Indian ayurvedic medicine in international market (1)
INDIAN AYURVEDIC MEDICINE IN
Himanshu Bh. Bag
THE AYURVEDIC MEDICINE INDUSTRY
Ayurvedic medicines are produced by several thousand companies in
India, but most of them are quite small, including numerous
neighborhood pharmacies that compound ingredients to make their
It is estimated that the total value of products from the entire
Ayurvedic production in India is on the order of one billion dollars
The industry has been dominated by less than a dozen major
companies for decades, joined recently by a few others that have
followed their lead, so that there are today 30 companies doing a
million dollars or more per year in business to meet the growing
demand for Ayurvedic medicine.
The products of these companies are included within the broad
category of "fast moving consumer goods" (FMCG; which mainly
involves foods, beverages, toiletries, cigarettes, etc.).
Most of the larger Ayurvedic medicine suppliers
provide materials other than Ayurvedic internal
medicines, particularly in the areas of foods and
toiletries (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), where
there may be some overlap with Ayurveda, such as
having traditional herbal ingredients in the
composition of toiletries.
The key suppliers in Ayurveda are Dabur,
Baidyanath, and Zandu, which together have about
85% of India's domestic market. These and a handful
of other companies are mentioned repeatedly by
various writers about the Ayurvedic business in India;
a brief description is provided for them, arranged
here from oldest to newest:
Dabur India Ltd.
It is India's largest Ayurvedic medicine
supplier and the fourth largest producer of
It was established in 1884, and had grown
to a business level in 2003 of about 650
million dollars per year, though only a
fraction of that is involved with Ayurvedic
medicine. Last year, about 15% of sales
volume was pharmaceuticals, the
remaining 85% were mostly non-medicine
items such as foods and cosmetics.
Dabur Chyawanprash (herbal honey) has a
market share of 70% and chewable
Hajmola Digestive Tablets has an 88%
share. Other major products are Dabur
Amla Hair Oil, Vatika (Shampoo), and Lal
Dant Manjan (Tooth Powder).
Sri Baidyanath Ayurvedic
(Baidyanath for short) was founded in 1917 in
Calcutta, and specializes in Ayurvedic
medicines, though it has recently expanded into the
FMCG sector with cosmetic and hair care products;
one of its international products is Shikakai (soap
Baidyanath has a sales volume of about 350 million
dollars, but most of the product sales are in the
The company reports having over 700 Ayurvedic
products, made at 10 manufacturing centers, with
1,600 employees. Included items are herbal
teas, patent medicines, massage oils, and
was incorporated in Bombay in 1919, named
after an 18th-century Ayurvedic.
The company focuses primarily on Ayurvedic
products (in 1930, pharmaceuticals were
added, but the pharmaceutical division was
separated off about 30 years later).
However, today Zandu has a chemicals division
and cosmetics division. Its total sales volume is
about 45 million dollars.
One of its current projects is to develop a
dopamine drug from a plant extract, applying for
new drug status in the U.S.
The Himalaya Drug Company
was established in 1934 in Bangalore.
It currently has a business level of about 500
million dollars and has a U.S. distribution
division (Himalaya USA).
It is known in the U.S. for the product Liv52, marketed as a liver protector and therapy
for liver diseases like viral hepatitis; the
product was first marketed in India in 1955.
was founded in 1947, and currently has three
distribution centers in India; it produces
liquids, tablets, and veterinary supplies.
It has gained a large advantage with its new product
Evanova, a preparation containing 33 herbs and
minerals and non-hormonal active ingredients used
as a menopause treatment alternative to HRT. Soya
is one of the main ingredients in this product.
The product also contains Ayurvedic herbs that act
like selective estrogen receptor modulators as well
as asparagus root (shatavari), which reduces the
frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
was established in 1958.
It mainly produces topical therapies based on
Ayurveda and is best known internationally
for its toothpaste product, Vajradanti, which
has been marketed in the U.S. for more than
The Emami Group
, founded in 1974, provides a diverse range of
products, doing 110 million dollars of
business annually, though only a portion is
involved with Ayurvedic products, through its
Himani line; the company is mainly involved
with toiletries and cosmetics, but also
provides Chyawanprash and other health
incorporated in 1984 and engaged in
manufacturing and sale of both generic and
proprietary Ayurvedic medicines, with a business
level of about 20 million dollars annually.
Its wide range of Ayurvedic herbal
formulations, covering most therapeutic
segments, was honored by the Indian
government's National Award for Quality Herbal
Preparations and National Award for R & D in the
It is known for its proprietary formulas for
hepatitis, diabetes, menstrual
disorders, digestive disorders, and urinary
India is called “Botanical Garden of the world” as it is the largest
producer of medicinal herbs. Out of more than 25000 plants of
medicinal value, only 10 % are used for their medicinal value. Around
1800 species are systematically documented in the codified Indian
systems of medicine.
The opportunities are enormous in India the only constraint is this
system is not recognized in most parts of the world legally as a
system of medicine /health care, allowing qualified doctors to
practice the profession, advise & prescribe Ayurvedic & Herbal
medicines & neutraceuticals.
Whatever is happening in few countries is due to individual efforts in
personal capacity & success stories heard some time. A new model &
statutory clearances for facing this challenge is now required. Recent
developments in Italy and U.K. with Lord Walton Committee, the
coming up European law on traditional medicines are all putting
more challenges & requirements to be met.
Total global herbal market1 is of size 62.0 billion dollars, in this India’s contribution is
only one billion dollars. The table in annexure 5 explains the position of India in the
global market. European union is the biggest market with the share 45% of total
herbal market. North America accounts for 11%, Japan 16%, ASEAN countries 19%
and rest of European Union 4.1%. Countries like Japan and China have successfully
marketed their traditional medicines abroad.
India has 16 Agro-climatic zones, 10 vegetative zones, 15 biotic provinces, 426
biomes, 45000 different plant species and 15000 medicinal plants that include 7000
ayurveda, 700 in Unani medicine, 600 in Siddha medicine and 30 in modern
This makes India one among 12 mega biodiverse countries of the world, which
despite having only 2.5 % total land area, accounting for over 8 % of the recorded
species of the world. The forecast is that the global market for herbal products is
expected to be $5 Trillion by 2050. Herbal remedies would become increasingly
important especially in developing countries. India, with its biodiversity has a
tremendous potential and advantage in this emerging area.
Global Herbal Market
The exports of Ayurvedic and Unani medicines put up for retail sale to other
countries have increased from Rs. 17 crores in 1992-93 to 98 crores in 1998-99.
In USA our exports have increased from Rs.47 lakhs in 1992-93 to 8 crores in put
up for retail sale. USA has stringent rules for the imported products that are used
These medicines are not exported under the category of medicines but find their
way in US market as food supplements and herbal products. Similarly in UK the
Indian exports of these products have increased from mere 5 lakhs of rupees to
above one crore from the year 1992-93 to 1998-99.
European Union is the biggest market in global herbal products. Indian products
to other countries like Germany, France, Italy and Netherland have also increased.
In 1992-93 Germany was the biggest importer of the ayurvedic and unani
medicines followed by Nigeria but their importance decreased drastically in terms
of share of the exports of Indian Ayurvedic & Unani products.
Russia was the biggest importer and destination market for Ayurvedic and Unani
products in 1996-97. Russia is one of the most important partners for India in the
exports of Ayurvedic and Unani finished products. The exports for Ayurvedic and
Unani medicines have been increasing but nothing can be predicted from the
yearly exports because that has been fluctuating.
Global Herbal Market
(US $ Bill.)
Global Herbal Market
N. America, 11%
Rest EU, 4%
Ayurvedic and Unani medicines
put up for retail sale (in RS)
Rs.)176292928 424214474 985250139 1187745520 988464125
Relative position of the countries in
Unani exports in different years
Use of Herbal Supplements
Use of Vitamin and Mineral
Grape Seed Extract
Type Sales in Millions of dollars/Year
SALES OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS IN US
BILLION OF DOLLARS