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General Information

Hoodia is a flowering, cactus-like plant native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Its harvest is protected by conservation laws.

Common Name(s)

hoodia, Kalahari cactus, Xhoba

Scientific Name(s)

Hoodia gordonii

Scientific Name(s)

Dried extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredients of hoodia stems and roots are used to make capsules, powders, and chewable tablets. Hoodia can also be used in liquid extracts and teas.
Hoodia products often contain other herbs or minerals, such as green tea or chromium picolinate.

What is this product used for?

Kalahari Bushmen have traditionally eaten hoodia stems to reduce their hunger and thirst during long hunts.

Today, hoodia is marketed as an appetite suppressant for weight loss.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

There is no reliable scientific evidence to support the use of hoodia. No studies of the herb in people have been published.

Hoodia's safety is unknown. Its potential risks, side effects, and interactions with medicines and other supplements have not been studied.

The quality of hoodia products varies widely. News reports suggest that some products sold as hoodia do not contain any hoodia.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


1. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Hoodia. Accessed 12 September 2014

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