Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Today I was standing in line to get a flu shot in my local Duane Reade. (Don't EVEN start with me about me not needing a flu shot, I don't want to hear it. Your little arguments about how they should go to old people and people who really "need" them are lost on me. Ever since I got mono in college I get sick at the drop of a hat, and I don't want the flu. So I got a shot. Sue me. They were offering them in Duane Reade, they probably have enough to go around.)

So, as I was standing in line I was glancing at the products in the aisle I happened to be waiting in-- energy bars and diet pills. Awesome. Given that I'm not in the market for such products, I've never stopped to actually assess the available options. I was most intrigued by the large amounts of products that contain Hoodia. Many were Hoodia/green tea concoctions, mostly pills, and allll these products were for weight loss. Having never even heard of such a product, I decided to do a little research.

Apparently Hoodia is a diet suppressant from the South African cactus by the same name, discovered by the San Bushmen who use it on hunting trips when they don't have a lot of food. Also apparently there has been much publicity about said plant, particularly when a 60 Minutes correspondent went over to Africa to try some and hired local Bushmen to take them to find it. As if the stuff on the shelves of Duane Reade isn't good enough.

So anyhow, I guess it works. As with any of these herbal non-traditional "medicines," it has a lot to do with what's mixed with it (as in, it's often only trace amounts of Hoodia, mixed with lots of other non-efficacious filler products), who's making it, etc, but interestingly enough there is a lot of chatter about it. I don't gather that there are any scientific studies that have been done or that anyone knows what kind of long-term effects it causes. But, hey, I supposed people take far worse things without any thought to what its side effects may be, such as, say alcohol. Or think about the PhenFen diet, THAT wasn't such a good idea. So, maybe it would be an interesting thing to try. If I wanted to lose weight. But for now, I think I'll stick to running. And eating.

In any event, in case you didn't know, now you know.

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