Hoodia Gordonii Research

Hoodia Gordonii is a plant that grows in South Africa and is used as an appetite suppressant.

This blog serves a simple purpose - educate consumers about Hoodia Gordonii. While there are many sites that are selling Hoodia products, we will focus on lab testing and research to help you learn more about Hoodia.

Our top pick to start learning about Hoodia -

Hoodia Advice, LLC

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lab Testing and Hoodia - will the real Hoodia please stand up?

The number one question we get on this blog is "How can I be sure I am getting real Hoodia?" Seems like a simple question that should have a simple answer - but who ever said life is simple?

As discussed on the Hoodia web site there are a number of documents, such as the CITES Permit, that you should request to see the source of the Hoodia. However, the fact that a company can produce a document is no guarantee that that document applies to what you are buying from the company. For example, a company may have a valid CITES permit for 50 Kilos of Hoodia Gordonii from South Africa from 2005. The question then becomes, was the supplement you are about to buy actually made from the Hoodia bought under CITES permit in 2005?

You really have no way of knowing if you just rely on the CITES or any other import documentation. These documents, if authentic, simply tell you the company you are dealing with has imported real Hoodia Gordonii at some point. These documents do not help you determine if the supplement you are buying from the company is real Hoodia Gordonii.

If you want to determine what is in a capsule of a supplement marketed as Hoodia Gordonii, you need to have the supplement lab tested. Okay, but what does lab tested really mean? When dealing with botanicals, such as Hoodia, there are three lab tests that can help determine the authenticity of a supplement.


In this test the sample of Hoodia is examined under a microscope (usually at 400x magnification). A well trained technician examines the cellular structure of the sample and looks for patterns that match the know cellular structure of Hoodia Gordonii. For example, it is known that pure Hoodia Gordonii has long fibers with whirled striations so this is something a technician would try to find when examining a sample.

It is important to note that even if the Hoodia Gordonii plant has been dried, crushed, powdered and processed - the cellular structure should still be intact. So, an authentic finished Hoodia Gordonii supplement should still show the cellular structure of Hoodia when examined in a Microscopy test.

Click here for a sample of a Microscopy test

High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC)

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Chromatography as:

"Any of various techniques for the separation of complex mixtures that rely on the differential affinities of substances for a gas or liquid mobile medium and for a stationary adsorbing medium through which they pass, such as paper, gelatin, or magnesia."

If you are like us - the above definition just leaves you scratching your head. In layman's terms - chromatographyis a process used to separate samples by the levels of absorbency of the sample.

High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) is the specific type of Chromatography used to test for Hoodia Gordonii in a sample. With HPTLC first a know reference sample of Hoodia Gordoniiis tested. This produces a plate with varying colors for separation over time.

While the technical data gets beyond the scope of this article, the idea is that the HPTLC provides a fingerprint of what authentic Hoodia Gordonii looks like when separated under HPTLC. To confirm that a Hoodia supplement is really Hoodia, an HPTLC test is done to see if the Hoodia in question matches the fingerprint of the known Hoodia Gordonii.

Here is a sample of a HPTLC test of Hoodia

In this example - the reference Hoodia is in Lane 4 and Lane 5, the sample being tested is inLane 7. As you can see the separation pattern in Lane 7 matches Lane 4 and Lane 5, therefore the sample has a high probability of being authentic Hoodia Gordonii.

What is interesting with HPTLC is you do not need to know what components make up the Hoodia Gordonii plant. The above test says nothing about what the analytes are in Hoodia Gordonii - but it does provide a fingerprint of how Hoodia Gordonii reacts in chromatography.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

HPLC is another form of Chromatography that is often used in analytical chemistry to identify analytes in a sample. In HPLC the sample is injected through a liquid and the response time of certain components of the sample are measured.

HPLC tests are used to detect the presence of P57 in a sample. As we discuss on the website, P57 is anactive ingredient in Hoodia, so if a test shows that a sample has P57 you can be confident that the sample is Hoodia Gordonii.

Click here to see a HPLC test

It is important to note that the current state of Hoodia testing using HPLC is qualitative NOT quantitative. This means that the HPLC is useful in determining if P57 is present in a sample, but it is not accurate enough to determine the quantity of P57 in a sample.

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts

You might be wondering - why do you need to do 3 tests for Hoodia Gordonii? The reason is no one test is 100% accurate - there is always the chance for false positives and false negatives. However, when you apply 3 different tests to a sample and they all come back positive for Hoodia Gordonii, it greatly reduces the odds of a test error.


If you want to be sure the Hoodia Gordonii supplement you are buying is authentic, make sure you see the results of the three lab tests described above. You also want to make sure that the lab tests were done on the exact LOT Number of finished product that you are buying.

What lab should do the testing? In our experience, Alkemists Labs has the experience and expertise to most accurately complete the above tests.


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