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October 17, 2010

The Top Selling Herbal Dietary Supplement in 2009

The 2010 results are still to be determined as the year comes to a close, and in the meantime, I was lucky to find sales data from the previous year about which herbs and botanicals seem to be all the rage:

  1. cranberry
  2. soy
  3. saw palmetto
  4. garlic 
  5. echinacea 
 source: Nutrition Business Journal. -

Cranberry, #1 on the list, has been the go-to remedy for quite a long time, primarily for keeping urinary tract health in check. Why all of a sudden was this common, red-colored, tart-flavored berry so extra-popular in 2009? The word is getting out that cranberry is awesome even if you don't have issues with UTI's.

In late 2004, Dr. Hyun Koo from the University of Rochester, presented research that suggested cranberry juice was an effective oral treatment for plaque prevention. A landmark $2.6 million federal initiative to explore cranberries' health effects went underway, and before long, clinical testing had validated Dr. Koo's claim.

Products like Burt Bee's Natural Toothpaste and GO SMiLE Luxury Toothpaste containing cranberry, started popping up on the shelves. I bought some of the Burt Bee's brand toothpaste myself to take advantage of the benefits of cranberry. How does a person that takes care of their teeth report on the results from using the toothpaste? I do believe based on the results of the clinical research, it's doing something.

What the investment on research has returned has been phenomenal. Aside from anti-cavity properties, clinical tests are also showing that cranberry works as an anti-viral, can help with gastrointestinal health, has anti-cancer properties, can prevent kidney stone formation, increases good cholesterol assisting to prevent heart attacks and works to promote eye health and good vision. It is suspected to aid with reducing excessive perspiration and is showing favorable as an alternative to antibiotics.  Cranberry is listed as one of the worlds healthiest foods. It is also ranked among the highest in antioxidant activity after the concord grape.

To date, no major side effects have been reported as a result of consuming cranberry. It is high in potassium and Vitamin C,  however, much of its calories come from sugar and it rates medium on the glycemic index. If you are on a weight loss program or need to control your blood sugar, small servings work best. (Moderation for all things, right?)

To drink, make sure the label says it is 100% juice, unsweetened. If you need to sweeten it; honey, agave nectar and stevia extract are great natural alternatives to sugar. It is also available in vitamin and powder form.

We can expect to see a whole lot more of this berry's extract making its way into our diets and our cosmetic products in the short term. I'm about ready to buy stock in Ocean Spray, myself.

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