Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Apocynaceae (family), cactus, Ghaap, hoodia cactus, Hoodia gordonii, hoodia P57, Hoodoba®, Kalahari cactus, Kalahari diet, P57, South African desert cactus, South African hoodia, Xhoba, xhooba.
Hoodia is a genus in the plant family Apocynaceae. Although hoodia was introduced to the West in early 2004, the Bushmen of the Kalahari have been eating it for a long time to help ward off hunger and thirst during long trips in the desert.
Unlike ephedra, hoodia does not work as a stimulant; it acts as an appetite suppressant. The pharmaceutical company, Phytopharm, finds hoodia promising and is currently trying to isolate the appetite-suppressing molecule, P57, to create a patented diet drug in the future. P57 was at one time licensed to Pfizer for development, but was discontinued in 2003.
There are no available reliable human trials demonstrating efficacy and safety. BBC news reports from 2003 suggested that some samples of hoodia products sold on the Internet might show no evidence of containing actual hoodia.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Appetite suppressant, energy improvement, mood enhancement, nutritional deficiencies, thirst, weight reduction.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for hoodia. However, hoodia is popularly used for weight loss and dried extracts (20:1) with a dosage ranging from 400-800 milligrams daily have been used.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for hoodia in children, and use is not recommended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to hoodia.
Side Effects and Warnings
Currently, there is a lack of available information about the safety of hoodia. Hoodia is popularly used as a weight loss agent, and use may suppress appetite. Safety in children is unknown.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
The use of hoodia during pregnancy and breastfeeding should be avoided due to a lack of safety studies.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
There is not enough available scientific evidence to report drug interactions. However, hoodia is popularly used for weight loss and it may interact with other medications that are appetite suppressants.
Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements
There is not enough available scientific evidence to report herb and supplement interactions. However, hoodia is popularly used for weight loss and it may interact with other appetite suppressing herbs and supplements.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Butler G. Hoodia who? Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition 2005;267:90.
MacLean DB, Luo LG. Increased ATP content/production in the hypothalamus may be a signal for energy-sensing of satiety: studies of the anorectic mechanism of a plant steroidal glycoside. Brain Res 9-10-2004;1020(1-2):1-11. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017