Sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States are still increasing, despite the recent negative attention the industry has received.

Sandy Almendarez, VP of Content

September 10, 2015

2 Min Read
Herb Sales Still Rise Despite Recent Negative Press

Sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States are still increasing, despite the recent negative attention the industry has received.

These products experienced a 6.8 –percent increase in 2014, reaching an estimated total of more than US$6.4 billion, according to a report published in the HerbalGram, a journal from the American Botanical Council (ABC).

Sales in the mainstream market increased an estimated 2.1 percent over 2013 sales, while sales in natural and health food stores rose by 5.2 percent.

The five top-selling herbal supplements of 2014 in the natural channel, according to market research firm SPINS, were turmeric (Curcuma longa) and extracts standardized to curcumin; wheatgrass and barley grass (Triticum aestivum and Hordeum vulgare, respectively); flaxseed and/or flax oil; aloe vera; and spirulina/blue-green algae (Arthrospira spp.). Turmeric showed a significant 30.9-percent increase in sales in 2014, continuing its rise in popularity from 2013, where it took the number-one ranking in the natural channel for the first time. In 2011 and 2012, turmeric was the third top-selling herbal supplement in natural and health food stores.

2014 marks the eleventh consecutive year of increased herbal supplements sales, according to data from previous HerbalGram herb market reports.

“This growth is being driven by consumers’ increasing interest in their health," said Mark Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director, in a video interview with me earlier this year when we discussed 2013 numbers. Blumenthal noted that consumers are taking more responsibility in their health so they are taking supplements. In 2013, sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States increased by 7.9 percent.

These numbers are from 2014 and 2013, which was before the New York Attorney General started his investigation into herbal supplements and devil’s claw; however it appears the sales of herbal supplements was not severely affected by the New York Attorney General investigation, according to an article by INSIDER’s Steve Myers in our September/October print issue. He notes that consumers are savvy and trust their herbal supplement brands, and a quick industry response may have limited the damage.

While New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman hadn’t yet questioned the merits of herbal supplements when the HerbalGram numbers were recorded, the industry was not immune to bad press back then. In December 2013, several news outlets (The New York Times, The Annals of Internal Medicine, USA Today and The New York Times again) published negative news on supplements. Despite these negative reports, supplements—specifically herbs—still experienced a growth in sales.

This—along with SPINS data that shows 2015 herbal sales aren’t slowing—bodes well for an industry that’s under scrutiny from Schneiderman, other lawmakers and the media. As long as herbal companies continue to produce quality products and offer transparency to consumers, herbal supplement users will continue to trust and use their favorite brands.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

VP of Content, Informa


• Well-known subject matter expert within the health & nutrition industry with more than 15 years’ experience reporting on natural products.

• She cares a lot about how healthy products are made, where their ingredients are sourced and how they affect human health.

• She knows that it’s the people behind the businesses — their motivations, feelings and emotions — drive industry growth, so that’s where she looks for content opportunities.

Sandy Almendarez is VP of Content for SupplySide and an award-winning journalist. She oversees the editorial and content marketing teams for the B2B media brands Natural Products Insider and Food and Beverage Insider, the education programming for the health and nutrition trade shows SupplySide East and SupplySide West, and community engagement across the SupplySide portfolio. She is a seasoned content strategist with a passion for health, good nutrition, sustainability and inclusion. With over 15 years of experience in the health and nutrition industry, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a content-focused business leader. With specialization in topics ranging from product development to content engagement, creative marketing and c-suite decision making, her work is known for its engaging style and its relevance for business leaders in the health and nutrition industry.

In her free time, Sandy loves running, drinking hot tea and watching her two kids grow up. She brews her own “Sandbucha” homemade kombucha; she’s happy to share if you’re ever in Phoenix!


Speaker credentials

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ


  • Arizona State University


Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like