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The History of Hoodia
Author: Patricia Zelkovsky

For the last 25,000 years, the indigenous people of the Kalahari desert region have been using Hoodia Gordonii as an appetite suppressant.

Its main function was to quell the thirst and hunger that would affect warriors during long hunting trips. These warriors even fed their dogs slices of the plant to keep them from having interest in their food supplies. To this day these African natives still chew the leaves of the plant to stave off starvation and exhaustion.

The plant was also of some assistance during periods of famine when groups of 100 or so people suddenly found themselves on the move without much food or water.
Two to three slices of the plant of the day were enough to stave of starvation.

The plant itself is native to the Kalahari Desert and it was readily abundant in rocky and sandy areas in Botswana, Namibia, Angola and other areas of South Africa. As a matter of interest, the hoodia plant looks like a cactus even though botanically it is not a cactus and often marketed as one.

Even today the plant is still used as an appetite suppressant during times of famine. The Anikhwe of northern Botswana feed children who are hungry pieces of hoodia during times of famine to conserve food.

However many children have died from consuming hoodia after three months of making this the main part of their diet. Keep this in mind in case you have any misconceptions about hoodia being a long term substitute for food. Although hoodia will decrease your appetite you must still eat food. This is where your nutrition will come from. Hoodia is safe as long as you do not make this your only food supply.

The taste of the plant is actually very acrid and can be compared to a very dry bitter cucumber. This is why it is sold in North American and European countries in capsule form rather than as a food substance in dried form. The liquid versons of hoodia do have flavorings added to disguise the taste. Don't shy away from liquid hoodia products. Not only do they work faster than pills, they actually taste very good.

Hoodia's appetite suppressant properties were only discovered about thirty years ago when certain species were included in a scientific research project established by the South African Council.

The council was looking for indigenous plants that could be a source of food. Among the plants screened were Hoodia and experiments on animals confirmed the plant's ability to cause weight loss without side effects.

Shortly after this study it was licensed to the drug company Phytopharm that has spent over $20 million dollars to conduct clinical trials of the plant. The subjects given hoodia ate a thousand calories less a day then the usual 2,600 calories a day for males and 1,900 calories for women.

The giant pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which had teamed up with Phytopharm, and funded much of the research abandoned the venture when making a pill out of the active ingredient seemed to costly to develop.

For now it is sold in weight loss formulations, usually accompanied by green tea extract to accelerate the weight loss results even more.

Hoodia gordonii is very rare and is protected by national conservation laws in South Africa and Namibia. It can only be collected or grown with a permit. This is why it is so expensive to purchase pure hoodia.

When comparing products, remember that if a product is much lower in price than others, it more then likely has been cut with green tea or caffeine. Always look just at the content of the hoodia, not all the ingredients combined, then match products.

When comparing liquid hoodia products, always look for a 20:1 ratio. This ratio will give you the most for your money. You will sometimes see a 10:1 ratio and although it sounds like it would be stronger, it in fact is not.

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