Watch now: More data available to support botanical immunity products to meet rising demand

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - marekuliasz
©Getty Images - marekuliasz

Related tags Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program botanical extracts Botanical supplements Herbal medicinal products Herbal medicines

As coronavirus cases trend back up in the United States demand for botanical ingredients to support immunity will continue unabated, a panel discussion concluded yesterday.

NutraIngredients-USA broadcast its first Botanicals and Immunity webinar event yesterday.  The live discussion panel included Steven Dentali, PhD, a consultant who previously was the chief science officer of the American Herbal Products Association. Also on the panel was Stefan Gafner, PhD, chief science officer of the American Botanical Council who is also head of the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program.  And joining the panel were Deepak Mundkinajeddu, head of R&D for the Indian botanical ingredients supplier Natural Remedies and Timothee Olagne, head of vice president of marketing, nutrition and health for Naturex, part of Givaudan.

As pandemic goes, so does demand

The demand for botanical ingredients is likely to continue unabated as coronavirus cases start to rise again in the US.  Just yesterday Gregg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, one of the states where the new wave of cases is rising fastest, urged citizens to remain in their homes as much as possible and to wear masks out in public. New cases have spiked in Arizona and other states.  And also yesterday, Dr Anthony Fauci, MD, the nation’s leading infections disease expert, testified before the US Congress to say that the pandemic crisis is far from over.

So the demand for immune health products is likely to remain high for months if not years to come, the panelists agreed.  What can responsible companies do to meet this demand?

Science to support responsible claims

Some companies have jumped into the fray with irresponsible messaging about the effects of their products.  The US Food and Drug Administration maintains a list of companies it has warned about what it considers to be illegal disease treatment claims. At last count, as least 35 dietary supplement companies are on the list, and a number of companies in the CBD trade.

Responsible claims rest on credible science.  The panelists agreed that while there are few large scale studies available that have the large subject numbers and long time scale characteristic of drug trials, there are many well done, smaller studies to point to.

In particular, panelist Dentali pointed to the many high quality studies that are being done in China on TCM ingredients.  Herbal treatment protocols have been part of that country’s response to the coronavirus treatment burden.  While some of the reports on herbal ingredients relating to these protocols have by necessity been quickly done and mostly observational in nature, Dentali said overall there is a large amount of data coming out of China on botanical ingredients and these studies are increasingly done with study designs and evidentiary standards that meet Western expectations.

Gafner pointed to large scale studies on botanicals and immunity that are underway, including one on milk thistle and another on sweet wormwood.

Breakout sessions

In addition to the panel discussion, Mundkinajeddu and Olagne presented breakout sessions on their companies’ own ingredients, including  an andrographis ingredient​ from Natural Remedies and an oat beta-glucan offering​ from Naturex.

To listing to the event in playback mode, click here to register​.

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