Natural remedies in high demand

By Sonya Bateson

More Bay people are turning to natural health remedies to combat winter ills.

Three health shops and a supermarket in the Western Bay say they have seen an increase in people purchasing natural health products to fight and prevent winter illnesses.

Hardy's Papamoa manager Marion Olsen said in the past three years, sales of children's vitamin C range had increased 31 per cent, children's herbal cough mixture increased by 54.7 per cent and the immune range including echinacea and olive leaf type products had increased by 45.7 per cent.

Mrs Olsen said the increase was due to parents choosing natural remedies for their children rather than pharmaceutical, possibly due to the Is Modern Medicine Killing You television series aired late last year.

"A lot of the pharmaceutical products you can't give to children under six years old so we have a herbal range they can use from new born that doesn't have the side effects and is safe for kids to use. People are wanting to be aware of the different options, a lot are being proactive and having things on hand as soon as a sniffle arrives."

When it came to popular products, Mrs Olsen said vitamin C was an "oldie but a goodie". Olive and echinacea products were also popular and Mrs Olsen said people also bought general multivitamins to cover all their bases.

Bethlehem Health and Tea Shop owner Jude Randell said she had noticed an increase in people wanting natural health products over the last few years.

"People are saying such and such didn't work or I can't give cough medicine to my two-year-old. Some people say natural remedies don't work but a few generations ago this is what people used."

Mrs Randell said people came into her shop with conditions and asking for suitable products rather than coming in with specific requests. She said because there were many different ways of treating winter ills it was hard to measure which products had increases in sales.

Health 2000 reported an increase of 18.6 per cent in sales from the year ending 2012 to 2013 in the immune products category. There had also been three times as many sales of vitamin C in the past 30 days than other immune products.

Health 2000 Mount Maunganui owner Cathie Waites said they were in the business of taking preventive health seriously.

"We are happy to help people who want to concentrate on being healthy. As every person's body and lifestyle is different, there is no one-size-fits-all prevention. People can, and do, avoid getting colds or the flu by cultivating a robust immune system and simple practical precautions like hand washing."

Last year, Countdown supermarkets saw a marked increase in sales of products for winter illnesses. A spokesman said there had been an 18 per cent increase in honey, 26 per cent increase in ginger, 32 per cent increase in lemons, 27 per cent increase in hand sanitiser, 9 per cent increase in cough medicines, 9 per cent increase in vitamin C supplements and a 7 per cent increase in tissue sales compared with the previous year.

The spokesman said this indicated people did look at other remedies coming into winter.

Foodstuffs did not respond.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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