Austin, TX—Herbal sales are on the rise. The American Botanical Council (ABC) reported that annual sales of herbal dietary supplements in the U.S. totaled $12.350 billion in 2021. That's according to ABC’s 2021 Herb Market Report. That figure represents the highest recorded annual spending on these products in the U.S., ABC shared. The number is up 9.7% from the previous year, and is the second-highest annual sales growth for herbal supplements since at least 2000, according to ABC.

The report (published in Issue 136 ofHerbalGram) is based on U.S. retail sales data provided by SPINS and Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). It was written by Tyler Smith, managing editor of HerbalGram; Haleigh Resetar, corporate communications specialist at SPINS; and Claire Morton, senior industry analyst at NBJ.

Key Findings: ABC's 2021 Herb Market Report

The 2021 Herb Market Report includes tables of total U.S. herbal supplement sales from 2000 to 2021 and the 40 top-selling herbs in the U.S. mainstream and natural retail channels. As ABC reports, several ingredients that saw growth during 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to see increased sales in 2021. Looking at some specifics:
  • In the mainstream retail channel, sales of herbal supplements containing the Ayurvedic adaptogen ashwagandha had the highest sales growth for the second year in a row. 2021 mainstream sales more than quadrupled from 2020.
  • 2021 sales of supplements containing apple cider vinegar (ACV) more than doubled compared to 2020  in both mainstream and natural retail outlets.
  • Quercetin supplements had the strongest sales growth in the natural channel in 2021.
  • Four herbal ingredients in the natural channel experienced sales decreases of more than 30%:
      • Elderberry. ABC reported that elderberry supplements were down 41.4% from 2020, yet still ranked fourth in sales in the natural channel in 2021. ABC attributed this to the very strong demand during the first year of the pandemic, which then tapered off in 2021.
      • Echinacea/goldenseal combination products
      • Echinacea (single-herb formulations)
      • Oregano

Consumers focused on self care embrace herbs

“Based on the near-record sales growth of herbal supplements in 2021, it appears that consumers continued to prioritize self-care using herbal dietary supplements during the second year of the pandemic,” said Smith, in the press release. “As pandemic-related stressors became somewhat entrenched in 2021, consumer spending increased for products in categories such as mood support, digestive health, and energy.Perhaps surprisingly, sales decreased for some herbs commonly sold for immune support, but 2021 sales of these ingredients were still largely higher than in 2019.This suggests that consumer spending in some supplement categories may be returning to pre-pandemic levels.”

ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal added: “The annual ABC Herb Market Report is one of the most comprehensive and well-researched publications reflecting the continued consumer demand for health-promoting, plant- and fungi-based natural products. For over 30 years, ABC has informed the public of the almost uninterrupted growth in the public’s interest in and uses of herbs as natural products for a wide variety of health benefits.”

Blumenthal expressed ABC's deep gratitude to HerbalGram Smith, who has co-authored the annual ABC Herb Market Report since 2014, as well as to SPINS and NBJ for their collaboration.

HerbalGram's 2021 Herb Market Report is available for free on ABC’s website.