodia gordonii is one of a group of succulent plants native to the semi-desert areas of southern Africa. Resembling a cactus, the flowers apparently smell like rotten meat to attract flies for pollination! This particular variety of hoodia was traditionally used for thousands of years by San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. They ate the bitter tasting fleshy part of the stem to suppress their appetite and thirst through the long hunting trips that were part of their nomadic lifestyle.

Following media publicity in a 2003 BBC report and a 2004 60 Minutes television programme, hoodia gained huge popularity in the western world as a natural appetite suppressant and weight loss supplement. Subsequent health industry marketing has created such a demand that hoodia has become an endangered species in several countries, requiring protective status. The street price for raw material skyrocketed and an estimated 80% of hoodia supplements on the worldwide market today are contaminated with other substances and may contain none of the appetite suppressing active ingredient at all.

How does hoodia work?

Studies confirm hoodia gordonii’s appetite suppressing effect, reducing hunger and food cravings and thus dietary intake. With less calories being consumed the body naturally starts using up its fat stores for energy.

Hoodia contains a molecule called P57, the active ingredient that appears to work directly on the hypothalamus gland, which signals a state of fullness so that gastric acid production and appetite are inhibited. Scientists have yet to identify any other active ingredients or specific actions of hoodia, however its thirst suppressing action is well known and sometimes documented as a ‘side effect’.

Traditionally hoodia was used infrequently by the people of the Kalahari to treat indigestion and abdominal cramping, lift energy and improve mood.

What are the health indicators for supplementation?

For people who crave carbohydrates, need to lose weight, or tend to overeat or binge eat, hoodia may be indicated as an adjunct to dietary changes with professional nutritional guidance and/or counselling. A nutritious diet, regular exercise and fluid intake are important aspects of any weight management programme.

When is hoodia contraindicated?

Don’t take hoodia if you’re trying to conceive a baby, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. It’s contraindicated because suppressing your appetite can lead to potentially unhealthy nutritional deficiencies for both mother and baby.

People with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulemia are advised to avoid hoodia for the same reason, and because using it may reinforce dysfunctional eating behaviours.

As yet there are no scientific human studies on hoodia’s safety. Hoodia is contraindicated for people with liver or kidney disease because metabolising the active ingredient P57 can cause extra stress on the liver. Other components of hoodia that may affect liver function are still unresearched.

If you have diabetes or you are hypoglycaemic hoodia is contraindicated. The normal regulation of blood sugar relies on biofeedback mechanisms which are suppressed by hoodia. This could lead to abnormally low blood sugar levels, which can be life threatening for diabetics.

Because of hoodia’s thirst-suppressing effect, there is the potential to dehydrate. Always monitor your fluid intake while taking hoodia.

Any potential interactions of hoodia with medical drugs have not been researched, so caution is advised if you take any medications. What is a safe and effective dosage?

No dosage guidelines have been established for hoodia. It is considered a safe supplement with no adverse effects if the manufacturer’s directions are followed and the product is verified authentic hoodia gordonii.

Effectiveness will depend on the individual health picture and weight loss goal. Hoodia is best used to help reduce excess food consumption while still eating regular balanced meals to ensure your nutrient intake is maintained or improved. Importance of sustainable harvesting and pollution free sources

These are both big considerations when choosing a hoodia supplement. With the huge demand worldwide for weight loss supplements, hoodia has quickly gained popularity and in 2008 was one of 400 medicinal plants named by Botanic Gardens Conservation International as being at risk of extinction from over-collection.

Because it is now a protected plant, genuine hoodia gordonii supplements sourced from a certified exporter must carry the C.I.T.E.S. Certificate (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) which should be displayed on the manufacturer’s website.

Hoodia’s protected status means it attracts a high price, and continuing demand has resulted in bogus hoodia supplements flooding the world market. These may contain fillers with very little or even no true hoodia gordonii plant ingredient. Reputable manufacturers can supply verification that their product contains only authentic CITES certified South African Hoodia gordonii.


The health-giving benefits of hoodia

(JOE.IE)

Who doesn’t want to be that little bit healthier? Especially if improving your health involves minimal effort. With this in mind we’ve made it our mission to bring you news each week of a product, a foodstuff, an exercise technique or a pill that promises potentially magical health-giving properties.

This week’s magic ingredient: Hoodia. Not to be confused with: Hoodies. Hoodlums. Da hood.

This is a new one on me, I’m afraid. No great surprise there. It’s not one of the better known dietary supplements. That said, it is becoming increasingly popular as a weight-loss agent so you will probably see more of it over the coming years.

So what is it then? Basically, it’s a plant similar to a cactus that's native to parts of Namibia. They can reach up to a metre in height and have large flowers, a tan colour and a strong smell. Interestingly, they stink of rotten meat and are pollinated mainly by flies.

Okay, this sounds like the most disgusting plant on earth. Why in God’s name would I want to have anything to do with it? Well, most of us wouldn’t. That said, if you’re a tad on the plump side it might be of interest. Bush men used to chew pieces of it when on long hunts as a means of suppressing their appetite. Our present-day, narcissistic society has found another use for it – as a herbal diet pill.

What’s in it? Back in 1977 the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) managed to isolate the ingredient in hoodia which acts as an appetite suppressant. They gave it the imaginative moniker ‘P57’.

What does it do for you? Well, it’s supposed to stop you wanting to eat for short periods, but the medical community is somewhat split on the issue of just how well this stuff works. That said, it has its supporters and the fact that it has been taken in Africa as an appetite suppressant for centuries supports the idea that there is something in the lofty claims

Another point is that animal trials found that gastric acid production dropped by as much as 60 per cent when hoodia was thrown into the mix, and this may well play in part in suppressing your appetite.

So how is it taken? I don’t fancy taking bites out of a cactus that stinks of rotten meat. Not to worry. Extracts of hoodia, normally parts of the stem and roots, are dried and ground into powders. These are then refined into chewable tablets or capsules. There is a liquid form, but you don’t see it around very much.

Where can you get it? There are some issues with the exportation of wild hoodia due to the fact that its sudden popularity in the West saw it become a protected species. However, farmed hoodia is now also on the go. A number of health food shops stock hoodia and the various African shops around the country can also have it in on the shelves.

Is it safe? There do not appear to be any major side-effects of hoodia, although full clinical trials are yet to take place. The main danger is from buying hoodia products which contain various other bits and pieces which could disagree with you. When you are purchasing a hoodia product you should familiarise yourself with exactly how much hoodia is in it and with what else it contains.



The Weight Loss Benefits of Hoodia Gordonii

By Dr. Edward Group (DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM)

Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant native to South Africa and Asia where indigenous populations have traditionally used it, most notably the Khoi-San, as an appetite and thirst suppressant during long hunting expeditions into harsh environments. These appetite-suppressing qualities of hoodia gordonii have made for a number of inquiries into its potential as a weight loss aid.

How does Hoodia Work?

Formal research of hoodia goordonii began in the 1960’s but it wasn’t until 1977 when the active ingredient in hoodia responsible for appetite suppression, known as P57, was isolated by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. P57 is an oxypregnane steroidal glycoside and increases the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body.

ATP is a nucleotide that, when broken down, releases energy for the body to use during metabolic processes. An elevated level of ATP will prompt the hypothalamus to send a signal to the brain to let you know you’ve had enough food by making you feel “full.” Hoodia operates by tricking the body into feeling full, which helps to curb appetite and reduce caloric intake. Glucose also raises ATP levels and suppresses appetite but, unlike glucose, P57 contains no calories.

Hoodia Clinical Studies

In addition to historic cultural use and anecdotal popularity among naturopaths, hoodia gordonii has also been studied in various clinical settings. Conclusions of these studies support the claim of the appetite-suppressing mechanism of hoodia gordonii and suggest it may be an adjunct to weight control when used with caloric restriction and a healthy lifestyle.

David MacLean, MD, an adjunct associate professor at Brown University and a former researcher at Pfizer, published a report in the Sept. 10, 2004, issue of Brain Research documenting his study to determine if P57 had an effect on the amount of hypothalamic ATP in the body.

In his study, MacLean collected the hypothalamus from a group of fetal rats. A separate group of rats had P57 injected directly into their brains and their hypothalamus’ collected 24 hours later. In comparing the two, MacLean found that rats injected with P57 had increased levels of hypothalamic ATP by 5-150%.

Additionally, another aspect of MacLean’s study involved injecting P57 into the third ventricle. In these rats, ATP increases of 40-60% were observed and food intake over the following 24-hour period reduced by 50-60%.

Richard M. Goldfarb, MD, medical director of Bucks County Clinical Research, conducted a small, unpublished, efficacy study on DEX-L10, a hoodia nutritional supplement available in a 500-mg. capsule. Goldfarb’s study consisted of seven overweight participants who were instructed to take two capsules daily, in conjunction with a eating a balanced breakfast and taking a multivitamin. The participants’ other diet and exercise habits were not altered.

The results at the end of the 28-day study were astounding. Most participants reported experiencing a caloric reduction within days, meaning they ate less food. Because Hoodia contains no stimulants, none of the participants reported experiencing the adverse side effects typically associated with stimulant weight loss drugs. Furthermore, Goldfarb reported that participants experienced, on average, a 3.3% reduction in body weight, and a median weight loss of ten pounds.

“After [the appetite suppressant effect] accumulates in the system… after only a few days we saw study participants cut their calories in half and not desire any additional food,” said Goldfarb.

Weight Loss Benefits of Hoodia

One of the most common stumbling blocks to weight loss is breaking bad habits related to food. Bad habits can come in the form of excessive snacking, eating late at night, over consumption, the wrong food choices, or all of the above. Many people have trouble simply getting into the habit of, “shutting off” their appetite. Using an appetite suppressant such as hoodia as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan, that includes a balanced diet and exercise, may help you to eat less, and force your body to use the fat and energy it has stored to promote weight loss.

The efficacy of hoodia has caused a proliferation of it in the marketplace by supplement and cosmetic companies who use hoodia of substandard quality, in attempt to reap quick profits. It is important to make sure all hoodia comes from reputable sources and is verifiably organic or wild crafted under organic conditions.


Hoodia users report results after three weeks

By Carrie Weil

(LOUISVILLE) -- It's been three weeks since our "Hoodia Hopefuls" first put the product to the test. Many people have asked about their early results, so WAVE 3's Carrie Weil has an update.

Kristian Watkins, a local nail technician, told me she gained 100 pounds over the last ten years and wants to lose weight to set a healthier example for her two daughters.

She wrote me saying, "I love it! I can really tell a difference in my appetite. I have already lost 12 pounds. I have also had the desire to drink more water. This may be bad for some, but for me it is good.

"My sweet tooth has also been curbed. I am really pleased with Hoodia. I already am starting to feel better. When I don't take it, I can tell a difference, so I know this pill is working."

WAVE 3 Assignment Editor Aaron Ellis has seen some results mainly in his eating habits. He is hoping to lose 25 to 30 pounds and gain more energy.

"I have only lost a couple of pounds," Ellis said. "Nothing stellar yet, but it has helped me change how I eat and how much I eat. I am still eating two meals, but when I eat what I have, I am full. I do not go back for seconds and I'm not eating the heaping helpings that I used to."

Our third "hopeful" is Fredericka Hargis, a local elementary school principal. She's in her 50s, and even with eating healthfully and moderate exercise, she has put on 20 pounds in the last five years.

After three weeks of using Hoodia, she likes the results. "I am doing great. I have lost six pounds in three weeks. I have had no ill effects. I am less hungry and less likely to snack at all. I think the best thing is that it has caused less hunger and therefore smaller portions are easy."


Hungry for hoodia knowledge

By Mike Bruton

Hoodia gordonii, or bitter ghaap, is one of many South African indigenous plants that has been used traditionally and is now the basis of a growing commercial industry.

Bitter ghaap is a leafless, thorny succulent with fleshy stems that grows naturally in sandy plains and rocky outcrops in the semi-deserts of the Northern Cape, Namibia and southern Angola.

Its flesh-coloured flowers smell strongly of decaying meat, which attracts the flies that pollinate them.

Hoodia is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites). This Appendix includes species that are not endangered but are at risk if their trade is not controlled.

Hoodia plants are therefore strictly protected in the wild and only registered farmers are allowed to grow them and export their products.

The San people of the Northern Cape have eaten the succulent stems of bitter ghaap for thousands of years to stave off hunger and thirst, and to increase energy levels, during long hunting trips. They also carry cut-off stems as an emergency food supply in the harsh desert.

Recent research has shown that hoodia is one of the most effective appetite suppressants in the world. This research has revealed that hoodia contains a molecule that is similar to glucose. Scientists reckon that this molecule fools the body into believing that it has eaten glucose-rich food.

Research has also revealed that none of the side effects induced by other appetite suppressants, such as increased heart rate or insomnia, are produced by hoodia.

It is normally sold as capsules and is classified as a foodstuff rather than a medicine. Each capsule contains 400mg of pure hoodia extract with no additives, such as artificial colours or preservatives.

Thanks to the ingenuity of the San people, bitter ghaap provides thousands of people worldwide with an opportunity to lose weight with no side effects.

The San community in the Northern Cape and the CSIR have signed a benefit-sharing agreement in terms of which the San community will receive about R12 million over the next four years for the commercial use of their traditional knowledge of hoodia.

Today there is a deep appreciation of the value of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in South Africa and many programmes have been established to promote interest in this field.

In 2004, after an initiative from the Department of Science and Technology, the cabinet adopted a National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Policy, which received international recognition at a recent World Intellectual Property Organisation conference.

The Medical Research Council has established a Lead Programme (IKS Health) to promote, develop and protect indigenous knowledge and its innovative systems of health through education, research and development.

This programme assists with the protection of the intellectual property rights of the traditional people who first developed the medical remedies.

Well-organised databases on traditional medicines, such as Tramed III, have also been created to record knowledge and make it available to everyone.

This programme is also actively engaged in developing new products from traditional medicines that can be sold worldwide.

In addition, the Department of Science and Technology has established a National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office (Nikso) to develop, protect and promote indigenous knowledge systems.

The vision of Nikso is to be a leader in the field of integrating indigenous knowledge with other knowledge systems.

The department is establishing centres of excellence, laboratories, funding programmes and entrepreneurial programmes to promote the development of food and medical inventions and other products derived from indigenous knowledge.

North-West University, the University of Limpopo and the University of Venda now offer Bachelor, Master’s and doctoral degrees in indigenous knowledge.

These are interdisciplinary qualifications, registered with the SA Qualifications Authority, that prepare students for careers in the health sciences, tourism, agriculture, environmental conservation, heritage education and law. - Cape Argus

Pictures of the Hoodia Gordonii Succulent Cactus