Kerry Hughes, MS, principal for EthnoPharm, is an ethnobotanist, herbalist, and author with a 20-year record of success in natural product development. EthnoPharm specializes in global natural product development and education, innovative product formulation, and nexus-of-market opportunity identification. Hughes is driven by a "tenacious fascination with the potential health-enhancing role plants can play." With a focus on ethnobotanical discovery and strategic innovation, Hughes and EthnoPharm continue to expand the boundaries of new natural product development, catalyze applied phyto-product breakthroughs, and bring to market new, efficacious, and profitable products that not only heal people but help protect the threatened global biodiversity.
As science continues to evolve in the understanding of human health, new pathways emerge that are positively affected by botanicals. Ancient traditional applications of herbs, roots, rhizomes, bark, spices, and seeds—as well as fruits and vegetables—are gaining support daily in labs around the world.
There are many GRAS or GRAS-affirmed ingredients poised for use in foods and beverages to improve health and well-being. Some are “new,” some have been gaining traction, and some are surprisingly familiar. Here are half a dozen that merit a closer look.
Mounting research into causes of dementia and cognitive decline have produced the recognition that two of the potentially modifiable risk factors into these conditions are diet and exercise. In a recent study at King’s College, London 418 adults age 65 and up were tested every two to three years over a 12-year period. Results revealed that cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease were linked to levels of neural stem cell death. Importantly, underlying which was low levels of vitamin D, carotenoids, and lipids
Foods and food ingredients can affect our moods in myriad ways, both in the short-term soon after consumption and in the long term as part of our overall holistic physiology. What we ingest can have a positive impact on certain conditions, such as depression or anxiety, or, when simply quite pleasurable – think: chocolate or ice cream – give a quick burst of dopamine.
The recent explosion in consumer interest in health has led to a substantial jump in demand and sales of better-for-you foods and beverages. And, as consumers seek products with ingredients that can deliver added benefits for immune system health, they are expressing their preferences for natural solutions. Plant-based protections and remedies are an undeniable part of this trend.
Recent events have not only driven consumers to seek ways of staying healthy but pulled the mental health side of mind-body wellness to the forefront. The stress of having lives and routines (and incomes) disrupted, illnesses threatening or even invading the family, and social isolation has led to an unprecedented 40% of US adults reporting that they’re struggling with mental health problems.
Botanicals are big. The combination of health and flavor has proven irresistible to today's consumer, thrilled at knowing that the tikka masala dinner they bought contains turmeric, fenugreek, and ginger to help fight inflammation and balance blood sugar.