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Social and Environmental Responsibility in Developing Zembrin®

The Sceletium tortuosum plant from which Zembrin® is derived is a protected species harvested only with permit issued by the South African government and is manufactured exclusively by H&GH Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd.

Field with unique Zembrin selection of Sceletium tortuosum cultivated in compliance under the Biodiversity Act to secure sustainable source of the plant.

African community workers processing Sceletium tortuosum for nutritional use.

In 2006 the South African company, H&GH Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd., initiated a Sceletium tortuosum research and development program whose purpose was to create a dietary supplement from a standardized extract of cultivated Sceletium, trademarked Zembrin®, for international markets. In view of the well-established historical and extant use of Sceletium, the company made the ethical decision to share benefits arising from the future commercial products with representatives of the South African San and of the Namaqualand communities of Paulshoek and Nourivier.

The Sceletium tortuosum plant from which Zembrin® is derived is a protected species harvested only with permit issued by the South African government. HG&H Pharmaceuticals Ltd. received the first-ever export permit for Sceletium tortuosum from the South African government in full compliance under the Biodiversity Act. Zembrin's composition has been awarded a US patent in 2014, with international patents pending.


  1. Proof-of-Concept Randomized Controlled Study of Cognition Effects of the Proprietary Extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®) Targeting Phosphodiesterase-4 in Cognitively Healthy Subjects: Implications for Alzheimer’s Dementia. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014, Article ID 682014, 9 pages Simon Chiu, Nigel Gericke, Michel Farina-Woodbury, Vladimir Badmaev, Hana Raheb, Kristen Terpstra, Joalex Antongiorgi, Yves Bureau, Zack Cernovsky, Jirui Hou, Veronica Sanchez, Marissa Williams, John Copen, Mariwan Husni, and Liz Goble
  2. Food Chem Toxicol 2014 Oct 6. pii: S0278-6915(14) 00418-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2014.09.017. [Epub ahead of print] A toxicological safety assessment of a standardized extract of Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®) in rats. Murbach TS, Hirka G, Szakonyiné IP, Gericke N, Endres JR.
  3. Neurpsychopharmacology. 2013 Dec;38 (13):2708-16. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.183. Epub 2013 Aug 1.Acute effects of Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®), a dual 5-HT reuptake and PDE4 inhibitor, in the human amygdala and its connection to the hypothalamus.Terburg D, Syal S, Rosenberger LA, Heany S, Phillips N, Gericke N, Stein DJ, van Honk J.
  4. J Alternat Compl Med. 2013 Nov;19(11):898-904. doi: 10.1089/acm. 2012.0185. Epub 2013 Feb 26. A randomized, double-blind, parallel- group, placebo-controlled trial of Extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®) in healthy adults.Nell H, Siebert M, Chellan P, Gericke N.
  5. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Oct 11;137(3):1124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.07.035. Epub 2011 Jul 20.Pharmacological actions of the South African medicinal and functional food plant Sceletium tortuosum and its principal alkaloids.Harvey AL, Young LC, Viljoen AM, Gericke NP.