Does Hoodia Gordonii Really Work?

Does Hoodia Gordonii Really Work?
Does it realy work?

Hoodia GordoniiIn 2003, Hoodia Gordonii was introduced to the world thanks to a BBC report. Suggested to me an all natural appetite suppressant, the reports made it as far as the United States the next year when 60 Minutes Correspondent Leslie Stahl traveled with a crew to South Africa, hired a local Bushman to find this miracle cure, then gave it a try.

Stahl claimed to have lost the desire to eat and drink for the remainder of the day. More reports from talk show hosts across the world followed, and this little plant even ended up with a report from Oprah’s magazine. Understanding the plant, though, is the key to deciding if the claims are true.

What Is Hoodia?
Hoodia Gordonii is cactus-like succulent plant that grows in semi-deserts of South Africa. Throughout history, there are endless claims that the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert used the plant in order to sustain themselves through long trips across the desert.   The plant itself is really quite interesting. It takes about five years for it to flower and maintain the capacity to be harvested.

Thanks to the media attention, thousands of follow up studies were done, and some of them went so far as to suggest that the extract suppressed hunger in rats when injected directly into the brain. Of the thirteen types of hoodia studied, the active ingredient that is supposed to deter appetite is known as steroidal glycoside, now patented as “p57”. Currently, there have been no official confirmations from the scientific or medical community as a whole that the plant or p57 can successfully suppress the appetite of humans through oral consumption.


Phytopharm, the manufacturer credited to patenting “p57” does cite a test done on eighteen human volunteers, resulting in an average intake of one-thousand less calories per day when consuming diet pills that contained hoodia, compared to the placebo group, which reported regular consumption.  This test was never published, nor was it subjected to a peer review, making its findings substantial, but not scientifically proven.

Along with a lack of scientific publications, the FDA has refused to recognize hoodia as an actual safe, organic dietary supplement.  Despite that, though, these days, hoodia diet pills can be found across the country, and thousands have claimed weight loss success thanks to the plant.

What are the Marketed Benefits Of Hoodia?
After its press debut, hoodia gordonii became a cornerstone for certain American dietary supplement companies.  Supposedly, this all-natural substance can completely block your hunger receptors, leaving you free of cravings. There are several international manufacturers of hoodia diet pills pressing claims that the extract alone does indeed suppress human appetites. This, if consumed correctly, could lead to massive weight loss for millions of overweight individuals.

Many companies are running in to walls with their marketing, though, as the industry is becoming burdened with lawsuits. Apparently some of pills being marketed actually lack the active ingredient known as “p57”, and therefore have no natural effect on human appetites. It can be found quite prevalently in natural and health food stores, online and in actual storefronts, in the form of pills, powder, and tea.

So Does Hoodia Gordonii Really Work?

This cactus-like plant, indigenous to the semi-deserts of South Africa and surrounded by claims that it has been used for hundreds of years by the San Bushmen to suppress appetite is still surrounded by a cloud of doubt.  While injecting it directly in the appetite center of a rat brain it does seem to curb the need to eat, there is still no conclusive scientific publication suggesting similar effects through human consumption.

The eighteen human volunteers seem to have answered the question for Phytopharm, but no official statements have been made.  While Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes and her crew felt that they experienced the answer as well, the lack of official documentation remains.

Dietary marketing companies have made their minds up too, as have organic health proponents and natural food stores.  Even so, the question of whether Hoodia Gordonii truly works for the everyday consumer remains, and probably will until the scientific and medical communities get on board.

What Do You Think? Does Hoodia Gordonii Really Work?


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

andres Vargas July 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm

This is an example of marketing manipulation at its finest. They were obviously willing to go all out and spend what must have been lots of money in what can only be described as a propaganda campaign. The spurious claims are completely meaningless. Even if this woman who went to the bush did experience some suppression of appetite, there is no reason to believe that this would be the same effect for anyone else. The variables are almost endless, and no objective statement could ever be rendered regarding the effectiveness of a drug like this without massive, double blind studies performed in controlled scientific conditions over the course of years. PLEASE DO NOT BUY THIS STUFF.

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Barb July 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I watched one of the doctor talk shows on TV and Hoodia was being highly promoted as a “must have” product if you were trying to lose weight. I debated about ordering a bottle, but since I’m so tired of carrying this extra weight around, I decided to give it a try. First of all, Hoodia is not cheap! I faithfully took Hoodia for three days. Upon the third day I began to have stomach issues. I ended up calling my doctor’s office and he felt it was the Hoodia that was doing it to me. He also said that there has been a lot of “hype” about Hoodia Gordonii, but not real evidence that it is a wonder drug. He advised me to stop taking it and stick with a healthy meal. So, user beware!

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John October 1, 2016 at 3:16 am

The majority of weight loss success depends on the frame of mind of the person. If they are convinced the product will work for them then they are likely to lose some weight regardless of whether the actual product they are using works or not. Some wide scale positive marketing with lots of claims help to feed the public with hope for good weight loss results. Does Hoodia work – maybe just a tiny little bit – the rest is the power of the mind.

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