Nutraceutical makers insist that they want a more regulated market, improved product credibility, strong ethics and technical excellence. Although new regulations may curtail product claims, most manufacturers note that they can convey their products’ benefits by following the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) model.
Chinese consumers are firm believers in the benefits of TCM, which has a 3,000 year-old history that is built on the concepts of holistic and preventative health. Furthermore, TCM advocates maintain that any medicine is toxic to some degree and therefore food therapy as a prophylactic should be the first option for preventing diseases and treating minor ailments. Due to the cultural acceptance of this theory, the concept of using ingestible products to enhance physical appearance has readily been accepted in China.
Mung beans (Lv Dou) are said to detoxify the body and clear oily and acne-prone skin.
Consumers accept nutricosmetics, which contain food materials and or ingredients that are also used in TCM. Why? The concept of beauty from within fits so well with TCM that most Chinese consumers immediately associate these ingredients with their beautifying properties. For example, among widely recognized materials/ingredients with beautifying properties are Hong Zao (red dates) and Long Yan (Longan fruit) for stimulating blood circulation and hence promoting facial complexion, Yi Yi Ren (Seeds of Job’s Tears) and Bai He (lily bulb) for skin whitening and moisturizing, Lv Dou (mung bean) for detoxifying the body and clearing oily and acne prone skin, and Yin’er (white fungus) for skin hydration and anti-aging, to name a few.
Ally Dai is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Ringier Trade Media Ltd, responsible for trade publications including Happi China. She has more than 10 years of experience in the cosmetic and food industries. Happi China is a leading media for the China household & personal care industry. Published by Ringier Trade Media in strategic editorial partnership with Happi, it helps local manufacturers update their knowledge on formulating, testing and packaging, as well as providing market insight.