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Hoodia gets a good reference

A reference standard published in the United States for an extract taken from Hoodia gordonii, the South African weight loss plant, will enable companies to quickly and accurately identify Hoodia in their supply chains and assist them in complying with Good Manufacturing Practices regulations.

The reference, called "Hoodia oxypregnane steroidal glycoside reference standard P57," is published by phytochemical standards specialist, ChromaDex, and will be independently reviewed. Once this has happened, the reference standard will enter the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). AHP-verified reference standards offer an independent verification of the standards offered by companies like California-based ChromaDex.

"The market for Hoodia as a weight loss supplement continues to grow," said ChromaDex director of technical services and marketing, Brian Schaneberg, PhD. "A well characterised standard is now commercially available to accurately quantify P57 in Hoodia raw material and related finished products."

The American Herbal Products Association also recently published analytical tools to help companies identify Hoodia, attracting the likes of Unilever, which has patented and licensed the P57 ingredient.

A recent study of US Hoodia-based weight loss supplements conducted by found only five brands met their label claims. It found many contain no Hoodia at all. One leading Hoodia trader, Millennium Health said the market is saturated with fake Hoodia

"What few people realise is that real South African Hoodia gordonii is rare, and the majority is all exported by just a few export companies worldwide, so all these companies displaying CITES export certificates are not likely displaying their own, if it is even real," said spokeswoman Jennifer Marshall.

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