While Hoodia supplements are popular at present for its hunger suppressant abilities, the danger of plant extinction is imminent if the exportation of the plant from Namibia and South Africa is not controlled.
Hoodia, particularly the Gordonii variety, is getting the media hype nowadays for its hunger suppression ability. These plants look like cactus but they are not related with each other. Gordonii is a stem succulent, meaning it stores moisture and nutrients in its stem to survive in the dry areas of the desert.
Natural plant extracts are consumed by tribesmen in South Africa and Namibia to curb hunger during day-long animal hunting trips. Scientists researched on this premise and concluded that P57 in Gordonii reduces calorie intake up to 100 calories a day, suppresses appetite, and lowers gastric acid production in the stomach.
Due to therapeutic claims, the demand for Hoodia has increased especially in America. The plant can't keep up with the growing demand, as it needs 4 to 5 years before maturing and harvesting. People in the places where Gordonii is harvested pluck as many plants as they can sell for export. In the end, Hoodia is in danger of extinction unless the authorities do something about it.
Plants and animals listed under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) are in danger of extinction unless there is an imposed regulation.
The convention is agreed upon between governments. The actions stipulated in this convention include allowed levels of exploitation, sustainability efforts, and limitations of the number of exported endangered flora and fauna to be exported. Almost 30,000 species of plants and animals benefit from this international agreement.
Local governments, who are partners to this international convention, must adhere to the rules. In South Africa and Namibia, the Hoodia species are protected under the power of CITES.
Every businessman who wants to export Hoodia out of the country of origin must acquire a CITES certificate before they are allowed to transport the plant extracts to America. A legitimate seller of Hoodia supplements must include a CITES certificate in their website or business permit.
For the consumer, a product with CITES permit means that the supplement he is buying contains genuine Hoodia Gordonii from Africa.
If after manufacturing the finished health products, the business decides to export the product again from America to another country, the Department of Trade will once again ask for a CITES certificate.
Aside from CITES permit, the manufacturer of the herbal supplement with Hoodia Gordonii extracts must present to the consumer USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) permit plus independent laboratory results.
The USDA permit allows the product manufacturer to import the product to America for distribution. This means that the products are counted and controlled.
The independent lab results are also important to check the composition of the health supplements. The finished Hoodia extracts will come in different forms: energy bar, energy drink, capsules, or diet pills. In order for the consumer to be assured that the product is genuine, the laboratory result should reflect that the amount of Hoodia in the actual product is the same percentage with the amount stated on the product's label.