Natural living: on the expansion of the global organic spices and herbs market, and vital Eastern ingredients

Spices and herbs are, in definition, ‘organic’ when they are not grown with pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), or synthetic agents or chemical additives. In other words: they grow and thrive as nature intended them — and generally, all plants — to be.

The human use of organic spices and herbs is as old as the concept of civilisation itself. Though the origins of these plant extracts may vary depending on their locations on the globe, their purposes and methods of usage are often common. They are commonly present in the areas of food preparation, beauty and wellness care, herbal remedies, and even religious rituals.

The richness of organic spices and herbs go beyond the perceivably Western rosemary and thyme. Many spices we know and use today, such as pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and fennel, come from the East and are universally revered for their health properties. 

The ancient Greeks loved their Eastern staples so much they would import them regularly. Even Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine himself, often wrote about the medical properties of saffron, cinnamon, mint, and coriander, among many other plants.

The modern demands for spices and herbs

Today, people still use Eastern plant extracts for the same reasons, albeit via a level of technological sophistication that their ancestors would only dream of and mythicise. 

New agricultural concepts such as vertical farming transcend farming issues relating to shifting climate and geographic conditions. Therefore, it is now possible for companies to produce and manufacture organic spices and herbs almost anywhere in the world.

And with the use of technological advancements in such as sensors, devices, robotic machines, and information technology (IT) as part of industry practices, many agriculture businesses can run more efficiently, organically, and ethically. 

On the consumers’ end, health consciousness is a trend that can eventually become a permanent social standard. More and more people today are aware of their health and wellbeing because information on medicinal properties of plant extracts are immediately accessible online.

It is no wonder, then, why the global organic spices and herbs market continues to thrive, even in the face of climate change and the ongoing health pandemic. As it turns out, the world’s universal love of organic spices and herbs is not going anywhere.

The remarkable expansion of the global organic spices and herbs market

According to market analysts, the global organic spices and herbs market has seen continuous demands in the past few years. It is expected to reach a production yield of 3,686-kilo tons by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.72% from 2017 to 2023. Unsurprisingly, the biggest market suppliers are developing countries led by China, India, and Vietnam.

The growth of the market is reportedly due to an increase in versatile demands across various food and beverage segments, mostly for convenience foods and beverages. And as we have mentioned earlier, not even the coronavirus can slow it down. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has only served as a reminder for many that health always comes first. As a result, people are caring about their health and wellbeing more, and are increasingly interested to learn and access the ways of optimising it at home via superfoods.

It is also the fear of scarcity that has led people to buy these shelf spices and herbs more in recent times. While closed borders and movement limitations (due to COVID1-19) have affected the supplies of organic spices and herbs worldwide, the demands for them have surged locally. This is especially true for turmeric and ginger: according to industry experts, the demands for these two products have increased by a whopping 300%.

So, curious to know what are the most demanded Eastern produces that are fueling the global organic spices and herbs market? 

Popular organic spices and herbs people love

Just check out the list of Asian superfoods gathered by our in-house researchers, below!

1. Turmeric

This spice has a long history of medicinal use that dates backs to almost 4000 years ago to the ancient Vedic culture in India. It is considered a principal herb in Southeast Asia and is used in many cuisines, natural health remedies, and natural beauty elixirs.

Turmeric belongs to a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant called Curcuma longa, which, in turn, is a derivative of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The plant is native to Southeast Asia. Its active compound, curcumin, comes with a lot of health benefits, among which are the prevention of heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, as well as the improvement of arthritis and depression symptoms

2. Ginger 

Ginger, whose close relatives are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, owes its healing prowess to gingerol. This active ingredient is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and helps to aid digestion, reduce painful symptoms of osteoarthritis, and regulate blood sugar levels.

Ginger is also incredibly fantastic for women’s health. The herb helps ease menstrual cramps and curtailing nausea (which can happen during pregnancy and menstruation).  

3. Tongkat Ali

Extracted from the roots of the Eurycoma longifolia or longjack plant, Tongkat Ali is a common herbal remedy for male infertility and low testosterone levels. It also helps with muscle production, nail growth, energy levels as well as mental health and focus in both genders.

In Malaysia, the most potent source of Tongkat Ali is our Physta® supplements, which comes in capsule form. None of our extracts leaves our factories without the verification of our scientists and our assigned United States Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA) officer.

4. Pennywort

The scientific name of the Asiatic pennywort is Centella Asiatica, but in Malaysia, it is known as ‘ulam pegaga’. In India, meanwhile, the plant takes up the name Gotu Kola

No matter the name it goes by, the fact remains that this plant is excellent for the skin. Besides helping wounds heal, it also treats many skin conditions, including leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers, eczema, and psoriasis.

That said, Pennywort’s medicinal properties are beyond skin deep. It can remedy diarrhoea, fever, amenorrhea, female genitourinary tract diseases, and even anxiety.

5. Kesum

The Persicaria minor or polygonum minus plant, which is called kesum in Malaysia, improves the brain’s memory and cognitive functions. The active ingredients responsible for its mind-powering properties are quercetin-3-glucuronide and quercitrin. 

But it is not all cognitive improvements and no bodily restoration. Kesum leaves are also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ageing, making them an excellent natural beauty remedy.

And so we created Biokesum™, our very own kesum extract, in our recognition of the plant’s power to restore the mind-body synergy. 

6. Virgin coconut oil

Did you know that the catalytic activity of lipase (a type of protein that the pancreas creates) on virgin coconut oil can produce an incredible superfood? That’s right: the combination of the two elements enables what we call the activated virgin coconut oil (AVCO). 

We ensure that we provide the best version of this performance ingredient. At Biotropics, we call it Acnaed®. Equipped with antimicrobial properties, Acnaed® helps tackle sebum-driven dermatological problems. A test lead by Korean research company, Ellead Skin Research Center, proved that it could reduce the visible appearance of acne by up to 48%.

Now spice up the world with us

Without a doubt, the Eastern organic spices and herbs mentioned above can tremendously help elevate our health and wellbeing — the natural way. And they are just six options among the endless array of medicinal plants that can be found throughout Asia!

As a critical sustainer of the organic spices and herbs market growth, Biotropics Malaysia works on tapping into this unique trend. Our company strives to meet the demands of health-conscious businesses and consumers with natural medicinal products of excellent quality.

Work with us today to help heal the world tomorrow.

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Biotropics Malaysia Berhad (Biotropics) was incorporated in February 2007 to develop and commercialise Malaysia’s bio-resources into superior natural health product. View more


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