Scientific Name/Common Name: Hoodia gordonii / Hoodia
Part(s) Used: Stems
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Steroidal glycosides (including P57), a variety of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates.
Overview: Hoodia is a traditional African cactus-like succulent plant that grows to over six feet tall known as Ghaap or Xhoba. For thousands of years, African tribesmen have eaten the succulent stems of Hoodia plants to stave off hunger and thirst on long hunting trips. Initial scientific research found that Hoodia’s potential appetite-suppressing active ingredient, dubbed P57, and was one of several steroidal glycosides in the cactus. Scientific studies in humans using standardized extracts have failed to find a weight loss or appetite suppressing effect though. Hoodia is a source of carbohydrates, various vitamins, and trace elements. The San bushmen who live around the Kalahari desert in southern Africa used to cut off a stem about the size of a cucumber and munch on it over a couple of days. According to tradition, the hunters did not eat while hunting so that they could bring back what they caught and eat together. It is currently on a list of species at risk for endangerment, restricting the way it is harvested and sold.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: As a famine food while on long desert hunting trips.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blom WA, et al. Effects of 15-d repeated consumption of Hoodia gordonii purified extract on safety, ad libitum energy intake, and body weight in healthy, overweight women: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Nov;94(5):1171-81.
Hoodia species as a source of essential micronutrients. FASEB Journal VOL. 16 NO. 4 March 20, 2002 PP. A654.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.