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Hoodia Gordonii: Appetite Suppressant or Big Controversy?

The South African plant supposedly bears calorie-cutting properties, but are its benefits real–and is the product you're buying ultimately a placebo? 

Hoodia Gordonii, or “Hoodia,” is an immensely popular diet product that one can buy either online or in health food shops. Herbal based, it is generally viewed as one of the major appetite suppressants available on the market today. First used by indigenous South African tribesmen who appreciated the properties of the drug, it helped them suppress hunger on long hunting treks and it has now become one of the blockbuster Hoodia diet products.

However, due to its success, Hoodia has also become a drug that has been “faked.” The growing concern is that many vendors, whether online or in the high street, are not selling Hoodia, but are instead offering a product that is at best useless and at worst damaging to the consumer.

If you actually search online for Hoodia in the form of a tablet, you will find literally hundreds of sites that offer the drug, while at the same time stating that you should not buy from their competitors, who are offering fake Hoodia. The market has thus become quite saturated with companies who are offering counterfeit products, which undermines the good work done by those companies that offer Hoodia legitimately.

It is generally believed that a possible 80 percent of the Hoodia that is available on the market today is not real, but is instead a fake version of the drug. The reason why there is counterfeit Hoodia on the market is due to the fact that Hoodia is actually very difficult to grow. Remember that it grows on a desert area. The plant itself can take four to five years to grow to the point where it can be used in the drug. Makers of the drug and sellers of the drug are therefore in a market where the product is not always readily available. Therefore, fake Hoodia prevails.

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) have made it so that trading in Hoodia is difficult, too. There are strict controls on Hoodia, and there have been such controls in place since 2004. These controls mean that one cannot trade in Hoodia unless one has a certificate. However, it is suspected that some unscrupulous traders trade with fake certificates.  

One other problem associated with Hoodia is that is generally agreed to be very difficult indeed to clarify whether a Hoodia product actually contains the ingredients found in the herb.  

There are ways to know that what you are buying is legitimate. Essentially, Hoodia contains p57. This is the bottom line, and if what you are taking contains this vital ingredient, you are taking Hoodia. The p57 agent is proven to work against the appetite.  

When one bears in mind that there are no real medical problems associated with use of the plant and its extracts among the original users, one can see that the drug is actually very safe.

The indigenous South African people used the drug on a regular basis many years ago, and continue to do so today. There have been no ill health events reported, and users of the plant generally agree that it does a very good job of suppressing their appetite.

Hoodia is of course recommended to be used alongside medical advice. Anyone who does not consult with a doctor when taking on a new diet plan is running the risk of damaging their bodies, anyway. Using Hoodia is only recommended when you have consulted with your physician, because they know your dietary requirements and your history. There is absolutely no substitute for good diet and good exercise combined, and Hoodia has a place in this scheme, but consult with your doctor and see what he or she has to say.

The first thing to do when considering buying a Hoodia product is to look for the CITES documentation that should come along with the product. If this is present, whether in virtual form or in the packaging, you have a genuine product. Also bear in mind that real Hoodia Gordonii looks like a fine, brown powder when it is presented as a medicine. This of course does not resemble the original plant in any way. Again, use the product wisely, and if you are in any doubt about any aspect of your Hoodia experience, consult your doctor.

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