Hoodia is used as an appetite suppressant.

Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant that only grows in the wild in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. It has long been used by the San who claim that chewing on it satisfies their thirst and hunger and gives them extra stamina and energy when undertaking long journeys.

What are its health benefits?

Hoodia extract is a sold as a dietary supplement, as it is said to suppress appetite naturally, working in the same way glucose does (only much more powerfully and without the kilojoules) by sending messages to the brain that the body is full. The active ingredient P57 was isolated by South African researchers.

It also contains minerals and trace elements, making it an overall herbal tonic. 

A hoodia supplement may have the following benefits:

  • Assists in weight-loss
  • Assists in the replenishment of energy, minerals and trace elements

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

A serving of raw hoodia is 35g obtained from a 250g portion of the whole plant. Dried extracts are recommended with a dosage of 400 to 800mg daily.

Warnings

As a dietary supplement, hoodia should not be used:

  • By children
  • During pregnancy or while breastfeeding
  • If you are within a normal (healthy) weight range
  • By anyone suffering from an eating disorder

Reduced kilojoule intake can also affect those with diabetes. Always check with your doctor or Clicks pharmacist before taking supplements with any existing medications and/or conditions.

The hoodia plant takes between four and seven years to mature and for its active ingredient P57 to be effective. You should take care when purchasing a product that claims to contain hoodia, and should always check the manufacturer’s credentials.

Possible side effects

Side effects could include:

  • Appetite suppression
  • Thirst suppression

Note: The side effects have not been fully studied and therefore are not conclusive, but anyone within a normal weight range for their age and height, as well as anyone suffering from an eating disorder could induce further unhealthy and unnecessary weight loss when taking hoodia.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015