Hoodia gordonii is a plant that is grown in South Africa. This plant has a centuries old reputation for suppressing hunger and thirst and was used by bushmen as a way to keep them from getting hungry and thirsty before they set off on long dessert trek. The bushman not only didn't show any ill effects from ingesting the plant they also spoke of increased vitality and energy. Drug companies have spent decades trying to isolate the compound that gives hoodia gordonii it's seemingly miraculous powers.
P57 is the compound in hoodia that is credited with helping to suppress appetite and thirst by tricking the brain into thinking it is full and satisfied thus decreasing the desire to eat and drink. While scientists have been unable to incorporate the compound into a diet supplement, they have used the hoodia plant as a whole to create beneficial appetite suppressants. The hoodia side effects have been shown to not exist at all.
There haven't really been too many documented studies to verify how safe the supplement is to use as a diet aid, but evidence suggests that it has no ill effects and that actually the health benefits of weight loss would seem to outweigh any potential negative side effects of the hoodia gordonii.
One note, since hoodia gordonii can suppress thirst as well as appetite you do need to be careful to drink enough water throughout your day. It's very easy to get dehydrated if you wait until you feel thirst before drinking, since you won't feel thirsty while taking the supplement. And, obviously, since hoodia suppresses the appetite it's important that you are careful to eat enough high nutrient foods to keep your body healthy.
As with most drugs, it's important to use caution if you are nursing or pregnant and you should always consult your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you are taking other medications, to avoid dangerous interactions. Many people mistakenly believe that as long as the product is all natural they don't have to worry about taking it, that is not always the case and it's better to be safe than sorry, talk to your doctor.
Another thing to keep in mind when using, or considering using, any weight loss supplements is to not expect miracles. There is nothing wrong with getting some extra help but you have to be willing to eat properly (enough of the right kinds of food) and get plenty of exercise. A supplement is exactly that: a supplement. It shouldn't be the do all end all of your weight loss plan, be willing to make the needed lifestyle changes so your weight loss can be permanent.
Hoodia gordonii is an all natural plant that can help you accomplish your weight loss goals (when combined with a proper nutrition plan and plenty of exercise) which has gained in popularity in recent years in large part due to the lack of hoodia side effects. As long as you talk to your doctor first and carefully following the dosing instructions, there is no evidence to suggest that you will have any negative side effects using this supplement. Good luck on your weight loss goals.