Hoodia: The Weight Loss Herb

Too good to be true? You’ve curbed your voracious appetite and lost excess weight

without feeling the hunger pangs and without the potentially dangerous side effects of

diet pills such as a racing heart, diarrhea and nausea. Herbalists and doctors believe a

herbal plant called Hoodia, might help obese and overweight patients shed excess

pounds. Obesity is fast becoming an epidemic and many people fight a losing battle to

reach and remain a healthy weight, due to disorders such as diabetes and thyroid

conditions, genetics or lifestyle choices.

Discovered thousands of years ago by the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, Hoodia

gordonii is a cactus-like plant that thrives in the hot, dry climates of South Africa,

Namibia and Botswana. Considered a protected plant, in danger of over-harvestation and

extinction, the fifteen species of hoodia can grow up to a meter high and have large,

pungent smelling flowers. Common local names for this hoodia include ‘Queen of the

Namin’ and ‘Bushman’s Hat.’

The Bushmen of the Kalahari, or San people as they are known today, are one of the

oldest existing tribal peoples in the world. They have used the herb to cope with hunger

and thirst in the harsh desert environments for generations. While hunting, traveling or

when food was in short supply, the San would chew on a stem of the plant. The hoodia

was able to elevate energy levels and reduce hunger until they returned home to their