Herbs and botanicals have been a part of traditional medicine, Ayurveda, or other forms of medicine for centuries. The past decade has seen a phenomenal rise in the number of people directing themselves toward the ways of nature. One thing that is far more evident is the inclination of people for true botanicals, herbs & spices since the COVID pandemic. As per a recent report by Grand View Research, the global botanical supplements market was valued at USD 27.47 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% by 2028. Rising health consciousness, increased diet concerns, preventive healthcare measure, and reliance on natural remedies and medicinal herbs have turned into a rising trend.

What are botanicals, Herbs & Spices? Why do we need them?

The simple the question may sound; the answer is proportionately multilayered. The early use of plants for medicinal purposes can be traced back to Neanderthal times. The remedial purposes of herbs and spices have been proven over the ages. There has even been serendipitous evidence of the benefits of true botanicals. Even today, a majority of drugs in pharmaceuticals and modern therapeutics are plant derivatives.

As man has developed and created a society for growth, learnings from nature have come along. The power of natural remedies for different ailments made man rely on nature for botanicals, herbs & spices. Whether it is the consumption of raw herbs, decoctions, botanical preparations, spices, or condiments as a part of the diet, nature has bestowed health and nutrition to man in its various forms. With time, man learned how to use nature and harvest its benefits. This further paved the path for traditional and herbal medicine.

The Present Context and the Future Prospect

Generally, drug discovery from herbal sources is experience-driven. Today, the drug development phase is growing at an enormous pace and chemically synthesized drugs have dominated the pharmaceutical industry. Still, there is a place and space for plant-derived medicine to continue providing the benefits of true botanicals. Herbs & spices have still been used as the first line of treatment in a larger part of the world. Plant-based healthcare is the primary form of treatment for the unprivileged and the underprivileged.

The traditional healing system that has gained traction in recent times is Ayurveda. The approach of Ayurveda involves medicinal herbs, true botanicals, yoga, dietary control, meditation, and exercise for restoring the ‘Tridosha’ balance in the body and alleviate diseases. The holistic way of treatment that Ayurveda describes has greatly benefited the masses and thus gained momentum across the world. Although plant-based medicinal preparations are slow to act, they do not have adverse effects like modern chemotherapeutic drugs. Therefore, there is a renewed interest in herbal medicine and traditional therapies worldwide.

The Future of Herbs and Botanicals in the Traditional Medicine

The increasing adoption of herbal medicine, preference for natural therapies, and aversion to allopathic interventions clearly indicate the growth in the market of herbs and botanicals, especially including their therapeutic use. True botanicals, medicinal herbs & spices are being referred to as ‘Natural Health Products (NHPs) or ‘Herbal Medicinal Products’ (HMPs). They are either available as single isolated compounds or in combination with herbal formulations. They are available in form of decoction, tinctures, essential oils, teas, syrup, ointments, salves, and tablets/capsules that contain a powdered form of the whole plant/plant part or dried extract. This has paved the way for herbs in the bulk wholesale market worldwide. The more people use herbs and botanicals, the greater the demand will be. As the demand will increase, so shall the production and supply.

A number of brands are utilizing their research and innovation potential in treating common problems like insomnia, menopause, stress, and anxiety. The market is also rife with herbal ingredients posing to improve sports performances. The COVID-19 pandemic has also encouraged people to undergo dietary changes and opt for herbal supplements that have high health benefits and fewer side effects. The brightest time is yet to come. The global herbs and botanicals industry is expected to be a multi-billion business that will create new business categories and millions of new job opportunities. This is the right time to jump on the bandwagon and be a part of the herbal journey that is led by true botanicals, medicinal herbs, and spices.