Since time immemorial, the essence of herbal medicine has been present, and its roots penetrate back to 800 BC. From the past few years, this paradigm of traditional medicine has expanded, and its potential is being realized. In the current scope of the study, herbal medicine is defined as the use of herbal/medicinal plants and their extracts in the areas of herbal pharmaceutical, herbal dietary supplement, herbal functional food, and herbal cosmetics.
Recent market trends illustrate that ~80% of the world’s population uses some form of herbal remedy for their primary healthcare needs. This can be seen in terms of increasing awareness of herbal medicinal products. An article published by the YouGov PLC. in 2015, reported that a majority of Britain’s population finds herbal medicine to be effective for treating illness. Moreover, low healthcare cost associated with long-term management of diseases via herbal medicine, rising R&D funding for herbal medicine, and multiple applicability of herbal medicine for various chronic and acute diseases provide suitable backgrounds for market growth. According to a study published by the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2014, it was estimated that the Americans are not satisfied with western medicine and thus, are turning for herbal medicine. This dissatisfaction can be exampled by the side effects associated with the use of synthetic drugs followed by the high cost of long-term diseases management.
However, factors such as changing regulatory standards and FDA warning against certain herbal products produces reluctance amongst the consumers for accepting herbal medicinal products. This may restrain the market growth during the forecast period. On September 2018, U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a warning letter for companies marketing kratom (a herbal supplement to treat pain and other conditions). This was seen in terms of the presence of opioids in kratom, producing a possibility for the abuse.
Considering such trends in the market, the global herbal medicine market is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 7.2% from ~ USD 95.4 billion in 2017.
Figure 1: Global herbal medicine market, 2015-2023 (USD billion)
Market segments pertaining in the market
The global herbal medicine market has been segmented on the basis of type, plant family, medicinal plant, source, product, form, route of administration, indication, and distribution channel.
The type segment is divided into western herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and Ayurveda. Western herbalism is a form of herbal healing, having its traditional routes within Europe and the Americas. In 2017, the western herbalism segment was estimated to hold the largest market share of about 46%. This was attributed due to an increasing acceptance and awareness of herbal medicine within Europe and the Americas.
The family segment of the herbal medicine market is sub-segmented into Annonaceae, Apiaceae, Apocynaceae, Asparagaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Malvacaeae, Moraceae, Ranunculaceae, Rutacease, Solanaceae, and others. Moraceae is estimated lead the market by family segment. ~22.5% of the species within the family are used in herbal medicinal preparations.
The medicinal plant segment is sub-segmented into Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Cinnamomum verum, Curcuma longa, Echinacea purpurea, Ginkgo, Ginseng biloba, Hypericum perforatum, Myristica fragrans, Piper nigrum, Serenoa repens, Silybum marianum, Syzygium aromaticum, Tanacetum parthenium, Zingiber officinale, and others. Curcuma longa is an important medicinal plant in herbalism. The plant is extensively used in herbal food supplements and herbal medicinal products. An article published by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports in 2015 stated that ~4000 tone of Curcuma longa was imported within Germany, making the country a significant revenue generator within Europe.
The herbal medicine market by source, is segmented leaf, root & bark, whole plant and fruit. It is reported that a majority of the herbal medicine products are obtained from the leaves, thus, enabling the segment to lead market. It is estimated that ~57% of all the herbal products are obtained by processing of leaves.
The herbal products available in the market can be classified four major categories namely- herbal dietary supplements, herbal functional foods, herbal beauty products, and herbal pharmaceutical. The herbal pharmaceuticals segment involves a variety of herb-based therapeutic products. Such products are used for the treatment of various health ailments such as cancer, respiratory diseases, etc. The herbal pharmaceuticals segment is estimated to hold a share of ~53% in 2017.
The form segment of herbal medicine market focuses on the dosing forms of the herbal products. A majority of the herbal dosages are available in the form of capsules & tablets, thus, making the segment to lead the market in 2017.
On the basis of route of administration, the global herbal medicine market has been segmented into major three segments, namely: oral, nasal, and rectal. In 2017, the oral segment was leading the market with a share of ~77%, owing to the availability of a variety of oral herbal products in the market. Moreover, it is reported that consumers prefer oral intake of herbal medicines.
By Indication, the global herbal medicine market is segmented into stoke, fevers, diabetes, stomach ulcer, miscarriage, diarrhea, anemia, osteoarthritis, and others. The stroke segment is estimated to lead the market and is estimated to hold a share of ~25% to 30%. This segment is estimated to show a positive growth throughout the forecast period owing to growing prevalence of cardiovascular diseases.
By distribution channel, the global herbal medicine market has been segmented into hospitals & retail pharmacies and e-commerce. This segmentation is estimated to provide information on how the distribution of herbal product occurs within the market. The hospitals & retail pharmacies were the leading segment in 2017.
The global herbal medicine by region is segmented into Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Americas, and the Middle East & Africa. The below mentioned figure illustrates the country-wise segmentation for the above-mentioned regions.
Europe leads the global herbal medicine market, owing to the presence of major players within the region and increasing demands of herbal medicine within countries like Germany, France, Italy, UK, and others. In 2017, a white paper was published by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports, stated that Germany imported ~22000 tons of dried ginger within the same year. Followed by the Europe, Asia-Pacific region is estimated to lead the market owing to the presence of major cultivation lands for herbal plants within the region. Moreover, extensive use of traditional (herbal) medicine for treating diseases in countries like Japan, China, and Malaysia boosts the market. In 2015, Japan was estimated to hold ~17% of the global herbal medicine market. Following similar trends, western herbalism has its presence within the regional boundaries of the Americas and the region is estimated to stand third in global market. From the past few years, the demand of herbal supplements has increased in the Americas, enabling the region to grow with a rapid CAGR. The North America region held ~13% of the global market in 2015. The Middle East and Africa region is estimated to the hold least share in the global market. Factors such as lack of herbalists, poor healthcare infrastructure and stringent government policies within the region makes the market to lag during the forecast period.
Players in the market:
The global herbal medicine market is occupied by various local/regional and global players. The competition in the market is increasing and new players are steeping in the market. In saying so, it is witnessed that the global players are expanding their operational boundaries by launching new & updated products and strategic acquisition.
The global market players are closely analyzed in the study. Information about the companies’ operations, their regional and segmental revenues, product offerings, key developments, and strategies are illustrative in the market report.
Some of the major players operating in the global herbal medicine market are inclusive of Arizona Natural Products, Arkopharma, Alticor, Bayer AG, BEOVITA, Blackmores, Dabur, Dasherb Corp, Dr. Willmar Schwabe Ltd., GNC, Herbalife International of America, Inc., Himalaya Global Holdings Ltd, Hishimo Pharmaceuticals, Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc., Schaper & Brummer, Shaklee, Venus Pharma GmbH, ZeinPharma Germany GmbH, and others.