Hoodia is a leafless, spiny plant that is packaged and promoted by a variety of companies as a diet drug to help people to lose weight.
Hoodia actually refers to thirteen different species of plants, similar to cacti but unrelated. These plants, Apocynaceae, can reach up to 1 metre high and produce large flowers with a distinctive smell and colour. Once particular species of Hoodia, Hoodia Gordonii, has been heavily marketed as an appetite suppressant that helps people to lose weight.
Referred to as simply ‘Hoodia’ by most of its vendors and customers, Hoodia occurs in several areas of Africa , particularly Namibia . Hoodia is not a diet drug, but a naturally occurring plant used as a diet supplement. Pure Hoodia does not contain caffeine, ephedra or any stimulants. According to the marketing of Hoodia as a diet supplement, taking the appropriate quantity can make dieters feel full, leading to eating less and weight loss. Hoodia therefore could help dieters to lose weight naturally by lowering the appetite and calorie consumption.
A diet industry has sprung up surrounding Hoodia, but people looking to try the supplement need to be aware that a variety of cheap, imitation products do exist and these are likely to be ineffective in helping to lose weight. Furthermore, investigation into the drug has found the no clinical evidence exists to allow official recommendation. Claims that Hoodia Gordonii can lower blood pressure and reduce appetite are, at this stage, not scientifically sustainable. Considerable controversy has surrounded Hoodia in America , including spam emails and consumer fraud on a vast scale.
Hoodia Gordonii products include liquids, tablets, capsules, infusions, shakes, lollypops and fruit bars. Dieters are advised to tread very carefully.