Sabinsa expands Ayurvedic herb cultivation as demand grows

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Muhammed Majeed, Sabinsa Corporation’s founder
Dr Muhammed Majeed, Sabinsa Corporation’s founder

Related tags: Dr muhammed majeed, Blood sugar

Botanical supplier Sabinsa is expanding its existing cultivation program for Indian herbs to ensure sustainable supply of ingredients such as turmeric, gac, and black ginger, in order to match demand in the global US$1.6 billion market.

While no one has done a major survey for Ayurvedic market size to determine the value, Dr Muhammed Majeed, Sabinsa Corporation’s founder, told us that the Indian market is approximately US$ 1.2 billion, and the export market is US$ 400 million.

Demand continues to grow for Indian herbs as products based upon India’s Ayurvedic medical system gain in popularity. In order to maintain a steady supply of raw material while also protecting the viability of potentially endangered herbs Dr. Majeed has initiated an aggressive “backward integration” program to expand the company’s existing cultivation program.

“India has a rich heritage in medicinal herbs that have a significant impact on improving human health, but demand is jeopardizing sustainable supplies of some of the herbs,”​ he said. “We are confident that we can develop cultivation programs that meet our own requirements, thus helping to protect the supply of these cultural treasures from overharvesting.”

Adulteration

“Understanding and acceptance of Ayurveda has been steadily growing,” ​Dr Majeed told us. “While early on companies attempted to educate about doshas and body-type specific products, once there was more focus on universally-beneficial products consumers were more accepting. Now Ayurveda is well-accepted in the US, and products are understood to be based upon a health care system that has been validated by modern science, which we believe has been largely influenced by companies educated through our Sabinsa on Wheels programs through the years. 

“However with greater acceptance comes increased demand,” ​he added. “Unfortunately we’re seeing some ingredients that are adulterated with synthetic versions of herbs. Reputable manufacturers need to be aware that this is happening and guard against procuring ingredients that are adulterated or spiked with other ingredients.

“Ayurvedic ingredients are powerful compounds when extracted correctly and used correctly. Ingredients like Curcumin have become mainstream as research grows and this trend will only continue.”

Sustainable supply

To keep up with demand for the herbs and medicinal plants, Sabinsa has announced it is in the process of acquiring an additional 5,000 acres of farmland in Tamil Nadu for cultivation, as well as set up a demonstration farm to train more farmers in how to best grow specific herbs Sabinsa will purchase from them.

The company became actively involved in cultivation programs 11 years ago and over the years has increased the program to cultivate 40,000 acres.

Sabinsa’s manufacturing arm Sami Labs requires around 20,000 tons of turmeric alone, said the company, in addition to many other raw materials in relatively short supply such as gac, black ginger, bitter gourd, tulsi and shatavari. Black ginger, which is used as an aphrodisiac in East and South East Asia, is grown mainly in the eastern parts of the country, and Sabinsa intends to begin cultivation. For tulsi, the company intends to cultivate about 1,000 acres.

Dr Majeed’s concern for the Ayurvedic medicinal plants in danger of extinction from overharvesting in various parts of the country has won praise from many, including Minister Shripad Yasso Naik, India’s Minister tasked with promoting India’s traditional health and wellness modalities Yoga and Ayurveda, who recently visited Sami Labs.

Health benefits of Indian herbs

Curcumin’s potential health benefits include: 

- antioxidant activity; quenching free radicals and also preventing their formation.
- help support brain function neurological system.
- anti-inflammatory activity helps support joint health

Gac. An extract of Gac enriched with Lycopene shows the following benefits
- Cardiovascular Support by having a protective effect 
- Potent antioxidant that that significantly decreases oxidative DNA damage
- Helps support bone health
- Improves Skin Health

Black ginger

- Effective Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor thus promoting Mens health 
- Adaptogen 
- Induces vasorelaxation and supports the use as an antihypertensive agent 
- Enhances muscle strength and aerobic endurance

Bitter Gourd

- Blood sugar management by stimulating insulin secretion and inducing glucose uptake in liver
- Significantly reduces both fasting and post-prandial serum glucose levels
- Helps improve glucose tolerance

Tulsi

- Helps relieve anxiety-related stress
- Useful in respiratory support

Shatavari

- Extensively evaluated to increase milk secretion during lactation
- Has significant antibacterial activity

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