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Hoodia

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This fact sheet provides basic information about hoodia—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.

 

Common Names:  hoodia, Kalahari cactus, Xhoba

Latin Name: 
Hoodia gordonii

Background

  • Hoodia is a flowering, cactus-like plant that grows in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. Historically, the San Bushmen used hoodia to suppress appetite.
  • Today, hoodia dietary supplements are used as an appetite suppressant for weight loss.
  • Hoodia is available as liquids, powders, tablets, and capsules. Some hoodia products also contain other herbs or minerals, such as green tea or chromium.

How Much Do We Know?

  • We know very little about hoodia because only one study of this herb has been done in people.

What Have We Learned?

  • In the one small study of hoodia in people, overweight women who took hoodia for 15 days didn’t lose more weight than those who took a placebo.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Little is known about the safety of hoodia. However, the one completed study in people raises concerns. In that study, participants taking hoodia had more side effects than those taking placebos, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and odd skin sensations; they also had increases in blood pressure and undesirable changes in some blood tests.
  • Whether hoodia interacts with medicines or other supplements is not known.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Toll-free in the U.S.: 
1-888-644-6226
TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers): 
1-866-464-3615
E-mail: 

PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ODS seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, supporting research, sharing research results, and educating the public. Its resources include publications (such as Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know), fact sheets on a variety of specific supplement ingredients and products (such as vitamin D and multivitamin/mineral supplements), and the PubMed Dietary Supplement Subset.

E-mail: 

Key References

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.

NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.
NCCIH Publication No.: 
D387
Updated: 
September 2016

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.


NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advise of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

nccih.nih.gov

This page last modified November 30, 2016