The Science of Hoodia
Government researchers in South Africa have focused on compounds called sterol glycosides, present in Hoodia gordonii. Hoodia gordonii whole powder contains fiber, organic material, antioxidants, and biologically active substances. The pharmaceutical industry has been so impressed by research findings with Hoodia gordonii that there have been multi-million dollar deals to try to make drugs or food additives from constituents of Hoodia gordonii. Making a drug from Hoodia is not consistent with its traditional use as an appetite suppressant by native South Africans.
The consumption of Hoodia gordonii over thousands of years by the San bushmen creates a great precedent for the safety of the Hoodia plant, but it does not create precedence for the safety or effectiveness of a “drug derivative”. Hoodia does not contain dangerous stimulant molecules, but it does contain substances that may mimic the effects of glucose on nerve cells in the brain. Controlled clinical and laboratory experiments show much promise of Hoodia for weight control. Some experiments have shown that obese people taking Hoodia have reduced their calorie intake by an amazing amount of one thousand calories per day.