Traditional medicine has garnered significant importance in recent times. Although modern medicine has progressed leaps and bounds, it is not easily accessible for most of the population due to limited availability and high costs. Furthermore, people hesitate to adopt modern medical practices due to concerns about side effects and cultural differences.

Traditional medicines such as serrata extract have been adopted for several generations, are easily available, and are more affordable. Additionally, Boswellia serrata has many pharmacological characteristics such as antimicrobial, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory properties.

In recognition of this, many organizations are collaborating to authenticate the serrata resin and promote its usage. For instance, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the National Center for Natural Products Research, and ABC introduced a joint venture called Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP). In August 2022, it laid out around 46 analytical methods to authenticate Boswellia serrata resin and its extracts. These guidelines would enable manufacturers to establish precise specifications and improve the sector. Initiatives such as these will consequently influence the serrata extract market dynamics.

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Enlisted below are three other similar initiatives influencing the expansion of the serrata industry:

Audits to determine the sustainability of serrata extracts found in India

The growing popularity of traditional medicines has raised concerns among western medical practitioners regarding the authenticity and sustainability of their extraction source. To address these issues, various studies and audits are being conducted by notable authorities to determine the sustainability of the substance and promote its usage as a medicinal solution.

For instance, a third-party audit performed by Botanical Liaisons LLC on the Boswellia serrata gum resin business of PLT Health Solutions affirmed that the harvesting and collection methods used for extracting the resins are sustainable.

Unlike other species, the India-sourced Boswellia serrata is known for its health benefits against joint pain, cardiovascular, and respiratory disorders. Such authentications will fuel the adoption of serrata extracts, thereby stimulating industry expansion.

WHO-Government of India collaboration for globalizing traditional medicines

With the increasing costs of modern medicines, the general population is shifting towards alternative medicines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 80% of the global population is currently using traditional medicine. Governments of the 170 member countries using traditional medicine have requested the WHO’s support in establishing a body of reliable data and evidence on traditional medicine products and practices.

For instance, in March 2022, the WHO signed an agreement with the Government of India to set up the WHO Global Center for Traditional Medicine. This global hub for traditional medicines is bolstered by an investment of USD 250 million from the Indian government. The center intends to extract the potential of traditional medicines throughout the world using modern science and technology to enhance the health of the general population.

Furthermore, the Government of India formed a National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) to promote the cultivation of medicinal plants and their sustainable utilization. As a result of such robust support for traditional medicines, serrata extract is expected to emerge as a prominent element in traditional medicine over the coming years.

Recognition of medical tourism for TCM in China

In the 1960s, barefoot doctors were a prevalent and effective solution for healthcare in rural areas of China. Here, locals from rural regions were trained with basic conventional as well as traditional diagnostic and treatment procedures, mainly for easily categorized ailments.

While recent technological advancements have enabled the country to make the shift from barefoot doctors to autonomous mobile clinics (AMC), the country is still well known for its own brand of medicine, dubbed TCM or traditional Chinese medicine.

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Medical tourism hubs in the country are drawing in numerous tourists looking to explore traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). To cater to this need, China has opened TCM centers in over 12 cities, including Budapest, Barcelona, and Dubai, boosting sales of conventional remedies.

The WHO is also supporting TCMs as a step towards universal healthcare. In 2022, the World Health Assembly integrated details about traditional medicines in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). Global recognition of traditional medicines will thus pave the way for Boswellia serrata extracts to emerge as a viable traditional medicine solution and in turn, complement the growth of the serrata market over the foreseeable future.

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