Botanical ingredients: Intakes, regulations, risks and attitudes

B. McDaid, J. V. Woodside, C. E. Neville, A. P. Nugent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Botanical ingredients have been used for centuries in food and in medicines, typically to support and maintain physiological functions and as remedies for many ailments. Today, botanical ingredients are still ingested as part of food supplements or herbal medicines (HM). Industry reports suggest growing global sales of and revenue from HM and food supplements containing botanicals, hereafter called botanical food supplements (BFS). In the context of this suggested growing popularity, this article will introduce both BFS and HM and then explore the available data on BFS intakes and consumer attitudes to their use. It will describe the EU regulatory framework within which BFS sit and mention research suggesting possible interactions between botanical ingredients, HM and traditional medicines. It is intended as a brief overview rather than a comprehensive review of the area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-522
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for the advice received from the MHRA regarding classification of herbal medicines during the preparation of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 British Nutrition Foundation

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • botanicals
  • dietary intake
  • food supplements
  • herbal medicines
  • regulations
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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