MEDIA RELEASE: Government Recognises Natural Health Products for Symptomatic Relief

7 March 2022

Natural Health Products NZ is pleased to see the Ministry of Health’s Isolation Plan for Covid-19 preparedness includes the ‘Checklist: Get things ready to isolate’ and ‘Ways to feel better if you’re māuiui unwell’.  In particular, we are pleased to see the benefits of natural health products being promoted. 

  • “Drinks and other medications that help with cold and flu-like symptoms, like lemon tea with honey, cough syrup.”
  • “For coughs, sore throats or blocked noses try: hot lemon and honey or kawakawa tea”

Preparing to self-isolate

COVID-19: Isolation Plan

We are also encouraged to see that in this advice the Ministry of Health recognises that native natural health ingredients have traditional medicinal uses, in this case for symptomatic relief of coughs, colds and sore throats.

Following on from the Ministry of Health’s recommendations, we feel it would be helpful to also mention a few other natural health ingredients that are well regarded and accepted by international regulatory authorities for their symptomatic relief health benefits:

Ingredients for cold and flu-like symptoms include:

  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry
  • Garlic
  • Liquorice

Ingredients for the symptoms of coughs, sore throats or blocked noses include:

  • Echinacea
  • Elderflower
  • Elecampane
  • Propolis
  • Thyme

Other native natural health ingredients with traditional medicinal usage as part of Rongoā Māori may also be of benefit for symptomatic relief.  Natural Health Products NZ recommends the Ministry of Health investigate this further with appropriate consultation to establish appropriate evidence-based ingredient recommendations.

Communicating evidence-based health benefits to people enables them to better support themselves and their families by allowing them to make informed choices to be prepared.  This is a core principle of Natural Health Products NZ.  Incorporating traditional complementary and herbal medicine is also part of the WHO Strategy, and as a member state, New Zealand has an obligation to foster this strategy as part of our approach to overall health and wellness.  

As an industry, we urgently call for regulatory reform that incorporates the ability to make appropriate evidence-based health benefit claims such as these, that benefit both users and consumers, as well as our country’s valuable and growing natural health products sector, worth in excess of $2.4b.  Other countries have enabled this, but NZ has not.

Natural Health Products NZ continues to lobby the government for modern regulations and continues to offer our industry’s expertise in order to help inform this much-needed natural health products regulatory reform.