Content of the study:
The herbal medicine market - France

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1.1 Definition and scope of study

Phytotherapy is medicine based on the use of plants or plant extracts and their natural properties, and comprises[FranceAgriMer] :

  • phytotherapy proper (infusions, decoctions, tinctures, medicinal plant extracts) ;
  • aromatherapy (essential oils) ;
  • gemmotherapy (extracts of buds, young shoots or other parts of medicinal plants).

Phytotherapy uses exclusively plant-based products obtained by extraction, generally diluted in alcohol or another solvent. Phytotherapy products may be available in various forms:

  • Whole or divided plants;
  • Various galenic forms (syrups, drops, tablets, capsules, sachets, ampoules).

Most phytotherapy products are marketed as dietary supplements or medicines . This study therefore focuses on medicinal plants, on which the entire industry is based, and on the various formats of phytotherapy products (mainly dietary supplements). This study excludes details on essential oils (aromatherapy), for which a dedicated study is available in our catalog.

Phytotherapy offers a number of major advantages: it is undoubtedly less toxic than drugs, and plant-based treatments accounted for less than 1% of reports of adverse reactions in 2015, all types of treatment combined.

As a result, the French herbal medicine market "proper" is booming: estimated at 778.4 million euros in 2022, it has grown by 10% since 2017, and should continue to grow at a CAGR of 5% until 2025[OpenHealth]. The aromatherapy and gemmotherapy markets are estimated at 248 million euros in 2022 and 3.4 million euros in 2021 respectively[FranceAgriMer].

Similarly, theglobal herbal medicine market is estimated at$160.2 billion in 2022 , and should continue to grow at aCAGR of 10.9% over the period 2023-2030, reaching $367.9 billion in 2030. europe largely dominates this market, with a high R&D budget particularly dedicated to it. [Market Research Future]

Indeed, in a global context of a return to natural, wellness, organic and healthier practices, phytotherapy is experiencing a certain craze. What's more, this growth has been driven by the advent of the Covid-19 epidemic, as people seek chemical-free plants to boost their immunity .

The challenge now is to better inform the public about natural treatments and their effectiveness, of which herbal medicine is one. Indeed, according to a study conducted by Ipsos in 2019, 38% of French people consider themselves ill-informed, and 32% doubt their effectiveness.

1.2 The French herbal medicine market is growing strongly

As we have already seen, the phytotherapy market comprises: phytotherapy proper (***),aromatherapy and gemmotherapy . The sales figures for these different segments are detailed below.

In ****, the phytotherapy market proper in pharmacies and parapharmacies (***) in France was estimated at *** million euros[***]. According to Arkopharma, pharmacies and parapharmacies accounted for **% of total sales ...

1.3 The global herbal medicine market

The global herbal medicine market was estimated at $***.* billion in **** , and is expected to continue growing at a CAGR of **.*% over the period ****-****, reaching $***.* billion in **** .

Global herbal medicine market size World, ****-****, in billions of dollars Source: ****

This growth is driven by the advent of the Covid-** epidemic . Indeed, ...

1.4 Foreign trade

Here, we look at imports and exports of dried aromatic and medicinal plants, followed by a breakdown of the main buyers and sellers, from and for France, of medicinal plants, aromatics, spices and aromatic seeds. Phytotherapy does not include spices and aromatic seeds, but these figures give us an idea of ...


2.1 The perception of natural treatments and phytotherapy in France

The above data dates from **** and ****, but illustrates the trust the French have in phytotherapy, which is broadly the same in ****.

In ****, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos, **% of French people said they used natural treatments, of which **% used homeopathy, **% aromatherapy and **% phytotherapy as such. We can thus observe that ...

2.2 Consumer profile

In France, in ****, **% of consumers of natural treatments were women, and this proportion rose to **% when looking specifically at phytotherapy. Also, **% of natural treatment consumers had children. Finally, the consumer base was rather young, with **% aged under **.

However, this typical profile of natural treatment consumers has gradually become more masculine, and ...

2.3 The role of healthcare professionals

Present throughout the health pathway, and therefore in this case the purchasing pathway, healthcare professionals have a key role to play in the expansion of phytotherapy in France.

In ****, **% of healthcare professionals (***). Doctors were slightly less likely to believe in the virtues of alternative medicine, but **% were positive about the use ...


3.1 Medicinal plant production in France

In the data compiled by France Agrimer, medicinal plants are included in a category of plants known as PPAM (***).

In ****, France will have **,*** hectares under PPAM cultivation, an increase of *% on ****, and **% on ****. The majority of this area will be occupied by perfume plants(***). France will have **,*** ha of medicinal plant ...

3.2 Distributing phytotherapy products

In France, the distribution of phytotherapy products is largely dominated by pharmacies and parapharmacies, which account for almost **% of market share, according to data supplied by Arkopharma (***). Supermarkets and hypermarkets account for *.*% of the market, online sales *.*% and organic and health food stores *.*%.

Distribution of phytotherapy products by channel France, ****, in Arkopharma ...

3.3 Arkopharma, market leader in phytotherapy, and acquisition by Dermapharm

Most of the major manufacturers of natural health products are present in pharmacies, but access remains difficult for many smaller players, not listed here, due to limited space in pharmacies. Laboratories such as Arkopharma, Sanofi, Bayer, Urgo, Mayoly Spindler and Biocodex, which are present in pharmacies, have crucial relationships with pharmacies ...


4.1 Typology of phytotherapy products

Food supplements account for a large proportion of phytotherapy products sold in France. They can be marketed in a variety of galenic forms. The following data dates from ****, but gives a general idea of how herbal medicines are marketed.

In pharmacies, the vast majority (***).

Main formats of phytotherapy products (***) in pharmacies France, ...

4.2 Overview of market prices

The prices below are taken from an Arkopharma document detailing the selling prices of their products in pharmacies. They are therefore statements rather than averages. The focus here is on Arkogélules and Arkofluides, the two herbal products mainly presented in this document.

For Arkogélule products, the standard format is ...

4.3 Organic products on the rise

For phytotherapy products, organic sales remain relatively low in pharmacies, but are significantly higher in parapharmacy outlets, and especially in organic stores.

Over the last decade, the number of farms and areas devoted to organic PPAM has grown remarkably, with respective increases of +***% and +***% between **** and ****. In ****, the surface area devoted ...


5.1 Medicinal plant sales in France

The sale of medicinal plants, and therefore the scope of practice of phytotherapy, is regulated by the Pharmacopoeia, which lists all recognized medicinal plants. Medicinal plants are considered to be substances with a therapeutic action, and as such, their sale is authorized only to pharmacists practicing in dispensaries. Private individuals may ...

5.2 Regulatory framework for plant-derived therapeutic products

A herbal medicine is a medicine whose active substance is exclusively one or more herbal substances or herbal preparations, or a combination of several herbal substances or herbal preparations. (***)[***]

Herbal medicinal products can be authorized in three ways:

Marketing authorization on the basis of a complete dossier (***); Marketing authorization on the ...

5.3 Regulatory framework for dietary supplements

In ****, European Directive ****/**/EC established a specific regulatory framework for food supplements. This framework provides a strict definition (***) and distinguishes between two groups: nutrients and other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. It also sets out the procedures for labeling and marketing European supplements in Europe. Decree no. ****-*** transposes ...


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