There are lots of factors driving the increased popularity of herbal products in the U.S. market. Current marketing data suggests people are finally realizing herbal products can be used as part of an overall wellness program. This use of herbs was among the highest ideals in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This is in contrast to simply using herbs to treat symptoms or disease, which is the Western medicine approach.
A second factor driving herb use is the many failures of the Western “disease care” system, which does not offer many answers for wellness or health. If you think about it, no one takes a conventional drug to promote wellness or health; drugs treat symptoms. Tonic herbs, such as ashwagandha, can be taken by those who are healthy and want to remain healthy or be healthier.
A third factor is increased exposure of the potential benefits of herbs, such as through the “Dr. Oz factor,” which definitely moves the needle on all things wellness.
Fourth: there are more practitioners of alternative health care, including Ayurveda specifically. The more practitioners out there promoting Ayurveda, and natural health care in general, the more it affects the population overall. Between the Ayurvedic, naturopathic, herbal and TCM schools, along with continued integrative medicine programs for conventional physicians, there are thousands of new advocates for natural health care.
Americans are showing an increasing interest in herbal products from India, which is predominantly driven by practitioners and consultants—as well as by online resources of Ayurvedic information, such as John Doulliard's Colorado Cleanse program, which reaches thousands of consumers every year.
Ashwagandha has been and continues to be one of the most popular of the Ayurvedic products. Considering increased consumer desire for wellness and the use of ashwagandha as one of Ayurveda's premier wellness tonics, the U.S. market should continue to grow.
When promoting these products to consumers, manufacturers and marketers of botanical ingredients should be mindful of:
• producing quality products
• delivering doses that will deliver what a consumer expects
• educating on the benefits of the herb.