Species: Hoodia gordonii
Genus: Hoodia (14 Hoodia species within the genus)
Family: Apocynaceae family (formerly under Asclepidaceae)
Common names: Ghaap, Bitter ghaap, Xhoba, Hoodia, |goa.-l, |khoba.b, |khowa.b, |goai-l, |hoba, |khoba.b|s, |khobab, |goab, otjinove, !nawa#kharab
Hoodia is a genus of succulent plants within the family Apocynaceae that is basically used traditionally by the San people of southern Africa as an appetite suppressant, thirst quencher and as a cure for severe abdominal cramps, haemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes. Various uses have been recorded among Anikhwe (Northern Botswana), Hai om (northern Namibia), Khomani (northwestern South Africa ), and the !Xun and Khwe (originally from Angola) communities. Less is known about the use of this group of plants by other indigenous people, but some records show a limited use of Hoodia parts as food items, albeit not as preferred food items. Hoodias are known to be used for cultural purposes in some areas (Hargreaves and Turner, 2002). Although relatively difficult to cultivate, Hoodia ‘ s are attractive plants and are also used for horticultural purposes.
Hoodia Gordonii is one of the most sought-after succulents due to its medicinal properties. It has been called one of the wonder plants of the twenty-first century. Trade in this plant is restricted.
Hoodia Gordonii has a very wide distribution. It occurs in the north-eastern part of the Western Cape, the north and north-western regions of the Northern Cape and southern Namibia. It is used to extreme heat (above 40°C), but it can survive in relatively low temperatures (-3°C).
The plant appears to have a wide tolerance of growing habitats, found in deep Kalahari sands, on dry stony slopes or flats and under the protection of xerophytic bushes. Hoodia gordonii can, under ideal conditions, live for 25 years in cultivation. In the wild they probably don’t live much longer than 15 years.