South African association putting native herbals on the map

The association, which so far comprises 17 members of Africa’sย rapidly expanding botanical products industry from across South Africa as well asย Namibia, the USA and Canada, aims to create a connected, compliant and affluent supplements industry for a region which has previously been hindered by regulatory barriers to market access.

โ€œThere are plenty of promising candidates waiting to be kissed awake with the primary hinderance so far being regulatory barriers to market access,โ€ said Dr Thomas Brendler, SABPAโ€™s head of regulatory affairs and CEO of U.S.-based Plantaphile, aย consultancy specializing in licensing herbal products as medicines.

โ€œIngredients from the region started to arrive in first world markets during colonial timesโ€”with ingredients such as aloe and buchuโ€”ย then through entrepreneurs at around the beginning of the 20thโ€‹ century with rooibos, honeybush, devilโ€™s claw, umckaloabo and uzara.

โ€œAnd finally, with an increasingly high fail rate, in the second half of the 20thโ€‹ century, came ingredients such as hoodia and sceletium. Whatโ€™s the problem? Barriers of entry mainly due to ever more demanding regulatory frameworks, which render even the remaining pathways economically unfeasible.โ€

With a key focus on raising awareness and developing markets for products in local and international markets, the association has high hopes for its native and increasinglyย popular ingredient Mesembryanthemum tortuosumโ€”aka Sceletium tortuosumโ€‹; sceletium, kannaโ€”ย a succulent plant in the Aizoaceae family native to the Cape Provinces of South Africa.ย 

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