Ayurveda: An Emerging U.S. Market

Retailers, is it time to expand your Ayurvedic dietary supplement offerings? Consider this: the Indian nutraceutical market was valued at $1.48 billion in 2011 and is projected to grow to $2.731 billion by 2016, according to consulting and research firm Frost & Sullivan, Mountain View, CA.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has spent any time working in the natural markets. It’s the perfect storm; customers are taking greater control over their healthcare choices. They’re working proactively and addressing their health concerns preemptively and there’s an array of Ayurvedic formulas and botanicals that address their common health concerns. Combine this with the fact that many of these Ayurvedic ingredients are showing positive results in the scientific research and you have a recipe for growth.

“People are looking for health solutions that address the overall health of the system in contrast to simply control of bothersome symptoms,” said Roy Upton, director of Planetary™ Herbals.

One example of Ayurveda’s potential for supplement sales is turmeric, one of the most renown and revered Ayurvedic botanicals. In fact, between 2010-2011, India exported nearly 70 million kilograms of turmeric, according to Market News Service, “Medicinal Plant and Extracts” report. Turmeric supplement sales increased over 26% in the natural channel, according to SPINSScan data, over 52-weeks ending December 29, 2013. SPINSScan data also noted that turmeric supplement sales ranked third in 2011 and 2012.

Again, it took the perfect storm, including thousands of years of usage and years of solid science, for turmeric sales to spike so dramatically. Clinical and preclinical findings support the traditional use of turmeric for inflammatory conditions, something that is of great concern to many, many consumers.

But it’s not just turmeric from the Ayurvedic tradition retailers should consider for their supplement sections. Several superstars are making their way up the ranks, including holy basil, also known as tulsi. It wasn’t that long ago that no one knew about this plant, but now, particularly in the tea section, there are whole brand blocks of holy basil tea blends. Besides tulsi, there are other Ayurvedic botanical options to consider, supported by both science and tradition.

“It is hard to argue with the literally thousands of years of tried and true formulas such as triphala, guggul, trikatu, hinga shtak, and chyavanprash, all used for more than 1000 years, from the oldest health care system on earth,” said Upton.

Indeed, “triphala is by far the oldest continually used herbal formula on the planet,” he added. “It has a very unique effect on improving bowel health in both general and specific ways. Generally, it promotes bowel regularity without the harsh, often dependence-forming effects of standard laxatives. Specifically, it increases intestinal glutathione and super-oxide dismutase, two of the primary endogenous antioxidant systems that protect tissues from free-radical damage. Triphala also helps in the repair of the brush borders of intestinal villi so not only increases cleansing and detoxification of the intestines but facilitates repair as well,” he added.

Upton also suggested adding shelf space for other Ayurvedic staples, including “Shatavari, highly regarded as the premier female tonifier in Ayurveda. For promoting sinus health, the famous three spices Trikatu; for digestive health, gas and bloating, nothing beats Hinga Shtak; and of course the superstar tonic, Chyavanprash.”

With consumers actively working at staying healthy, combined with Ayurveda’s ancient tradition and supporting research, its not wonder natural products retailers continue making space for Ayurvedic options in the supplement aisles.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

Julie Dennis has been a lecturer, writer and consultant in the natural products industry for over 20 years. Currently she lectures nationwide discussing health-related topics and intelligent usage of nutraceutical and botanical supplements. She graduated from Dr. Michael Tierra’s East West School of Herbology in 1996, contributed to major natural products industry trade publications, and assisted with editing on books including the American Botanical Council’s Clinical Guide to Herbs, and The Handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Products, Haworth Press.

Posted on WholeFoodsMagazine.com 6/15/2015

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