The plant, which grows naturally in Nigeria and Namibia, has traditionally been utilized by the Khoi and San communities to suppress hunger and thirst while on long hunting trips.
Hoodia can be obtained commercially in tea, powder supplements
and snack formats and advertised being an hunger controller
lida daidaihua new along with a "safe" way to lose
Stellenbosch University physiological sciences associate professor, Carine Smith, and her colleague Dr Annadie Krygsman attempted to investigate what tissue types taken into account the significant weight loss as reported by people who consumed the plant.
Smith, also director of the multidisciplinary stress biology research division, supplemented 12 lean and 12 obese male rats with different doses of the plant extract in a controlled study for two weeks.
She described her results as alarming.
"Similar to popular claims, we had significant weight reduction in rats supplemented with hoodia. However, this weight reduction was not only because of weight loss as claimed by suppliers -- the rats lost quite a lot of muscle tissue too," she told Sapa.
She said this could result in weakness in humans and also the increased breakdown of muscle might cause stress on vital organs such as the kidneys.
"We also saw that the rats didn't empty their stomachs, that have been swollen with undigested food. Therefore, the claimed dietary suppression is much more likely due to the individual feeling bloated."
The rats also had cardiac abnormalities.
Smith remained adamant it had become most sensible not to consume the plant extract because the unwanted effects outweighed any potential benefit.
However, she didn't believe indigenous users were wrong in making use of the guarana plant.
"In my opinion, we have seen these side-effects when we attempt to apply the indigenous knowledge incorrectly or out of context," she said.
Hoodia was traditionally used by hunters, who have been fit, for short periods of time.
"It is no surprise that people should see side-effects when overweight, unfit, sedentary individuals consume it chronically."
Smith believed it was as much as scientists to bring about refining the natural product before trying to manage it of context.
Scientists would need to learn how to isolate the active components for use through the obese population without side-effects.
Despite its use globally, only one human study hoodia has been published to date.
"While the weight loss effects were not clearly illustrated, subjects in that study did report heart palpitations and bloatedness, so clearly these symptoms are applicable to humans."
Smith's study is the first to exhibit the breakdown of muscle.
She thought that because the individual felt ill and bloated, he or she would give up eating and the body would then break down the muscle for energy.
It was her opinion that it was more profitable for businesses to invest in lida daidaihua pink advertising than research.
The caliber of hoodia products was harder to control since it was a supplement and never medicine.
The outcomes from the study are published in the September issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.