Efficacy and toxicity of Hoodia gordonii commercial powder used to combat obesity

C.A. Pereira L.L.S. Pereira A.D. Corrêa N.R.B. Raposo S.B.R. Castro About the authors

Obesity is currently the main health problem in developed and developing countries. Several therapeutic methods have been employed for the treatment of obesity, especially herbal medicines, highlighted by popular knowledge. In this context, the plant Hoodia gordonii has currently aroused great interest worldwide, especially for recent discoveries and scientific proof of inhibition of appetite and thirst by the active glycoside P57 isolated from plant species. Nevertheless, such effects have not been evaluated and proven for commercial samples of H. gordonii powder (PHG), with no scientific evidence to ensure its effectiveness and safety. Therefore, the aim of this study was to conduct biological tests with rats to evaluate the pharmacological activity and toxicity of commercial samples of H. gordonii powder. The samples were administered through gavage, at doses equivalent to 20 times those recommended for humans, in female Wistar rats during 4 weeks for evaluation of the parameters indicative of therapeutic efficacy. After 4 weeks, the animals were sacrificed and blood and organ samples were collected and subjected to the evaluation of metabolic, endocrine, hematological and histopathological indicators. Results showed that for all evaluated parameters, there were no significant differences between the control group that only received sterile saline solution and the groups treated with PHG, indicating that the latter, although presenting no evidence of toxicity, are unable to produce the alleged effects of appetite inhibition and subsequent obesity treatment.

Hoodia; efficacy; toxicity; obesity

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