Hoodia is a plant which resembles cactus in appearance. It grows largely in the semi-deserts of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. The effects of hoodia have been greatly marketed for weight loss and have become very popular in the last few years. Although there has always been a clear demand for diet pills and supplements but after the ban on the herb ephedra, the market is particularly open for the next new diet pill. Much of hoodia's fame originates from claims that the San Bushmen from the Kalahari Desert used hoodia for many years to get rid of hunger and thirst during long hunting trips.

They used to cut off the stem and eat the bitter-tasting portion of the plant. Hoodia grows in bunch of green vertical stems. Although it is usually called a cactus because of its resemblance with it, hoodia is in fact a succulent plant. The light purple flowers of the Hoodia Gordonii cactus like plant will be seen only after 4-5 years after planting. This is when you can harvest it.

The Hoodia plant comes in more than 13 varieties. The only active ingredient identified till now is a steroidal glycoside named as "p57" whose presence results in the desired slimming effects of hoodia. Currently, only hoodia gordonii is considered to contain p57. Recently, there were extensive reports that around 80% of Hoodia products available in the market contain fake Hoodia or Hoodia species that have been grown in Mexico or China.

It is vital to understand that only South African species Hoodia gordonii contains the active P57 molecule which plays a role to inhibit hunger. To know about its authenticity, it is advisable purchase it from companies that have accomplished tests and verifications from independent laboratories as well as certifications of authenticity of their marketed product.

Uptil now there is no clear scientific evidence that hoodia works as an suppressant of appetite in the humans, however animal research on hoodia is performed in which a purified extract of Hoodia gordonii, which contains a glycoside P57 as an active ingredient was directly injected directly into the brains of rats. The author of that research states that P57 was easily metabolized by the liver, so it might be hard to take it in enough amounts so as to ensure that it had an effect.

The main effect of P57 is that it mimics the effect of glucose, and fools the brain to consider that there is enough of glucose in your blood system. So when Hoodia is taken, P57 enters the blood stream, travels to different parts of the body including the brain and the brain receives the same message as when plenty of glucose is available in the body. This means that if you feel hungry in between the meals, and if you experience lack of energy because you are cutting down your food intake, Hoodia is the way out to your problems.

Hoodia not only gives the feeling of being full for the complete day but also maintains the energy level. One of the studies about the effects of Hoodia plant on humans shows that it could increase the levels of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) in a human body. ATP is an energy rich molecule present in the cells and it affects how hungry you feel. In another study Hoodia was given to obese people, and the results in weight loss were analyzed by comparing with another group of obese people who were given a placebo. The results showed that the group who took the plant managed to significantly to show the effects of hoodia as decrease their daily calorie intake, much more than the placebo group.

The advantageous effects of Hoodia over other diet pills is that it is a natural food supplement, and has no or very less negative side effects. As it is a natural product it can be incorporated as part of a healthy long term eating plan. Some of the studies have shown that because of its capability to fool the brain into thinking you are full, Hoodia trims down the body fat reserve which results in a drop in calorie intake, and allows you to eat a smaller amount while still feeling full and energetic. Because of this, Hoodia can therefore support in lessening the caloric intake of a person for as low as 800-1000 calories per day which has a very obvious effect.

A decrease in caloric intake will then force the body to exploit its fat reserves in order to generate energy for proper functioning of the body. It curbs the appetite very quickly. People have reported sensation of appetite suppression almost immediately upon taking Hoodia. The active ingredient present in Hoodia is around 10,000 times as active as sugar. People who are using pure Hoodia have shown weight loss of around 44 pounds in only 10 weeks and over 100 pounds in almost 6 months period. It helps you to manage over your eating by helping to hold back the craving to overeat.

This results in the weight loss without having to suffer through ruthless dieting or feelings of deficiency. It also helps to have a good feeling naturally as hoodia is a natural mood-enhancer. Hoodia being the natural product that it is, it will not give you the jitters, shakes or other unsafe side effects often seen in man-made diet pills. Although diet and routine exercise are not mandatory, it is still recommended along with hoodia to help in weight loss and particularly a combination of these would help you greatly making your diet work.

Hoodia is offered in a number forms like hoodia gree tea, liquid, tablets, powder etc but a more frequent preparation is in the form of a capsule. To have the maximum effects of Hoodia it is advisable to take take one dose an hour previous to the mealtime.

Until now studies haven't confirmed any side effects associated with intake of Hoodia; however, people who are lactating or pregnant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, allergies, and eating disorders are advised to discuss with their doctors prior to taking Hoodia products. In fact, anybody thinking of dramatically changing their diet in order to lose weight or needing to lose a lot of weight should first consult their doctor to ensure the steps they are thinking of making are not going to add to their health problems.

When consuming special products like slimming tea, then Hoodia products should not be consumed as this will result in malnutrition as you may end up not wanting to eat anything. At some point, as a result of very little food intake, the body may adjust to this by decreasing its metabolism and burning of calories and the ultimate effects of Hoodia may result in to weight gain instead.