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1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Phytotherapy is medicine based on the use of plants or plant extracts and their natural properties. Phytotherapy uses products exclusively of plant origin obtained by extraction, generally diluted in alcohol or another solvent. In herbal medicine, the products may be available in different forms:

  • In the form of whole or divided plants ;
  • In many galenic forms (syrup, drops, tablets, capsules, sachets, ampoules...)

Most herbal products are marketed as food supplements or medicines. Thus, this study focuses on medicinal plants, on which the entire sector is based, as well as the various formats of phytotherapy products (mainly food supplements). Essential oils (aromatherapy) are excluded from this study, for which a dedicated study is available in our catalogue.

Herbal medicine has several major advantages: it is probably less toxic than drugs, and it has been proven that treatments with plants present less than 1% of the reports of adverse reactions observed in 2015, all types of treatments combined.

In a global context of return to naturalness, well-being, organic and healthier practices, phytotherapy is experiencing a certain craze.

1.2 The French herbal medicine market is growing strongly

In ****, the herbal medicine market in France was estimated at nearly *** million euros. The data used for this estimate are the following:

According to FranceAgrimer, sales of phytotherapy products in pharmacies and para pharmacies in **** reached ***.* million euros [***]. According to Arkopharma, pharmacies and para pharmacies represent **% of total sales of phytotherapy ...


2.1 The perception of natural treatments and phytotherapy in France

In ****, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos, **% of French people said they use natural treatments of which **% use homeopathy, **% aromatherapy and **% herbal medicine. We can thus observe that phytotherapy, although used by nearly one French person out of five, remains less known and widespread than other so-called "alternative" or natural ...

2.2 Consumer profile

In France, in ****, **% of consumers of natural treatments were women, and this proportion rose to **% when looking specifically at herbal medicine. **% of consumers of natural treatments have children. Finally, we note that the consumer base is rather young, with **% aged under ** years.

However, this profile of consumer of natural treatments is ...

2.3 The role of health professionals

Present throughout the health journey of individuals, and therefore there in the purchasing journey, health professionals have a key role to play in the expansion of phytotherapy in France.

In ****, more than **% of health professionals said they believed in the health benefits of herbal medicine (***).

Similarly, nearly **% of health professionals recommended ...


3.1 Medicinal plant production in France

In the data compiled by France Agrimer, medicinal plants are part of a category of plants called PPAM (***). In France, the turnover of the PPAM culture reaches about *** M€ [***].

The cultivation of PPAM in France covered more than **,*** hectares in ****, i.e **% more than in ****. The majority of this area was ...

3.2 The distribution of herbal products

In France, the distribution of phytotherapy products is largely dominated by pharmacies and parapharmacies, which account for nearly **% of market share according to data provided by Arkopharma (***). Large and medium-sized retailers represent *.*% of the market, online sales *.*% and health food stores *.*%.

Distribution of phytotherapy products by circuits France, ****, in % Source: ****

3.3 Arkopharma, the market leader in herbal medicine

Arkopharma is the European leader in the herbal medicine market. The company is present in more than ** countries worldwide, with several international subsidiaries in Europe. In ****, the company reported sales of *** million, ** million in natural therapies and nearly *,*** employees.

Despite a strong expansion strategy, France remains a key country for the ...


4.1 Typology of herbal products

Food supplements represent a large part of the phytotherapy products sold in France. They can be marketed in different galenic forms.

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

Main formats of phytotherapy products (***) in pharmacies France, ****, in %   Source: ****

Main formats of phytotherapy products (***) in parapharmacy France, ****, in % Source: ****


In both pharmacies and ...

4.2 Overview of market prices

The prices below are extracted from an Arkopharma document detailing the selling prices of their products in pharmacies. It is therefore a statement and not an average. We are interested here in the Arkogélules and Arkofluides ranges, the two phytotherapy ranges mainly presented in this document.

For Arkogélule products, ...

4.3 The organic offer is growing

Organic market share in phytotherapy products France, ****, in % Source: ****

Concerning phytotherapy products, organic sales remain relatively low in pharmacies (***).

More generally, Synadiet analyzed the organic composition of food supplements in ****: **.*% of them were made up of non-organic products and *.*% of organic products. Organic products are mostly present in vitality, slimming, digestion, ...


5.1 The sale of medicinal plants in France

The sale of medicinal plants, and therefore the field of practice of herbal medicine, is regulated by the Pharmacopoeia, which lists the recognized medicinal plants. Medicinal plants are considered as substances with therapeutic action, and as such, their sale is only authorized to pharmacists. Pharmacists are therefore allowed to sell medicinal ...

5.2 Regulatory framework for herbal therapeutic products

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

There are three ways in which a herbal medicine can be authorised:

Marketing authorisation on the basis of a complete ...

5.3 Regulatory framework for food supplements

The european directive ****/**/EC provides a regulatory framework for food supplements since ****. This framework provides them with a strict definition (***) and distinguishes two groups: nutrients and other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. It also indicates the procedures for labelling and marketing of European supplements in Europe The decree n°****-*** ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Laboratoires Arkopharma SA
  • Pierre Fabre
  • Bayer
  • Ipsen
  • Merck KGaA
  • Nutreov
  • PiLeJe
  • Groupe Fenioux
  • Natur House
  • Puressentiel France
  • Groupe Inula (Pranarôm)

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