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Complementary medicine on the rise

Complementary medicine on the rise

Flower power continues to grow, as Brits increasingly see complementary medicines as their treatment of choice, when it comes to healthcare.

Recent research by Mintel shows that, as a nation, we will cough up £191 million on complementary medicines this year alone, a 32 per cent increase in sales since 2002. What is more, Mintel predicts that sales will break the £250 million barrier by 2011.

Today, almost half (49 per cent) of British women and almost three in ten (28 per cent) men have used complementary medication and would use it again.

A further 27 per cent of adults have not yet used these products but would consider doing so in the future.

Senior market analyst at Mintel, Alexandra Richmond, said, "These treatments have now become a popular lifestyle choice, and with retailers such as Tesco and Boots now producing own brand ranges of complementary medicine, we can see just how far these treatments have come from their hippie roots.”

As it becomes increasingly difficult to get a GP appointment, more and more of us are turning to the Internet to research symptoms and self-diagnose.

As most complementary medication is available without prescription in health food shops or even in your local supermarket, we are simply heading down the high street for these natural remedies, especially when it comes to minor ailments.

Herbal remedies, such as green tea varieties and echinacea, have proved the most popular. Not only do they account for almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of the market, but sales here have also grown the fastest since 2002.

Indeed, this year we will spend almost £120 million on herbal remedies, nearly 40 per cent more than five years ago.

Meanwhile, homeopathic treatments, such as arnica cream (£38 million), and aromatherapy treatments, such as essential oils, (£34 million) have both seen a 24 per cent growth over the same five year period.

Despite the rapid growth in sales of complementary medicine, a lack of knowledge about these treatments remains one of the major stumbling blocks in the market.

Indeed, some two in five (40 per cent) people say they don't know enough about complementary medicines, while almost one in five (18 per cent) say that they don't know what to use for particular illnesses.

Alexandra Richmond, concluded, "Although some people do still seem unsure as to when to use complementary medicines, recent legislation has meant that manufacturers can now highlight on the label which illnesses and conditions can be treated with their product.

“This will not only allow people to shop by health concern rather than ingredient, but also helps to educate them about the benefits of the individual ingredients. Once they know the facts, these people are much more likely to buy into the market."

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