[World Health Day] 10 Indian Ayurvedic, herbal and wellness brands keeping the country healthy amidst COVID-19
World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7 under the aegis of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This World Health Day marks India’s path to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic with the vaccination drive.
However, major diseases such as heart disease, pulmonary disease, stroke, diarrheal disease, respiratory infections, and tuberculosis have existed long before coronavirus and will continue to affect us.
The nation’s health and wellness sector is on the frontlines in this battle, and features new-age wellness, skincare, and herbal/Ayurvedic brands that seek prevention rather than treatment for several diseases and illnesses. They also help in boosting immunity.
The market for Ayurvedic and herbal wellness products in India is expected to grow from around $4 billion in 2018 to over $9.5 billion by 2024, according to a ResearchAndMarkets report.
This World Health Day, SMBStory has curated a list of ten health and wellness brands that are tapping into this market and looking to keep the nation healthy:
Dr J Hareendran Nair spent over three decades as an entrepreneur – starting from a small makeshift Ayurvedic clinic to building one of Kerala’s largest herbal drug companies with a turnover of Rs 135 crore.
Accoladed with the Padma Shri award for his contribution and services to the cause of Ayurveda since 1984, Hareendran always wanted to serve the people. After working for almost two years, he quit his job and set up his own business of manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines.
However, he didn’t have enough funds. He borrowed Rs 50,000 from friends and family to set up a small manufacturing space in Poovachal, a rural area in Thiruvananthapuram. He started Sree Dhanwantari Ayurvedics in 1988, which was later renamed Pankajakasthuri Herbals India Pvt Ltd.
In 2003, Dr S Sajikumar turned into an entrepreneur. He launched Dhathri Ayurveda as a consumer brand for Ayurvedic products after realising the true potential of Dhathri’s formulations.
Buoyed by the success of its herbal hair oil, Sajikumar grew his business into a popular brand of herbal and natural products in south India.
Dhathri’s manufacturing units in Kerala are located at Nellad and Kayamkulam, along with facilities in Uttarakhand and Puducherry.
“The ingredients used in our products are procured directly from an ecosystem of farmers whom we closely work with to ensure that the best quality herbs are grown. These ingredients are collected and then processed in our laboratories to extract the maximum benefit,” Sajikumar says.
Today, the brand employs close to 300 people, and has its own team of Ayurveda product researchers and developers.
A young Arjun Vaidya used to suffer from severe juvenile bronchitis, which was cured after 14 years of meticulous Ayurvedic treatment. Hence, from a very young age, he developed a keen interest in learning the ancient Sanskrit scripts that had secret family formulations.
This eventually led to him founding Dr Vaidya’s in 2016, and built it into a herbal brand with 42 SKUs with 120 formulations.
With products like LIVitup (a hangover shield) and Chakaash (world’s first Chyawanprash toffees), the brand brought a contemporary approach to the traditional health and FMCG segment. Other than that, the brand has 35+ products for arthritis, diabetes, asthma, sexual wellness, weight reduction, cough, skincare, etc.
Today, Dr Vaidya’s claims to be one of India’s largest online Ayurvedic products brands, with more than 1,000 orders per day on its platform.
The age-old medicinal industry of Ayurveda has seen a boom in recent years, with many young entrepreneurs bringing its benefits to the fore. Vishal Kaushik, a marketing professional, saw great potential in this market, and thought of giving a contemporary spin to the traditional wisdom of Ayurveda.
He, along with his younger brother Parag Kaushik, launched Upakarma Ayurveda.
The company was founded in Delhi in 2017, and within four years, it claims to be making profits and selling over 50,000 units per month. The entire product range of Upakarma Ayurveda is sold across ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, FirstCry, 1Mg, and HealthKart.
Budding entrepreneur Ameve Sharma wanted to make the ancient Indian life science of Ayurveda an integral part of people’s day-to-day life, and create a diversified Ayurvedic product portfolio.
He says, “Nutrients enter our body through food. However, our food these days has lower-yielding nutritional values. So, I thought to bring in selectively sourced, natural functional foods through Kapiva.”
Along with Shrey Badhani, Ameve started his venture Kapiva Ayurveda in 2016 in Mumbai. Kapiva is a functional foods brand focussed on bringing selectively sourced natural foods to Indian consumers.
Backed by the iconic Baidyanath group, it helps to bring the wisdom of India’s ancient food traditions to modern-day consumers.
Kapiva has a portfolio of more than 40 functional food products such as herbal juices, A2 ghee, honey, oils, plant nutrition, teas, etc.
Incorporated in 1986, health and wellness brand Maharishi Ayurveda was created by Anand Srivastava to rid people of their suffering, and thereby, create a ‘disease-free society.’
Anand says, “I connected with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1970s and was a follower of his teachings. My inclination towards Ayurveda started from there, seeing the profundity of this science. Hence, with Maharishi Ji’s blessings, I thought to spread this knowledge and science by bringing forth Maharishi Ayurveda.”
The company started by setting up a manufacturing plant in SEZ Noida, and inherited the classical formulations for medicines from Vedic texts. It later expanded to Faridabad and Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. In 34 years, Maharishi Ayurveda diversified its product categories, and now clocks Rs 75 crore turnover annually.
Amit and Namit Tyagi were always inclined towards health and fitness. While working in their respective fields, the brothers realised that lifestyle issues like diabetes, weight management, and nutrition are some of the major problems in India.
They wanted to solve these problems using natural ingredients like plant-based herbs. This set the ball rolling for Neuherbs India, which was launched in 2016.
The Noida-based company manufactures plant-based Ayurvedic products in the health, wellness, diet, and nutrition categories. It started by selling green coffee and apple cider vinegar in 2016.
Today, it has over 30 stock keeping units (SKUs) across four categories, including health, hygiene, and nutrition. Making its way into a market dominated by the likes of Dabur, Himalaya, and Patanjali, the brand says it has sold 20 million products so far and claims to be clocking a turnover of Rs 8 crore quarterly.
Girish Soman founded Nisarga Herbs to manufacture an extensive range of CO2 extracted essential oils, oleoresins, and herbal extracts used in the natural products industry.
This came after his parent company Nisarga Biotech began extracting oils and infusing them in organic fertilisers.
“After looking at the success of Nisarga Biotech, we realised that our company has great potential for using extracts in Ayurvedic supplements. We expanded the business portfolio in the West, and started exporting extracts to leading biotech companies as an OEM to them,“ Girish says.
Thus, he started Nisarga Herbs in 2011. In 10 years, Nisarga Herbs has performed a double-blind clinical trial on ADHD for children in the age group seven to 14. It has filed four patents for the same in the US and India, Girish says.
At present, with a marketing network of over 10,000 retailers in 12 different Indian states, parent company Nisarga Biotech clocks Rs 50 crore annual turnover.
Brands like Kama Ayurveda, Khadi, Forest Essentials, and more are dominating the Indian organic and Ayurvedic skincare industry. Stepping into this diverse and competitive market is Chhavi Singh, who founded premium skincare brand Sacred Salts in 2018 in Gurugram.
“I personally wanted to step into the Ayurvedic skincare industry. Though the industry is already brimming with many organic brands, I felt I can add more value to the skincare segment, understanding the demand of the consumers, and delivering authentic products,” Chhavi says.
Sacred Salts was launched to bring lesser-known skin elixirs to the fore through products that are rich in nutrients and are high on luxury. Sacred Salts is also a pioneer in launching milk facewash and scrub in India.
It sells on ecommerce portals like Nykaa, Flipkart, and Amazon.in, and in 2019, went global by selling on Amazon.com.
Krishna Ayurved is a Jodhpur-based Ayurvedic brand that manufactures Ayurvedic juices, medicines, churna, and herbal beauty products among other 100 SKUs. Founder Shrawan Daga built Krishna Ayurved from scratch and grew it into a Rs 12 crore annual turnover brand.
All the products under Krishna Ayurved are made from wild or cultivated raw herbs. Shrawan says that they do not use extracts in the manufacturing process to maintain the quality, as 90 percent of extracts are made using methanol or ethanol extraction process, which is not good for the health.
Today, Krishna Ayurved manufactures for some of the leading Indian Ayurvedic brands, besides having a strong pan India presence. Krishna Ayurved is available at Iskcon temples across India, and is also present on ecommerce sites such as Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, and more.
Edited by Kanishk Singh