Caralluma fimbriata is a cactus-like plant with a long history of use in India, where it is grown as a vegetable and is used as an ingredient in curries and chutneys. It was also traditionally used by local tribes to ward off hunger when going into the hills or woods for long stretches of time.
Gencor has been supplying the US market with C. fimbriata extracts since 2006 when it launched the Slimaluma-branded ingredient for weight management applications.
Speaking with NutraIngredients-Asia in 2019, R.V. Venkatesh, Gencor’s Managing Director, explained that the company started exploring the potential anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects of C. fimbriata after Slimaluma consumers reported mood improvements.
“The cactus from which Calmaluma is derived has been used in tribal India for years. It was consumed to ward off hunger and increase endurance in regions where sustenance wasn’t readily available. The unexpected yet beneficial outcome of its consumption is often an overwhelming feeling of calmness, which is the impetus of Gencor’s interest in the plant extract,” said Chase Shryoc, Gencor’s VP of sales and business development in a recent release from the company. “Similar to our other ingredients, Calmaluma has been clinically researched for both its safety and functionality, providing additional assurance for those who suffer the burdens of stress and anxiety.”
The ingredient has been studied in animals and humans, including a double-blind, randomized clinical trial with 97 adults self-reporting mild to moderate anxiety.
Published in 2019, the study showed that 500 mg of the C. fimbriata extract twice a day for eight weeks led to significantly greater reductions in anxiety and stress after four and eight weeks, compared to placebo (Kell et al., Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol 246, Pages 619-626, doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.12.062).
As reported by NutraIngredients-USA last summer, US sales of stress management supplements, which includes mood support and sleep products, were reported to have increased over 35% year-on-year, according to data provided by SPINS.
Sales of these supplements in the mass channels* and natural channels** totaled almost $400 million from January to July 2020, compared with $294 million for the same previous period in 2019, equivalent to 35.7% growth.
The new Calmaluma ingredient adds to Gencor’s established offering of affron by Pharmactive, a patented 100% traceable extract of saffron stigmas designed for relaxation, mental and physical balance and maintenance of positive mood.
* SPINS definitions for mass channel: The Conventional Multi-Outlet Channel (powered by IRI) covers the Grocery Outlet (store with $2M+ annual ACV), the Drug Outlet (chains and independent stores, excluding Rx sales), and selected retailers across Mass Merchandisers, including Walmart, Club, Dollar, and Military representing over 105,000 retail locations.
** SPINS’ Natural Enhanced Channel is composed of full-format stores with $2 million+ in annual sales and 40% or more of UPC coded sales from natural/organic/specialty products. It Includes co-ops, associations, independents, and large regional chains (excludes Whole Foods & Trader Joes).