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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 171059, 6 pages
Research Article

Sympathomimetic Activity of a Hoodia gordonii Product: A Possible Mechanism of Cardiovascular Side Effects

1Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Szeged, Eötvös u. 6, Szeged 6720, Hungary
2Department of Pharmacodynamics and Biopharmacy, University of Szeged, Eötvös u. 6, Szeged 6720, Hungary

Received 12 April 2013; Revised 30 August 2013; Accepted 2 October 2013

Academic Editor: Gail B. Mahady

Copyright © 2013 Orsolya Roza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hoodia gordonii, a popular appetite suppressant, is widely used as an ingredient in many food supplements despite the fact that supporting scientific evidence is scarce. Recently alarming side effects of H. gordonii products (increased blood pressure and elevated pulse rate) have been reported. The aim of our study was to elucidate the underlying mechanism of these symptoms. A H. gordonii-containing product was tested for sympathomimetic activity. Isolated organ experiments on rat uterine rings revealed smooth muscle relaxant effect with a substantial component mediated through β-adrenergic receptors. Chromatographic comparison of the analyzed product and authentic plant material confirmed that the herbal product contained Hoodia spp. extract, and its cardiovascular effects may be linked to the compounds of the plant.