Suppliers see uptick in demand for botanical ingredients in beauty-from-within products

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / Madeleine Steinbach
Getty Images / Madeleine Steinbach

Related tags botanical Botanical extracts Beauty from within

Botanical teas, tonics, tinctures and more have been used for millennia in various cultures throughout the world with the goal of maintaining an attractive outward appearance.

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In Indonesia, for example, the herbal tonics company Sido Muncul markets capsules containing curcumin and several other local plant ingredients (Ligustrinae lignum​, Phyllanti herba​) in its product Aluss​, a play on the word halus ​which means soft. On its packaging, it claims that the product can keep skin looking ‘soft and clean.’

The 67-year-old company’s formulation is based on traditional herbal tonics and drinks called jamu,​ peddled by women walking door to door carrying a reed basket of glass bottles filled with the botanical blends.

Across the Indian Ocean westward is the Indian subcontinent, home of the well-documented Ayurveda system of traditional medicine. In a much-cited ethnobotanical paper​ published in the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery ​in 2008, author Kunda B. Patkar mentions the use of various plants to go through a rejuvenation process called kayakalpa​.

“The meaning of the word is to make a person look young, bring about a change in the color of the hair and texture of the skin, improve the eyesight and so forth,”​ she wrote.

The process involves ingesting of a powdered blend of “Kadunimba (Azadirachta indica Juss.) leaves, Maka (Eclipta alba Haask.) leaves, Mundi (Sphaeranthus indicus Linn.) leaves, (Vitex negundo Linn.) leaves and Vova (Carum copticum Benth.) leaves” ​twice a day.

Botanical blends in Traditional Chinese Medicine ‘beauty’ remedies

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), many of the ‘beauty-from-within’ approaches passed down use animal-derived ingredients such as swallow’s nest, explained Wilson Lau, vice president of California-based Nuherbs, a Chinese herbal product company founded in 1979.

Among the non-animal ingredients, “some of the better known materials used for cosmetics are ginseng and pearl,”​ he told us.

His company does not yet have any finished products nor raw ingredients (which it also supplies) specifically positioned for beauty-from-within, but he said that the space is “starting to blossom.”

“We are seeing a lot more interest in this area and anticipate that sales will increase greatly in this space. Many of the ingredients used for beauty from within applications, such as organic ginseng, are the same ingredients we supply for a variety of health benefits, so we’re ready to meet this growing demand,” ​he added.

“We will be launching several new mycelium ingredients at SupplySide West. One of them in particular has a beauty application due to its detox functionality. We are super excited to see how the manufacturers and brands will embrace these new ingredients and to see the formulations and applications they will ultimately be used in.”

Contemporary use of botanical ingredients for ‘beauty-from-within’ supplements

Animal-derived collagen peptide is a popular choice for formulators designing beauty-from-within supplements, mainly because of its extensive body of research supporting hair, skin, and nail benefits.

But many products in the US positioned for beauty today are boasting botanical ingredients, such as HUM Nutrition’s Raw Beauty​ powder which contains Ashwagandha root powder, American Ginseng, and Eleuthera root powder.

Standardized botanical extracts in the form of supplements like tablets are marketed for their nutricosmetics benefits in many regions of the world,”​ said Shaheen Majeed, president-worldwide of ingredient supplier Sabinsa.

Sabinsa Cosmetics, a subsidiary focused on topical beauty ingredients, also markets seven ingredients for dietary supplements and functional foods​ which includes soy isoflavones, ellagic acid from pomegranate, and branded ingredients Silbinol from Pterocarpus marsupium​) and Artonox (from wood of ​Artocarpus lakoocha).

“In US, the top ingredients used in beauty drinks are vitamins, minerals and high antioxidant plant extracts,”​ he added.

His company invests in clinical research to elucidate the benefits botanical ingredients may have on outward appearance.

For example, a 2006 study published​ in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology ​found that Sabinsa’s branded pomegranate extract (which is rich in ellagic acid) when ingested orally may have “an inhibitory effect on a slight pigmentation in the human skin caused by UV irradiation.”

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