Ayurvedic ingredients have been healing people for more than 4,000 years. Finally, it seems they're making headway into the American vernacular. In his Nutracon presentation, “Game Changer: The science of efficacy with a focus on Ayurvedic herbs,” Rajiv Khatau, explained how modern studies are proving ancient traditions, and how the clinical work impacts the industry.
The founder of LODAAT (Live one day at a time), a leading supplier of complimentary alternative medical ingredients, supplements, tools and therapies, Khatau is former Director of Finance for Wal-Mart Corporation's General Merchandise Global Sourcing Division. We recently spoke with him about Ayurvedic in America.
Fi: What's the latest word in Ayurvedic products and ingredients?
Rajiv Khatau: Growth. Ayurveda is just growing, that's the biggest trend. You have double-digit growth, and according to some, triple-digit. There's interest and purchases in all different types of products. And, a lot of people don't even know they're buying an Ayurvedic product. For example, curcimin. It's recently gaining in popularity here, but is one of the oldest ingredients that's been used in foods and traditional healing for thousands of years. Another example is aloe vera. People don't realize it's an Ayurvedic ingredient. Recently, people are becoming interested in the more “exotic” herbs and botanicals, like ashwaganda, which supports cognitive function and immunity.
Fi: What does it take to convince the public to pay attention to these ingredients?
RK: The bottom line is science. You need to be able to back up whatever you say. You have to show the science that supports the claims and be able to talk to consumers about how the products work. The consumers are smart. And they're getting more demanding.
Fi: How does that impact the industry?
RK: The manufacturing process is more heavily scrutinized. And this is an issue across the nutraceuticals industry, not just botanicals. People want to see how you can get a really great process, with high stability and the best level of purity. To answer this, at LODAAT, we've created our own internal process called Thermogenysis. It's about 8,000 pages long, I kid you not. Our factories abide by this internal manufacturing process based on ICH and WHO guidelines. We're abiding by millinea-old procedures and at the same time, overlaying them with twenty-first century pharmaceutical standard operating procedures.
Fi: More and more clinical studies back up the ingredients, like those described in your presentation. But is the word getting to the consumer?
RK: It's a tough one. It takes a long time. Fifteen years ago, people didn't know what omega-3s were, now that knowledge is very common. I definitely don't think it's where it should be, as far as the public. Is it getting there? Yes. It takes a lot of education. Dr. Oz is wonderful. He talks about curcumins and a lot of other ingredients, but he's just one person. He's got a great platform, but it needs to be out there even more.
Fi: What are the challenges to educating the consumer?
RK: The term “Ayurvedic” itself scares people. (“Ayu” means “science,” and “vedic” means “life.”) It's funny, we try not to emphasize it much. We just say that we're a science-based organization, coming up with manufacturing techniques based on very ancient, traditional methods and we use some really cool herbs grown all over the world, primarily in the Himalayas. Then, people say, “OK, cool, I get it.” It's just about people learning about it, and that it's not really weird or different, though some of the names sound a little foreign. It's just a learning curve.