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Hoodia Seed
Starting page
The $ Scam!
Hoodia Pilifera,
NOT Gordonii
"Collectors can't
tell them apart"
How to identify?
Cross pollinated?
Growing in a
flower pot.
Seed still
costs pennies.
Facts about
the scam.

Some sellers claim that your Hoodia will produce thousands of seeds!

Nature commonly ensures plants produce huge numbers of seeds since so few ever survive.

But with Hoodia I don't know what varieties I have since it is so hard to identify the various types. If they do produce seed what will it be? A cross pollinated hybrid plant?
July, 2007. I have two plants flowering next to each other. One has yellow flowers (above) and the other red flowers (right). If these cross pollinate what will the seed be? Should I sell the seed on ebay as Hoodia Gordonii seed? If seed were selling for $1 each and you had 5,000 seeds...what would you do? What would I do? I certainly would NOT sell it!
How effective is any given Hoodia?
All African Hoodias are on the endangered list and illegal to export without a license. However, plant collectors in Europe have grown them for many years; thus proving a legal source of both plants and seeds. Again; wild Hoodia may not be collected. But only collector plants are available; this is not certified seed.

The seed sold as Hoodia is NOT taken directly from the African desert. It came from hobbyists, collectors, etc. Hoodia has never been bred for commercial farming; therefore no one can certify the seed (prove its lineage). It may have been hybridized by cross pollination. Just because a Hoodia Pilifera produces seed you do not know if it is "true to type" unless you can control what it was pollinated with.

A plant has to grow to maturity before you can determine its properties. Then you select the best specimens and only allow those to pollinate each other. Then you grow that seed and see what it produces; what characteristics are present such as disease resistance, size, vigor, and in the case of Hoodia--what percentage of P57 it produces.

The problem is similar to commercial hemp (grown for rope fibers) and cannabis the drug. They are the same plant; cannabis sativa. Hemp has about 3/10th of 1 percent THC (0.3). But cannabis the drug has 15 times (5%) as much THC. Smoking commercial hemp will give you a sore throat. The other is a drug as potent as whiskey.

No one knows the % of P57 in any given Hoodia plant; what potency is present (milligrams/kilogram of plant). Could you concentrate it to make your own extract? Yes, but concentrating P57 is a chemistry exercise that could burn down your house.

There are no certified strains of Hoodia. Why not? Probably because the extract Pfizer tested caused "unwanted changes in the liver" and they realized it could not receive FDA approval. That is why they abandoned it.

The problem of growing Hoodia for P57 production is complicated by lessons learned from ethnobotany. Plants used by native people may be of interest to pharmaceutical firms. Here is what they do:
An ethnobotanist visits native healers to learn which plants they use for healing
Samples of the plant are taken to a laboratory to determine the active ingredient
The isolated active chemical is produced for animal testing, then human testing

In the case of P57 Pfizer found the chemical synthesis too expensive. So they extracted it from Hoodia plants to concentrate for human testing. That is when the "unwanted changes to the liver" was discovered. Realizing that the FDA would never approve it (due to the effect on the liver), Pfizer gave up on P57 in 2002.

The lesson of ethnobotany has another key bit of knowledge; plants did not always produce the "key active ingredient" desired. Specimens were collected that had little or none of the desired substance. What was wrong?

Plants produce substances as a result of many variables. Here are some to consider that may affect P57:

P57 may not be produced until the plant is a certain age. No one has yet quantified this.

P57 may require a certain soil PH, amount or lack of rainfall, certain minerals, etc. No one has yet quantified this.

P57 may be low in home grown, flower pot specimens. These may simply produce "vegetative growth" but little P57. No one has yet quantified this.

The question is; what does uncertified Hoodia seed, grown in a flowerpot, become in 5 to 7 years?

No one really knows.
Hoodia in a flower pot. A cavegirl can do it!
Can you grow this in a flower pot?
Can you grow coffee in a flower pot?

My supplier told the $scammers "We cannot deal with that"

Seed still costs pennies in Europe
All African Hoodias are on the endangered list and illegal to export. However, plant collectors in Europe have grown them for many years; thus proving a legal source of both plants and seeds. Again; wild Hoodia may not be collected.

Hoodia Pilifera was the first variety identified as being used by natives for appetite suppression. Hoodia Ruschii, Hoodia Macrantha, Hoodia Officianalis, and Hoodia Juttae are also just as effective.

Brainwashed victims of the Hoodia diet scam only know of Hoodia Gordonii because it grows abundantly in large populations in Southern Africa where they have cashed in the fad by granting export licenses for that seed. To obtain seed without a license you can buy from European sources.
(Above) Nice quality offerings from a collector.

(below) This commercial source used to have half a dozen varieties of Hoodia at about $30/1000 seeds before the scam began. ebay sellers marked up seed 3,000% to cash in on the fad until the seed became unavailable.
Some sources claim there are 20 to 40 Hoodia varieties. I have, so far, found these 19 named Hoodias:  Hoodia alstonii, Hoodia bainii, Hoodia currorii, Hoodia delaetiana, Hoodia dregei, Hoodia flava, Hoodia Gordonii, Hoodia husabensis, Hoodia juttae, Hoodia lugardii (now Hoodia currori subsp. lugardi), Hoodia macrantha, Hoodia pilifera (formerly Trichocaulon piliferum), Hoodia officinale (formerly Trichocaulon officinale), Hoodia parviflora, Hoodia pedicellata, Hoodia pretnar, Hoodia rosea, Hoodia ruschii and Hoodia triebneri.
(above) in its third year this plant is growing rapidly. Large Hoodia plants are rare and expensive. People say it takes 5 to 7 years for the Hoodia plant to mature and develop the appetite suppressing qualities exploited by the African tribes people. Some dealers are claiming that by taking the plant out of the wild and applying lots of fertilizer and water the plant will mature faster. This may not be true; the plant comes from a desert region where its pharmacological properties may be linked to the long growth period in a hot, dry climate. Treating them as a house plant may produce impressive vegetative growth without the same percentage of steroidal glycosides. In fact, no one knows! The Hoodia craze is too new, too much of a fad with a lot of hype from "get rich quick" Internet types.

Here is information from a website that has an interesting description of both the desert growing conditions and the scientific explanation of how Hoodia affects appetite.  "...(Hoodia) grows in the semi-deserts of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola and Republic of South Africa.. It grows rather slow - it takes about 5 years of growing it, before it flowers and before you can start harvesting any of it. It can be 15 - 20 years before the plant is fully grown and at the peak of its productive life....the potent appetite suppression is caused by steroidal glycosides...a component of saponins...bioactive compounds that are present naturally in many plants."
(from: http://www.mypurehoodia.us/hoodia.htm)
What a beautiful plant! They are so cute and chubby. The spiny appearance does NOT mean this is a cactus. It is a succulent and an asclepiad at that. That places it in the "stinking orchid" family. But who would try to scam people with a "Stinking orchid diet?" See how absurd THAT sounds? I just can't bring myself to scam anyone with such hype.
Raising this plant in your home when it is native to the deserts of South Africa; Namibia and the Kalahari is a challenge. Because it comes from a dry region the young seedlings and year old plants seem to have no immunity to fungal diseases. Our homes are relatively humid environments filled with mold & fungus spores that killed many of my young Hoodia plants. As the plants get older they seem to develop enough immunity that this is not a problem.

However, I lost so many seedlings, probably 30%, that I contacted the Asclepiad Society (Hoodia is an asclepiad) in England. The secretary, Chris Moore, recommended two excellent fungicide products: Phyton-27 and Daconil. This later is now sold by Ortho as "Ortho Garden Disease Control." I have found it totally effective in preventing seedling loss. However, after the seedling stage I only grow my plants organically with Maxicrop Kelp, Fish emulsion, humic acid, ThermX yucca extract, etc.
If you know what you are doing you can save a plant that has root rot! Take a cutting of the portion above and root it. Works for me.
Hoodia will root from cuttings. But if you grow from seed
you may have to use a fungicide.
(above) root buds are stiff probes looking for moisture. When they form you can lightly water to stimulate fine root growth. Then you have a healthy plant.
Hoodia are fascinating plants to grow
Mine more than double in size each growing season
Since it takes years to mature you may want to start now with collecting these. You should consider first where in your home you will tend a specimen. Set up a place where the light is bright but not direct. Direct sun can burn plants just as people get sunburned. They do best in what is called "Bright shade."

If you have never grown African succulents I recommend that you practice with one Hoodia plant at a time. If you kill it, figure out why. Then try again and improve the conditions of light, temperature, watering, etc. until you can keep a Hoodia alive and healthy. OK?
As you gain experience and skill you may buy more, or propagate yours from cuttings. When you have a large, beautiful specimen you will be very happy and proud. I am! Email me & send a photo?
Live delivery guaranteed;
shipped in pot with soil. Give it a drink of distilled water upon arrival and you're good to go! Treat with the same care you would any house plant.

I no not ship specimens as "bare root"
due to the shock this causes to the plant. Roots have a fine white fuzz on them indicating a symbiotic relationship with soil microorganisms feeding the plant.
A bare rooted plant has only the dried main roots intact. When the buyer re-plants them they may rot. By shipping your plant with the root ball intact you receive a healthy cactus ready for a new container with more soil. You may water it immediately. Distilled or bottled water is perfect. There is residual fertilizer in the soil.
20042014 By Verne & the furry Angels. All rights reserved for eternity.  Contact: raccoony@sacredcactus.com