Hoodia Manufacturing and Marketing - An Overview
OBESITY IS A MODERN DISEASE. But nature created a natural medication for curing this disease, millions of years ago. The name of this is natural medication is Hoodia. How is Hoodia effective in obesity? When was the anti-obesity element first isolated? Who isolated the extract? At present, who has the license for manufacture of Hoodia? We will attempt to answer these questions in this article.
Hoodia is a cactus-like plant that grows in the great Kalahari Desert of South Africa. San Bushmen, the South Africa tribal people, used chewed the leaves of this plant to suppress their hunger from time immemorial. Many appetite suppressants and anti-obesity drugs, though effective, are usually associated with side effects. But Hoodia has both qualities of a perfect medicine- efficiency and lack of side effects. The South African council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1977 extracted the appetite suppressant ingredient in Hoodia now known as P-57. The CSIR then approved a license to United Kingdom – based Phytopharm. Phytopharm, in the year 1995, obtained the license to develop an appetite suppressant from the Hoodia plant. Rigorous research work was done to develop a highly effectual medication which will fit in the form of Hoodia diet pills, Hoodia capsules and Hoodia health drinks. Initially Phytopharm pooled resources with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to segregate active constituents from the extract and for preparing an effective anti-obesity drug. Pfizer returned the marketing rights to Phytopharm in 2002, as they were unable to develop a p-57 molecule synthetically and economically. At present Unilever has joined hands with Phytopharm to market Hoodia diet pills as diet supplements in their diet food product line.
As Hoodia Gordonii is in such as a high demand, it is considered a protected plant and it can be exported only with a special permit from the government of South Africa – a CITES permit. There are three laboratory tests available to test the quality of extract in the drug available. They are: (1. Microscopy: In this test, the sample of Hoodia is examined under a microscope (usually at 400x magnification). Pure Hoodia Gordonii would appear to have long fibers with whirled striations, so this helps in checking the purity of the sample. (2. High Performance Thin layer Chromatography (HPTLC). (3. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). These laboratory tests help in testing the purity of Hoodia sample.
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