In recent years, the demand for natural products and supplements has skyrocketed worldwide, fuelled by increasing acceptance of traditional herbal medicines and popular consumer demand for alternative therapies. The Asian markets are a major part of this trend. With a strong history of traditional remedies (including so-called “Chinese medicine”), consumers and many Asian countries often turn to traditional remedies as a supplement or a substitute for “Western medicine.” Many experts predict that Asia will be the fastest growing region for both sales and development of new organic, herbal, and nutraceutical products over the next five years.
Not only does Asia have a large consumer market for traditional medicine, many believe the region may become the world’s largest exporter of these types of products. While in previous years safety issues and lax regulatory regimes in many Asian countries have been of concern, recent moves by many Asian governments to achieve standards in line with Western markets have made the region’s manufacturers more “attractive” to exporters. China is an important example: The country’s recent entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) prompted a tightening of regulations and enforcement mechanisms surrounding the organic food, nutraceutical, traditional Chinese medicine, and dietary supplement industries (as well as Western pharmaceuticals).
Finally, Western and joint-venture firms are becoming more active in the Chinese medicine market, particularly as Western demand for these products increases. ZenTech™ is a Los Angeles based company whose mission statement is “to bring to the world the best Chinese Herbal Formulas packaged, tested, and researched to strict Western standards.” One of the first companies to market traditional Chinese supplements that have been researched and produced using strict Western scientific standards, ZenTech and its flagship product, Immune+, is a pioneer in the burgeoning Western market for Chinese traditional medicine. ZenTech’s products are tested for efficacy and safety at the University of California Davis Medical School.