The Society for New Age Herbals, an NGO working towards the development of herbal medicinal systems in India, today issued a list of 20 top selling classical ayurvedic medicines of over-the-counter products in the country, of which Chayawanprash, with a sale of more than Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion) per annum, is ranked at the top, followed by Triphala Churna (a mild laxative).
Other medicines among the top five are Dashmularishta (female reproductive health normalizer, post-delivery) at the third place, Ashokarishta (menstrual cycle regulator) at the fourth, and Lavan Bhaskar Churna (digestive) at the fifth slot.
A group known as Ayush representing the total market of Ayurvedic, Unani & Siddha products in India, is estimated to sell about Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion), including classical Ayurvedic medicines, which is estimated to be around Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion).
Ayurvedic medicines are normally made from raw materials of herbal, mineral, metal, marine as well as animal origin, but this list contains only classical ayurvedic over-the-counter products and excludes metallic, herbo-metallic and mineral products.
Traditional products face an uncertain future as 93 percent of the wild plants used in this practice are threatened with extinction due to overexploitation, and the Botanical Survey of India recently prioritized 359 wild medicinal plant species and conducted an assessment throughout the country to determine their health.
Of the 359 species, 335 were categorized as critically endangered or vulnerable, as they are generally collected from the wild, and about two-thirds of that harvest uses "destructive means." The Indian government in 2008 initiated a program to relocate species from the wild, study how to domesticate them, and promote sustainable harvest protocols.
Aside from its historical and cultural significance, Ayurvedic medicines could bring profits to India. AYUSH is currently exploring export opportunities for Ayurvedic medicine through Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited. Already, Ayurvedic treatments, vacations and consultants are popular among some alternative health consumers in the U.S.