Can Hoodia Diet Pills make you lose weight?
   Neil H. Metzger

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Is Hoodia Safe?

Contrary to Popular Usage - Hoodia gordonii is not a cactus. It's a succulent plant from the botanical family Asclepiadaceae.

Cactuses don't grow in Africa, they are native only to the Americas. Though Hoodia gordonii looks somewhat like a cactus, it's of a different family altogether.
Hoodia has been used for at least 200 centuries by the SAN Bushmen of Southern Africa as a way of keeping their hunger and thirst in check during long treks hunting for food in the Kalahari dessert. It's use and history stretch back over several thousand years. It takes about 5 years before Hoodia's pale purple flowers appear and the active ingredient can be harvested. Although there are over 20 species of Hoodia, only the Hoodia gordonii variety is confirmed to contain the natural appetite suppressant. Like many of the plants now used in modern medicine and nutrition, Hoodia was first used by in a folklore tradition by native peoples who recognized its power as an appetite suppressant. Although Hoodia was "discovered" by the Europeans relatively recently, the SAN Bushmen of the Kalahari desert have been eating it for a very long time. The Bushmen, who live off the land, would cut off part of the stem and eat it to ward off hunger and thirst during nomadic hunting trips. They also used Hoodia for severe abdominal cramps, hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes. In 1937, a Dutch anthropologist studying the SAN Bushmen noted that they used Hoodia to suppress appetite. But it wasn't until 1963 when scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa's national laboratory, began studying Hoodia. Initial results were promising -- lab animals lost weight after taking Hoodia. The South African scientists, working with a British company named Phytopharm, isolated the active ingredient in Hoodia, a steroidal glycoside, which they named p57. After getting a patent in 1995, they licensed p57 to Phytopharm which has spent more than $20 million on Hoodia research. Eventually pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (makers of Viagra) caught wind of Hoodia and became interested in developing a Hoodia diet pill. In 1998, Phytopharm sub-licensed the rights to develop p57 to Pfizer for $21 million. Pfizer recently returned the rights to Hoodia to Phytopharm, who is now working with Unilever to bring it to market sometime around 2008. Natural Hoodia diet pills and hoodia liquid contain a biologically active form of the molecule which acts as a "steroidal glycoside" or a compound that appears to trick the brain into thinking the stomach is full. Over the last few years, Hoodia has fulfilled its promise as a safe way to "switch off" the appetite and has become a trusted ally in a well-designed plan to lose weight and enhance long-term vitality. Here's to the new you! Sincerely, Neil P.S. If you've got enough information and want to see the amazing properties of Hoodia gordonii for yourself, here's the hoodia supplement I recommend. If you want to learn more, keep reading! Next Page: My Hoodia Story.