Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant found in certain parts of Africa, and is mainly used for making weight loss supplements. One can expect to experience a few minor side effects while using this herb, especially if it is not taken with adequate care.
Hoodia is the name of the genus that includes 13 species of flowering plants, which belong to the plant family, Apocynaceae. The plants of this genus are succulent plants, and they greatly resemble the plants of the cactus family. They usually reach a height of 1 m, and produce large flowers with strong smell.
Some of these plants are widely grown in gardens. However, the species that we are going to discuss in this article is known mainly for its medicinal properties. This species is known as Hoodia gordonii. It is being studied extensively for its appetite suppressing properties. The plant is native to South Africa and Namibia, and today, it is widely promoted as a supplement for weight loss. As a weight loss supplement, it is widely available in the form of powder, diet pills, and patches.
This plant has been used by the South African Bushmen to suppress their appetite while going on a hunting trip that can extend for several days. When this unique property of the plant was unveiled, its supplements flooded the market of the United States in 2004. Since then, its popularity has been rising rapidly. One of the main reasons why people fail to lose weight is that they eat more calories than what the body needs to carry out its vital functions. Therefore, it is necessary to control the total calorie intake in order to lose weight, and hoodia is claimed to be quite helpful in this regard.
It can control hunger by acting as an appetite suppressant. It is believed that this herb can target the satiety center of the brain located in the hypothalamus. It can stimulate the release of a compound that is similar to glucose. As a result, the hypothalamus transmits the signal to the brain that enough food has been consumed. This is how this herb can decrease appetite or control hunger. However, it is important to note that there are not enough concrete evidence to support the proclaimed appetite suppressing effect of this herb.
Till now, hoodia has not been reported to cause any serious side effect. However, this herb can suppress thirst along with reducing appetite. This can lead to dehydration, if someone does not drink enough water while taking this herb or its supplements. Another important point to be noted is that appetite suppression can cause a person to not eat enough food. This can deprive the body of the essential nutrients required for the smooth operation of the vital life processes.
Diabetic patients need to be more careful while taking hoodia or any other supplements for weight loss. Such supplements can decrease appetite to reduce the consumption of food, which in turn, can affect the level of blood sugar. Hoodia can affect the functions of the liver, and it may interact with certain medications. However, not much is known about its interaction with other medications.
It is not possible to maintain an ideal body weight, without a balanced diet and regular physical activities. As far as the weight loss supplements are concerned, be sure to buy these from reputed manufacturers, as a large number of false supplements have already flooded the market. Such adulterated products can produce some additional side effects, other than those discussed in this article. Lastly, it is always advisable to take any kind of supplements only after consulting a health care provider.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.