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Hoodia is a non-prescription weight loss product. It is an herbal supplement that is believed to work by suppressing the appetite. While some testimonials show the product to be effective, no research has actually been published on its safety and effectiveness. Since hoodia hasn't been studied extensively, dosing information and potential side effects are also not known at this time.

What Is Hoodia?

Hoodia is an herbal supplement usually marketed as a weight loss product. It is a cactus-like plant that grows in South Africa. There are actually several different varieties of this plant, although only a particular one (Hoodia gordonii) has shown promise as a weight loss aid.
 
(Click Hoodia Uses for more information.)
 

Which Products Contain It?

Currently, a large number of products claim to contain hoodia. However, the plant is not grown easily or quickly, and it is protected under an international agreement that regulates how certain native plants can be used in order to protect them from overharvesting, which could threaten their survival. Therefore, a limited supply is available, and there have been several reports that many marketed supplements contain little or no hoodia at all.
 
Currently, Phytopharm (a well-respected supplement manufacturer) holds the patent for p57 (a compound that is thought to be the active ingredient of hoodia). At one time, Phytopharm licensed the patent to Pfizer, although Pfizer has since returned the rights to Phytopharm. At this time, Phytopharm has licensed the patent to another company (Unilever). Also, a certain group of native people in South Africa have the intellectual property rights for the use of hoodia to control appetite.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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