Botanicals and Nutraceuticals: What's Next?


| March/April 1999


'The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the maintenance of the human frame, in diet and in the prevention of disease.'-Thomas Edison

Both the pharmaceutical and food industry are moving into the natural productsarena with a newcategory of foods and supplements known as 'nutraceuticals' as well as patented botanical ingredients.

Warner Lambert, Bayer, and American Home Products (makers of Centrum) areaggressively launching their own lines of branded products. Major foodmanufacturers are creating new nutraceutical products, ranging from energy barsto the repackaging of old stand-bys such as Kellogs cereals, whose ads read'Have you gotten your vitamins today?'

A major area of development will include the anti-aging arena with new tonics and energizers to stand alongside Siberian ginseng and co-enzyme Q10, and products to enhance cognitive performance such as gingko biloba, acetyl-l-carnitine, gotu kola, phosphatidyl serine, NADH and others yet to be developed. Also look for more natural mood-elevators such as St. John's Wort and Kava Kava to be developed, and products such as soy isoflavones to address menopause and other women's health issues. Natural products for promoting the health of infants and children will become a major focus for parents, who themselves are becoming converts to the natural products marketplace.

On the botanical side expect a great deal of activity from the largely untapped resource of Ayurvedic herbs from India which are beginning to be introduced to the U.S. market. Although ashwagandha, guggul or gotu kola are probably not in the current vocabulary of even a dedicated natural product enthusiast, they will soon be mainstreamed by the power of the Internet and mass media. And don't forget all of those pharmaceutical researchers in the Amazonian rain forest diligently seeking the next great cure. More and more we may see new branded botanical ingredients being sold directly to consumers as naturalproducts, avoiding the long and costly drug-approval process. It will certainly be an interesting millennium for our health.