photo Leonora Enking / Flickr

Hoodia gordonii is a desert plant growing on the South African desert. The plant was willingly ingested by Kalahari bushmen until the rest of the world has heard about it. The bushmen used Hoodia to suppress appetite during long journeys. So can you do the same to lose weight?

The precious molecule P57
Hoodia doesn’t grow in the wild in many places over the world. Actually, there is the only one area we know – the Kalahari desert in Africa. The area is settled by the Kalahari bushmen who has been ingested the plant to reduce hunger. The claim had been tested in South African laboratory and found to be true. Hoodia can really prevent the feeling of hunger and the reason is the particular molecule, named P57 which is the active ingredient in the plant. P57 works similar to glucose and it communicates to the brain that your stomach is full, no matter if you have really eaten anything else or not. When your brain thinks you’re full, it doesn’t want you to eat anymore.
What’s more, there is no side effects of ingestion of Hoodia reported so far. However, those who have tasted the plant report it is rather bitter and unpleasant to eat.

A Hoodia pills without Hoodia
The molecule that is scientifically proved to reduce appetite sounds nice. Moreover, according to studies, taking Hoodia can end up with eating a thousand calories per day less. But it’s just the part of the truth when it comes to diet pills.

The only licensed producer of Hoodia supplements is Phytopharm which is teamed with Phizer – the pharmaceutical firm that have funded a huge part of the research on the plant. Unfortunately, Phizer doesn’t believe it is possible to produce pills consisting of the active ingredient in the plant as extracted P57 doesn’t work. After dozens of tries the company had given up but somehow Hoodia has become very popular and the products with the name of the plant on their labels are widely available over the world anyway.

Some studies show that lots of Hoodia supplements contain less than 0.1 percent of the active ingredient, which means they are not very effective. On the other hand, there are new pills still appearing in the market and it is not possible to test all of them so it’s hard to tell how big is your chance to buy supplements that work.

Grow your own Hoodia
There have been many tries to create a synthesized P57 molecule. I took Pfizer five years and absorbed millions of dollars but the company didn’t succeed. Another one to try was Unilever. This powerful food company also gave up after having spent a lot of money and wasted time.

One of the theories why synthesizing the molecule doesn’t work is that the P57 cannot be extracted, as it disintegrates in that state. Studies done by Unilever seem to confirm the assumption. They had gave the extract to a group of volunteers and saw no results. The volunteers didn’t lose weight or decrease number of calories intaken. It was the end of the Unilever’s adventure in South Africa.

Even still, there’s an effective and quite easy way to benefit from Hoodia gordonii. No company can simply harvest and sell wild Hoodia but there’s nothing illegal in just growing it on your own. Rumors says it is impossible to cultivate the plant outside the Africa but it’s just not true. The plant has been cultivated successfully in many regions. The good example is the Hoodia plantation in Cornwall England, where there’s hardly anything similar to hot, African desert around.

Another one to mention is Frank Fletcher who had grown Hoodia in a basement. Actually, the botanist had a dream to popularize the plant so it can be cultivated and used by regular families all over the world to help them control their appetite.

You can follow the idea as different kinds of hoodia are sold in a form of seeds or plants. If you are interested in cultivating your own diet garden, just look for the complete instructions that are easily available over the web.

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