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Demand for Ayurvedic stress busters surges amid second wave of Covid-19

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With most Indians confined to their homes amid Covid-19, demand for stress relief products has surged especially during the second wave of the pandemic.

As per data from leading companies such as Emami,

, Himalaya Drug Company and Dabur, sales of balms, anti-stress products and herbs such as Ashwagandha grew 50-80% yearon-year in the past three months, clocking their highest ever revenue in most cases.

For instance, Zandu Balm, a category leader, doubled sales led by four to five times growth in northern India while sales in Delhi-National Capital Region alone expanded 20 times during April-May, generally considered an off-season for the product.

“If sanitisers and immunity boosting products were the hero categories in the first wave, balms and stress related products are for the second wave,” said Emami Ltd director Mohan Goenka. He said Zandu Balm clocked its highest ever sales in April and May. “Our data suggests over 26 lakh new consumers purchased balms in the last three months,” he said.

Companies attributed the surge to increased levels of stress, with associated symptoms such as headache, pain and lack of sleep which have been widely reported during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic owing to its effect on several families, stories of suffering viral in social media and many people using balms for steam inhalation to relieve Covid-19 symptoms.

Amrutanjan’s chief marketing officer Mani Bhagavatheeswaran said its pain relief portfolio grew 31% year-on-year in 2020-21 and that the momentum has continued in this financial year with robust growth in sales in April and May. He attributed the growth also to longer working hours due to the pandemic whereby people are spending more time in front of the computer without much exercise, leading to increase in headaches and pain.

Industry executives also said there has been an increased awareness of herbs and that continuous impetus to such products by the Ayush ministry has added to the demand.

“Uncertainty, absence of a routine and minimal social interaction can be a few factors that have increased the level of stress and anxiety amongst people of all age groups during this period,” said Anil M Jiandani, business director, pharmaceutical division at The Himalaya Drug Co.

Dabur India saw a significant increase in sales of stress relief products during the second wave of the pandemic, said marketing head for ayurvedic ethicals business Durga Prasad, and the company recently entered the pain relief segment.

As per industry estimates, the total pain relief cream and gel market in India is around `4,900 crore which includes ayurvedic, ethical and overthe-counter products. Of this, the balms segment alone accounts for `1,300 crore and the market till recently was growing 13-15% annually. The stress relief product market has been growing about 30%.

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