Chris Kilham in Hoodia Tunnel, South Africa. Photo by: Zoe Helene © 2008

Chris in Hoodia Tunnel

Hoodia gordonii is a South African succulent traditionally eaten by the San tribespeople as a food. Hoodia has more recently become popular as a weight loss aid, and this has caused over-harvesting of wild populations of the plant. Now South African law prohibits wild harvesting of Hoodia. Here Chris stands in a tunnel of cultivated Hoodia gordonii, which at three years of growth will be harvested to satisfy market demand for this plant.

“This was my first expedition with Chris. It doubled as a honeymoon, which was super sweet. As a total medicinal plant world newbie, these cultivation tunnels fascinated me -- especially having been way, way out into the desert to see the wild Hoodia in it's natural habitat, and to learn first-hand about over-harvesting issues and sustainability. In my humble opinion, this has all the elements of a perfect sustainability story that tackles issues and concepts of wild-harvesting-versus-cultivation.” – Zoe Helene