What is Hoodia Cactus?
Hoodia Cactus is a cucumber sized, fairly unattractive, cactus plant, which originates from South Africa, mostly from the Kalahari Desert. It takes at least 5-7 years to mature and thrives in extremely high temperatures. Its real full name is Hoodia Gordonii, and it can grow to over six metres tall!
This cactus contains a molecule which has never been found before its discovery within the cactus, which was named p 57. This molecule has a unique quality; it fools the nerve cells within the brain which sense glucose levels. The glucose levels in the brain make you feel full, and this Hoodia molecule fools the brain to think that its glucose levels are high, and therefore stops the brains signals which tell you, you are hungry. Therefore you feel full, and your hunger cravings then cease.
There is a catch with the Hoodia Cactus plant though. For it to have its optimum effect on suppressing appetite it must be grown within the Kalahari Desert or at least the equivalent (most have been unsuccessful in trying to imitate it), as it needs the exact temperature and soil from the Kalahari to survive.
What is the history of Hoodia Cactus?
This amazing cactus is found in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa which is home to the San Bushmen of Kalahari. These Bushmen are one of the oldest tribes alive, and have been eating the Hoodia Cactus for centuries, to suppress their thirst and hunger on long hunting trips.
The amazing molecule of the Hoodia Cactus was found out by accident by the council for scientific industrial research (CSIR) when they were conducting a study on the Bushmen's diet. The Hoodia Cactus was screened for its toxicity, but they found that it was not toxic, and that in fact it had the ability to suppress hunger and thirst. This is when the bushman's secret of Hoodia was found out. The Bushmen did not get any credit from this discovery, even though it was them who first discovered it ability, until a landmark court case stated that they were to receive royalties every time any company sold Hoodia cactus as a hunger suppressant. This was a fair out come as it was the San Bushmen who discovered its ability.
Hoodia is now used as a weight loss supplement and sold by many companies around the world. Its unique molecule holds the key to helping weight loss and has had many beneficial effects for many people around the world. It is now one of the most popular diet supplements sold around the world.
What problems can Hoodia Cactus help?
Hoodia Cactus is usually only taken for one thing, weight loss. It helps you to lose weight by fooling your brain cells into thinking that your glucose levels are high, therefore sending out signals that tell you that you are full. This then stops the hunger cravings that you experience. These hunger cravings are known as hormonal hunger cravings as they are not real hunger cravings; they are when your glucose levels are unbalanced, not when you actually need to eat to survive. Hoodia Cactus does not stop your real hunger cravings, because these will not be fooled by the Hoodia's special molecule in the brain, as it knows it needs food to survive.
Although mostly used as a hunger craving remedy Hoodia Cactus can be used for other symptoms as well. It also quenches your thirst, although not many people use it for this, as drinking enough fluids is important for your body to survive, it has been used for this by the San Bushmen.
Hoodia Cactus also has the ability to enhance and provide energy, which is why the San Bushmen have used the plant for centuries to help them continue on long hunting trips. It could help to provide you with energy, and some people have used it for this purpose.
What scientific research has been done on Hoodia Cactus?
There have been many studies that have shown Hoodia's unique qualities as a hunger suppressant, but the first was probably in 1996 when the CSIR discovered its benefits by mistake. This study revealed Hoodia's secret ingredient which is a molecule called P 57, which was found to fool the brain into thinking it was full.
There has been other evidence in pharmaceutical trials on humans that this unique molecule P 57 has the ability to fool the brain into thinking it is full, and has shown that in obese people, it has reduced their calorie intake by 1000 calories per day! This is a significant amount, as our average daily intake of calories should be around 2000 calories per day.
Clinical trials performed on rats, which are known for eating anything and everything, showed to suppress their appetite after been given Hoodia Cactus. They were not hungry for a long period of time, which was unusual for this animal, and was exceptional and unique as far as results go on testing the rats.
Other trials that have been conducted on humans, who are obese, showed that within one month their calorie intake had reduced by 35% a day. This is a significant percentage to reduce per day, and has shown beneficial results in most people.
Is Hoodia Cactus safe to use?
Hoodia Cactus has so far shown no side effects at all in humans. The San Bushmen have been using this plant for centuries to help suppress their hunger, and essentially to keep them alive. This showed no side effects on the tribesmen, although we must remember they are adapted to the harsh conditions of the Kalahari Desert.
Nearly all clinical trials have shown Hoodia Cactus to have no side effects, but of course every person is different, and if you have any symptoms which could be a side effect then stop taking it straight away, and consult your doctor. Hoodia Cactus is also a natural supplement so we should remember that it could cause some reactions.
Who shouldn't take Hoodia Cactus?
So far Hoodia has had no known side effects to anyone who has taken it before, and has been deemed safe. Although it may not be suitable for children, so always consult your doctor if you want your children to take Hoodia Cactus.
People who are taking certain medicines should consult with their doctor before taking Hoodia, to make sure that it is safe to use.
Is Hoodia safe to take with other products?
Some drugs may interact with Hoodia Cactus. If you are diabetic and take insulin to control your blood sugar levels then you should consult your doctor before you take Hoodia. If you suffer from any heart problems and are taking heart medication then you should also consult your doctor before taking Hoodia Cactus. Any blood clotting medicine may also have interactions if taken with Hoodia to and should be checked first with a doctor.
People who suffer from any sort of eating disorder such as anorexia, and bulimia should not take Hoodia either before consulting their doctor first or with the advice from their doctor.
What is doctor's response to Hoodia Cactus?
Doctors have noted Hoodia's capability as a weight suppressant, and have been involved in trials with Hoodia Cactus, monitoring people's weight reduction. Most doctors will help you to choose a natural supplement in helping to deal with your weight control, and will support your decision to take them. It is important to discuss alternative medication with your doctor, as they will recommend the best one for you, and although many think their doctor will not approve, most doctors today do approve of taking natural supplements to help some conditions.
Many doctors have been involved in numerous positive trials that have been conducted on Hoodia Cactus, and like many others have been impressed with the findings. Also some doctors have studied the San Bushmen who have used Hoodia for centuries to help suppress hunger, and thirst.
Dosage, how much should I take?
An average dose of Hoodia cactus per day is around 250mg. There are various dosage options around and you should see which one is right for you. Your doctor can help you to choose the right dosage for you.
Are there any side effects or warning?
There are no known side effects of Hoodia Cactus, but as mentioned above if you are on certain medications, or suffer from certain conditions then you should always consult your doctor beforehand.
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