The South African Hoodia Gordonii Cactus is known by many names. It is called xshoba or xhooba by the San Bushmen who have used it to treat indigestion, minor skin infections and as an appetite and thirst suppressant during long hunts. The scientific name is Hoodia Gordonii. It is actually a succulent so the names Hoodia cactus and South African desert cactus are actually misnomers, but they are commonly used. The plant resembles a cactus when seen growing wild in the Kalahari Desert.
There are problems associated with growing the South African Hoodia cactus for commercial purposes. First, logically, is temperature. In order to thrive the Hoodia cactus requires desert like temperatures. Second is time. It takes four or five years for the African Hoodia Gordonii cactus to reach full maturity. Quantities of the wild plant are extremely limited and are protected by the governments of South Africa from harvesting. Phytopharm, the first company to research the properties of the African hoodia cactus, has established plantations in South Africa, but will not begin to sell their patented product for at least a couple of years.
It is important to note that there are more than twenty different varieties of hoodia, but only Hoodia Gordonii is believed to contain the natural appetite suppressant. Some companies may be selling products that are purported to contain the African hoodia cactus, but if it is not Hoodia Gordonii, then it may not work. As with all health supplements, it is best to buy hoodia products from a reputable company that sells a complete line of products. In addition, dieters are advised to remember to drink plenty of water since hoodia suppresses thirst, as well as appetite.
By any name, the African hoodia cactus is a beautiful plant. Flowers are pale purple and appear after the plant reaches maturity. Even though dieters would love to have a large immediate supply, it is important to protect the wild African hoodia cactus from over-harvesting, so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.