When it comes to losing weight, I'm very wary of appetite suppressants. For one, I don't think popping pills instead of eating is healthy whatsoever, and I also worry about the effects of these pills on the body.
One such pill, Hoodia gordonii (called hoodia for short), is gaining popularity. It's a cactus-like succulent plant only found in southern Africa, and it's been used for centuries by bushmen who needed to control their hunger on long journeys. South African scientists tested this plant and found it contains a molecule that seems to prevent hunger, which they call P57. The scientists patented this compound to use as a diet aid and licensed it to a British pharmaceutical company, Phytopharm. Scientists from Phytopharm say "P57 acts on the brain in a manner similar to glucose. It tricks the brain into thinking you are full even when you have not eaten. It reduces interest in food, and delays the time before hunger sets in." Interesting.
To find out if it's safe
Just so you know, hoodia has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. That means that all potential risks and advantages of hoodia may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds, so that means many of the diet pills that claim to contain hoodia may not contain any of this compound at all. Phytopharm is the only licensed producer of hoodia, and they have yet to make a product, so the hoodia pills in stores right now are most likely just a waste of money.
That info alone would make me steer clear of hoodia pills, but the choice is up to you. If you are thinking about taking hoodia (or any other diet pills for that matter), talk to your doctor first.