Hoodia as an Aid to Natural Weight Loss
by Roy Thomsitt
What Is Hoodia? It has been several years now since hoodia became well known in the public domain. Television programs on both sides of the Atlantic in 2003 and 2004 saw to that.
If you have not heard of hoodia before, or have but do not really know what it is, let me explain... Hoodia is a cactus-like succulent. I have seen it described as an ugly cactus but as cacti go I would say it is about average in the looks department. Not that its looks really matter; you will not be going up to it and giving it a loving hug.
You might, however, want to give it a little bite, whether out of curiosity, or because you have heard it can help you lose weight. I should be a little more precise before I continue. The hoodia plant that has recently been associated with weight loss potential is hoodia gordonii, one of a large group of succulent plants called Asclepiadaceae.
How Can Hoodia Help You Lose Weight?
Hoodia Gordonii grows in the Kalahari desert in Africa, and has done for thousands of years. It clearly thrives in very high temperatures, but it also takes many years to mature. Also living in the same region are the San Tribesmen, or Bushmen. The San are amongst the world's oldest and most primitive tribes.
The San have been eating hoodia plants for thousands of years. Now, I am sure your vision of an African desert tribe would not be anything like obese Americans or Europeans, for whom hoodia has been mooted as a possible weight loss aid. In fact, you probably imagine quite the opposite, a lithe and slender people struggling to survive on desert morsels. You would be right...
How, then, can the San's inclusion of hoodia in their diet have anything to do with weight loss aids?
The answer is in the reason they have, for all those generations, been eating the hoodia cactus. Their quest for food in the shifting sands of the Kalahari Desert has always meant going on long hunting expeditions. Instant gratification for hunger pangs was not usually on the menu, so with their hunting trips lasting for days, they ate hoodia gordonii because it suppressed those hunger pangs for long periods. No hunger pangs meant no overwhelming desire to eat. That made the whole hunting process that much more bearable.
You are probably now beginning to see how hoodia might come to the aid of the obese and overweight. Those who have trouble controlling their eating urges may have a close ally in Hoodia Gordonii.
If a dose of the plant can suppress their desire to eat, to stop them feeling hungry at meal times, then surely they will find it easier to cut back on calorie intake?
That was the theory that sparked scientific studies of Hoodia Gordonii.
About the author: Roy Thomsitt, is the owner and co-author of the Routes To Self Improvement.