The San tribes people of the Kalahari Desert in Africa have been eating Hoodia gordonii for centuries to reduce hunger and thirst on long hunting trips of several days duration. But it wasn't until recently that this near mythical desert plant seemed to become an over-night star as a weight loss aid in the dietary supplement world. Hoodia has been found to be a safe and completely natural plant food that suppresses hunger while providing an excellent source of energy. Although it looks like a small cactus, Hoodia is actually a milkweed and is classified as a succulent. While on the hunt, the Bushmen cut cucumber-sized chunks of Hoodia and chew on the pulpy flesh to satisfy hunger or prevent hunger and even stave off thirst. In a recent New York Times article, a Bushman was quoted as saying that Hoodia gave tribal members enough energy to walk all day or make love all night, and it cured a hangover or settled an upset stomach. Beware of Inferior Versions: Although Hoodia is taking the diet world by storm, consumers must be aware of inferior versions. Hoodia has been identified to contain a steroidal glycoside and is said to directly stimulate the hypothalamus, a gland that controls vital brain and hormonal functions. It "tricks" the body into thinking it's full. In actuality though, Hoodia gordonii works by releasing a chemical compound similar to glucose (a direct source of energy) but much stronger. The hypothalamus receives this signal as an indication that enough food has been consumed and thus the user's appetite is satisfied. In conclusion, researchers have ascertained that this unique diet aid from the desert, with its rich history of use and safety, is a powerful energy source that will quickly take your craving for food away while leaving you feeling more mentally alert and energized, without jittery side effects effects.