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Spain’s authorities have certified the entirety of Nektium’s Rhodiolife® Rhodiola rosea inventory as CITES-compliant. The approval means the Las Palmas-based company now has permits in place to commercialise large volumes of Rhodiolife® for customers within the EU and worldwide, both directly and via its network of global distributors.

In February, CITES incorporated Rhodiola spp. into Appendix II, its list of endangered species that are subject to international trade controls. On 20 May, the EU added Rhodiola spp. to Annex B, its equivalent list of species subject to restrictions. Subsequent to this, Nektium applied for trade permits for its existing Rhodiolife® stocks. These were granted on 16 June.

Bruno Berheide, Nektium’s Commercial & Partnerships Director, said: “Our approved Rhodiolife® stocks are sufficiently abundant to meet market demand for the foreseeable future. This is a major boost for the Rhodiola rosea category, which continues to thrive. At the same time, we are continuing to communicate regularly with our suppliers to guarantee compliant raw material from future harvests to ensure long-term continuity of supply.”

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna. Although a voluntary organisation, its decisions are considered binding for the 184 countries that are members.

Rhodiola rosea is one of nature’s most potent adaptogens, offering a range of scientifically proven cognitive health and sports performance benefits. The popularity of the plant, which grows wild in the remote Altai mountains in south and central Asia, has put pressure on supplies, leading to over-harvesting. Historically, Nektium has relied on wild Rhodiola rosea roots harvested using sustainable practices. But the company recently pioneered the large-scale cultivation of Rhodiola rosea at levels sufficient to satisfy market demand.

Nektium is launching an organic version of its elderberry extract as consumer demand for natural ingredients with antiviral properties continues to rise. The botanicals specialist is also releasing a more concentrated version of the product.

The global market for organic food and drink products is expected to expand at a CAGR of 11 % per year, reaching a value of $220 billion by 20241, while the popularity of organic supplements is also on the rise.

Alongside this, demand for elderberry has been growing since the start of the pandemic, with consumers increasingly seeking natural ingredients that have a positive immune effect. Elderberries contain a high concentration of active ingredients, including phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and ease flu-like symptoms.2

To meet demand for more concentrated extracts, Nektium is now adding a new grade of its elderberry line, containing 10 % anthocyanins. The 10 % variant will join the existing 6 % grade in the company’s portfolio, which will now also be available in organic form for the first time. Nektium’s elderberry portfolio comprises ingredients made from Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), which has been scientifically proven to effectively treat upper respiratory symptoms.3 4

Thomas Adler, Chief Business Officer at Nektium, said: “Demand for elderberry rose significantly when the pandemic hit and it became a top selling ingredient, having experienced a 150 % jump in sales compared with 2019. We are proud that we have been able to develop our portfolio to offer our customers higher standardisations of anthocyanins as well as an organic variant, which we believe will tap into the increasing popularity of all things organic and ingredients with a proven positive immune effect.”

Nektium is also confident the company can meet the ongoing demand for elderberry, despite reports of global raw material shortages.

Adler said: “The sudden and significant increase in demand for elderberry since the onset of Covid-19 led to a temporary shortage of raw materials for many producers and we have also seen a rise in inferior low-quality products hitting the market. At Nektium we have a trusted source of raw materials because long-term partnerships are important to us. We also ensure our suppliers comply with the highest of standards and therefore we are confident we can continue to supply our high-quality elderberry extract to meet the ongoing popularity of this ingredient.”

1Research and Markets, Organic Food and Beverages Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027), June 2022
2Wieland LS, Piechotta V, Feinberg T, Ludeman E, Hutton B, Kanji S, Seely D, Garritty C. Elderberry for prevention and treatment of viral respiratory illnesses: a systematic review. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Apr 7;21(1):112. doi: 10.1186/s12906-021-03283-5. PMID: 33827515; PMCID: PMC8026097.
3Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:361-365. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004. Epub 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30670267.
4Porter RS, Bode RF. A Review of the Antiviral Properties of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products. Phytother Res. 2017 Apr;31(4):533-554. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5782. Epub 2017 Feb 15. PMID: 28198157.