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Diet miracle from an African plant is a spam special

If you haven't heard of Hoodia yet, you must have a great spam filter on your e-mail.

The diet pill has been clogging computer screens across the continent since Lesley Stahl of CBS' "60 Minutes" told viewers in 2004 that it worked for her. This year, actor Joseph Gannascoli of HBO's "The Sopranos" said it helped him drop some of his pasta-fed girth.

The fuss is over a traditional remedy made from Hoodia gordonii, a cactus-like plant used for generations by the San people of southern Africa to stave off hunger during long hunting trips.

The South African government has patented the plant's active ingredient, enabling the San to share in future sales. (No earnings have materialized so far.) And now Slim-Fast maker Unilever hopes to reduce hunger pangs in this country by testing its safety and effectiveness.

ยป KRT Wire - Erika Engelhaupt - 14-07-2006

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