Hoodia Gordonii is currently being used in a whole manner of products from chewing gum to lip gloss to a daily weight management supplement. But who actually knows what it is and why is this plant suddenly becoming so desirable?
As the story goes…
The Hoodia plant looks like a small cactus, and is thought to have been used for thousands of years by the San people. The San people, native to the Kalahari Desert, relied on the Hoodia Gordonii plant to sustain them during their long hunting trips.
Whilst not supported by scientific studies, the story goes that cutting off the spine of the plant to eat the innards and drink the white latex helped to ward of hunger and thirst while simultaneously supporting energy levels.1
One person’s experience
One BBC reporter took it upon himself to travel all the way to the Kalahari Desert to find the plant himself. He said that he travelled four hours north of Capetown, where he eventually found the strange looking plant. It had ten spiky tentacles and measured the size of a long cucumber.
After carefully peeling the spikes, both he and his cameraman both ate a piece roughly the size of half a banana. They drove back to Capetown – skipping dinner – before heading to bed. They woke up the next morning not wanting breakfast, but partial to full appetite returned slowly after 24 hours2.
More is yet to be discovered about Hoodia Gordonii, but these tales are enough to entice intrigue about the potential of the plant. The fact that it has been used for thousands of years by a tribe in the Kalahari is fascinating, and it is likely that more insights will be revealed in the future.
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