The Amazing Hoodia Plant
by Patsy Hamilton.
While there are nurseries that may advertise the hoodia plant for sale, this is not the hoodia gordonii variety which contains the natural appetite suppressant.
Hoodia is a genus in the plant family Apocynaceae. Advertisements which reference the appetite suppressing abilities of the hoodia plant are referring to the hoodia gordonii species. This is the only species on which research has been done to this date. Any website, nursery or other company which advertises that they have a hoodia plant for sale is referring to the typical garden variety of hoodia plant.
Though the hoodia plant is commonly referred to as a cactus, it is actually a succulent. Succulents and cacti are very similar plants and it is relatively difficult for anyone other than a botanist to tell the difference. There are a few differences which may help consumers distinguish the hoodia plant from some form of cactus. The major one is country of origin. An advertisement which offers a hoodia plant for sale and lists the country of origin somewhere in North or South America is probably selling some sort of cactus.
The hoodia plant is native to the continent of Africa. As an interesting note, only one form of cactus grows wild in Africa. Botanists believe that the cactus did not develop until after the continents drifted apart millions of years ago. Succulents are found on most continents and are believed to have developed before the continental drift. Any hoodia plant which was not imported from Africa is not a genuine hoodia plant.
Offering a wild hoodia plant for sale in many countries in South Africa is illegal. The hoodia plant has been placed on a protected status due to the large publicity it has received for its natural appetite suppressing abilities. Many South African farmers have begun to cultivate the hoodia plant for sale to health supplement companies throughout the world. A special license is required to export the hoodia plant, since wild stands are practically depleted. This is referred to as a CITES certification. Most health supplement companies which are licensed to export hoodia gordonii will display their CITES certification in order to support the claim that their product contains genuine hoodia gordonii. This became necessary after several companies offering hoodia for sale were found to be scammers.
Another factor which may help a consumer distinguish between the gordonii variety of the hoodia plant and some other hoodia plant for sale is price. Currently, as of April 2006, sources say that authentic hoodia gordonii is selling for $300/kg on the open market. This price is expected to go up as supplies become more and more limited. The gordonii species of the hoodia plant is difficult to grow and requires four or five years to reach maturity. It also has a very strong smell. Some companies are developing their own hoodia plantations in Africa to guarantee their continued supply of product.
It may be years before Phytopharm, the British pharmaceutical company which holds a patent on the isolated active molecule in hoodia gordonii, releases its product to the world. There are a few reputable health supplement companies that deal exclusively in herbs and other natural products which offer the powdered form of hoodia for sale to dieters. One such product is Hoodia XR. Hoodia XR has received positive reviews from dieters, offers a money back guarantee on unused portions and contains 1000mg of powdered hoodia gordonii in a time released capsule. The best advice for dieters not willing to wait for the Phytopharm product is to do a little research on the health supplement company and be wary of anyone offering the hoodia plant for sale.
For more information about the hoodia plant and to view pictures of different varieties of hoodia, visit the Hoodia Info Blog.