Botanical supplements are created using a plant or part of a plant valued for its therapeutic properties, flavour or scent. Often also referred to as herbal supplements, products made from botanicals which are used to maintain or improve health may also be referred to as phytomedicines.
To be classified as a dietary supplement, botanical supplements must meet the following definition as defined by Congress in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education act, which came into force in 1994, a dietary supplement is a product that:
- Is intended to supplement the diet
- Contains one or more dietary ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; and other substances
- Is intended to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet or liquid
- Is labelled on the front panel as being a dietary supplement.
Scientific evidence backing the efficacy of botanicals is growing
A growing number of reviews and analyses find support for the health benefits of botanical ingredients. According to the CBI report” which trends offer opportunities on the European market for natural ingredients for health products?”, many studies back the efficacy of cinnamon, garlic and cocoa products. Industry experts indicate that there is growing consumer trust in the effectiveness of essential oils for various health indications also.
According to the report, consumers value scientific evidence. In this research-driven natural ingredients sector, research builds evidence and substantiates the claims you make on packaging and marketing.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important throughout Europe, from both a consumer and buyer perspective. European customers are increasingly demanding sustainable products, wanting to know where they are sourced from. Organic certified products are becoming increasingly requested, which in turn has seen the total European organic market grow by 11.4% in 2016.
Popular botanical supplements on the market
Cranberry: Cranberry supplements are an effective way of helping to prevent urinary tract infections. They are packed full of antioxidants, which help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, and as they are manufactured using dried cranberries, they contain an even higher concentration of antioxidants than the fresh alternative.
Garlic: Garlic supplements are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are proven to help strengthen the immune system. With over 100 compounds within it, garlic is useful for maintaining good health. Notably, it is a great source of vitamin B1, B5, B6 and C, as well as calcium, iron and zinc.
Ginkgo: Ginkgo Biloba is a native tree to China and the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants, often being referred to as a living fossil. Ginkgo contains high levels of flavonoids, known for strong antioxidant effects.
Evening Primrose Oil: Evening primrose oil is made from the seeds of the flowers of a plant native to North America. Its benefits are thought to be due to the gamma-linolenic acid content. GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid found within plant oils. Some supplement evening primrose oil for fatigue, weight issues and skin health. Women use evening primrose oil during pregnancy and for premenstrual pain.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon uses its antioxidant properties for anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and reduced brain function. As cinnamon helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, it can be beneficial for pain management.