Search for Hoodia on Google, and there are no less than 20 paid advertisements for Hoodia diet pills adorning the page. The web is littered with Hoodia web sites all touting the latest herbal extract.
The San Bushmen of the Kalahari, one of the world’s oldest and most primitive tribes, had been eating the Hoodia for thousands of years, to stave off hunger during long hunting trips.
Hoodia contains a molecule (called P.57) that appears to have a profound affect on suppressing hunger – and with this no apparent side effects:
What the Hoodia seems to contain is a molecule that is about 10,000 times as active as glucose.
“It goes to the mid-brain and actually makes those nerve cells fire as if you were full. But you have not eaten. Nor do you want to.”
Phytopharm (an English pharmaceutical company) obtained the license to Hoodia, which was then sold on to giant company Unilever.
The Hoodia Controversy
If Unilever has not yet begun to market its product why are so many companies selling Hoodia pills? A 60 minutes report also outlined that while it was possible to make synthetic Hoodia, it was just too expensive:
“We’ve made milligrams of it. But it’s very expensive. It’s not possible to make it synthetically in what’s called a scalable process. So we couldn’t make a metric ton of it or something that is the sort of quantity you’d need to actually start doing something about obesity in thousands of people.”
Apparently the only viable alternative is to grow Hoodia commercially, and extract the active ingredient from the harvested plant.