Demand for ashwagandha in the US continues to grow, with one supplier, NutraGenesis, reporting that sales for its Sensoril ingredient in the first quarter of 2014 are up significantly over the same period in 2013.
Ashwagandha, the so-called flagship herb of Ayurveda, has been gaining traction in the mainstream US market with consumers embracing its wide-ranging body of health benefits, which include supporting stress, cognitive function, sleep, metabolic wellness, adrenal function, sports performance, and more.
“We are delighted to see the results of the first quarter and what it means for Sensoril sales for the balance of the year,” said Tiea Zehnbauer, VP of Sales for NutraGenesis.
“Sensoril has been growing at double digits for the past several years. We believe that this growth is a reflection of the success our customers are experiencing selling products which contain Sensoril. The long term growth is representative of just how much consumer acceptance and satisfaction there is for Sensoril in the marketplace.”
Sensoril is an ashwagandha ingredient that combines extracts of both the root and leaf of the ashwagandha plant Withania somnifera. NutraGenesis is the exclusive North American sales and marketing representative for Sensoril under license from Natreon, Inc. (New Brunswick, NJ). According to Natreon, the combination of root and leaf yields an ingredient that has “optimal concentrations of the desired active constituents found in the plant”.
A category of chemicals known as withanolides are generally associated with ashwangadha’s health benefits.
NutraGenesis said that the Q1 2014 results continue a trend of increasing sales which has occurred over the last five years, which the company attributes to a combination of new business, and growth for established customers.
The potential health benefits of the Sensoril ingredient are supported by data from eight randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled human clinical trials, while the ingredient’s IP is supported by multiple patents.
Zehnbauer said that the ingredient is currently used in over 200 SKU’s in the US, with approximately 85% of those SKU’s using Dietary Supplement Panels (the ingredient is also used in generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food and beverages).
“In the vast majority of products it is used in, Sensoril is the primary workhouse ingredient that is the foundation for the product’s health attributes,” said Zehnbauer.
“This is due to its proven health benefits (in eight human clinical trials) and substantiated structure/function claims, as well as its efficacious and experiential properties.”
Ashwagandha is the subject of a monograph by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. According to the monograph, the herb has a history of use in ayurvedic medicine that dates back as much as 4,000 years to the teaching of renowned scholar Punarvasu Atreya, and in subsequent works that make up the ayurvedic tradition. The name of the herb derives from Sanskrit, and means “smells like a horse,” which refers to the strong smell of the root which is said to be redolent of horse sweat or urine.
In its traditional uses, ashwagandha has a remarkable array of applications. It has been used as a general tonic in case of emaciation, as a rejuvenative tonic (or rasayana) and as a mile purgative. It has also been used by ayurvedic practitioners to quell inflammation, to treat asthma, bronchitis and arthritis, and to promote contraception.
Traditional ashwagandha ingredients are limited to root extracts, but Sensoril, described as a ‘next generation Ashwagandha extract’, uses both roots and leaves. The ingredient is standardized to a minimum of 10% glycowithanolides, but no more than 0.5% Withaferin A, said the company. Withaferin A is an aglycone found in both roots and leaves, does not provide any adaptogenic health benefits, it added.
The Vermont-based company added that Sensoril is in the top 15% of its ingredient portfolio.