By Karen Raterman
HerbalEGram: Volume 17, Number 4, April 2020
Ongoing disruptions and shortages reported for various botanical ingredients
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a global pandemic. By the end of March, about one-third of the world’s population was under some form of quarantine or public lockdown, and the virus has prompted a tsunami of disruptions to the global economy.1
The pandemic has had ripple effects across virtually every economic sector, as companies and workers have halted travel and adapted to the new reality of “nonessential” business closures, supply chain interruptions, and nationwide stay-at-home orders. It is an unprecedented event for most people and has the potential to forever change life and business.
For the herbal products industry, the impacts are no less profound. The early stages of the crisis have been a roller coaster ride of trying to interpret and anticipate potential disruptions to the herbal supply chain, which is dependent to a significant degree on China, the early epicenter of the outbreak. This has been further complicated by more recent closures of other key herbal supply regions, such as India and Europe. As alarm about the virus grew, so did the demand for herbal immune enhancers,wellness formulas, traditional medicines, and botanical ingredients ranging from echinacea (Echinacea purpurea and other species of Echinacea, Asteraceae) and elderberry (Sambucus nigra, Adoxaceae) fruit to turmeric (Curcuma longa, Zingiberaceae) root and rhizome. The result may be a perfect storm for the herbal industry and could have lasting impacts on how and where product manufacturers source their botanical ingredients...