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Plant story - saving Hoodia currorii an important slimming plant

Hoodia currorii contains compounds used in slimming pills and is now under threat due to over-collecting.

Hoodia species growing in Botswana (Photo: T. Ulian)

South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has isolated a compound called P57 from Hoodia gordonii, which has been found to act as an appetite suppressant. Drugs companies are now developing this into a slimming pill.

A close relative of Hoodia gordonii, Hoodia currorii is found in Botswana in the areas of the Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi national parks. As with the South African species, San (bushmen) hunters have been known to use this species for keeping hunger pangs at bay.

Both Hoodia species are now the subject of intensive bioprospecting and harvesting from the wild. As a result Hoodia currorii is now regarded as threatened in Botswana.

On an expedition of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership with our colleagues in Botswana ( November 2003), seed from four different populations of this species was collected for safe keeping.

Story by Paul Smith (2003) | More plant stories

Get involved - Adopt a Seed, Save a Species

We have successfully banked 10% of the world's wild plant species and we have set our sights on saving 25% by 2020.

Without plants there could be no life on earth, and yet every day another four plant species face extinction. Too often when we hear these kind of statistics there is little that we can do as individuals, but thanks to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership and the Adopt a Seed, Save a Species campaign there is something that you can do to ensure the survival of a plant species.

Adopt a seed for just £25 | Save a plant species outright

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