Ixoreal unlocks commercial potential of ashwagandha

25 Apr 2018

Ashwagandha is known as the king of herbs in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine – but it is still not well known in the West. Supplier Ixoreal Biomed Inc. aims to make ashwagandha as ubiquitous in Europe as Chinese ginseng, tapping into its purported benefits for body and mind.

Ixoreal unlocks commercial potential of ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has been used for a wide range of ailments

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years for a wide range of ailments, from arthritis and asthma, to bronchitis and insomnia. Ixoreal specialises in ashwagandha, which it sells under its KSM-66 brand. Company director Kartikeya Baldwa says ashwagandha is known as an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps the body adapt to demands placed on it by internal and external stressors.

The KSM-66 product is a result of 14 years of R&D. Baldwa says what makes it unique is that it is highly concentrated and contains the full spectrum of compounds present in ashwagandha root in their natural proportions.

“It is the synergy of all the constituents in the raw root that makes the root efficacious. Everything has to be in the right balance as nature intended it to be,” said Baldwa, adding that this satisfies traditionalists of the Ayurvedic system, while also using modern technology to make a concentrated supplement.

Clinical studies provide science-backed claims

KSM-66 is only promoted for benefits where Ixoreal sees the strongest evidence, including for reducing stress and anxiety, improving cognition, enhancing muscle recovery in sports nutrition, and improving sexual function in both men and women.

While the KSM ingredient already has been the subject of about 20 clinical studies, Baldwa says a landmark study is ongoing, looking at the product’s effect on stress relief and cortisol in more than 1000 participants. He emphasised that scientific backing is also an important factor for Western acceptance of ashwagandha.

“Consumers are not looking for general health but for specific functions,” he said. “They are looking for condition-specific supplements much more than they were before…Consumers are increasingly demanding evidence and validation in support of these functional claims.”

The ingredient also has 28 quality verifications, and the company controls the entire supply chain, from its organic certified plants, to its manufacturing facilities, testing centres and distributors. This helps it to oversee product quality, while also keeping costs down.

Tapping into the natural trend

The company aims to tap into several major trends driving the European market, including a trend toward natural products and away from chemical extraction.

“Consumers are increasingly showing a preference for foods that are closer to nature, more transparent, less artificial, less chemically processed. Ashwagandha extracts like KSM-66 are true to traditional ayurvedic practice and are natural in a way many supplements are not,” he said, highlighting the company’s “green chemistry” approach to extraction, which uses no alcohol or chemical solvents.

Growth markets for ashwagandha

So far, the biggest markets for ashwagandha are the United States, Canada and Australia, followed closely by Europe. KSM-66 is now sold in every European country except Denmark, which has tight restrictions on botanicals.

“I have found that a lot of innovation in the United States drives Europe as well,” Baldwa said. “In Sweden, within six months of its launch, KSM-66 ashwagandha has become the number one trending health supplement in the country…Early signs are very encouraging.”

More information about KSM-66 Ashwagandha

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