|ABS Herbs a Superbrand
Within the past decade, herbal medicine has gained increasing importance, with both medical and economic implications. In developing countries particularly, as much as 80 percent of the indigenous population still depends on traditional systems of medicine and medicinal plants for healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) has forecasted that the global market for herbal products will be worth US$5 trillion by the year 2050. Europe and the United States are the two major herbal products markets in the world, with a market share of 41 percent and 20 percent respectively.
Widespread use of herbal medicines has raised questions about their quality, safety, and efficacy. As part of its overall global strategy of “health for all”, the WHO has begun the extensive task of reviewing the world’s scientific literature of commonly used herbal medicines to promote global harmonization of herbal health claims.
In the Philippines alone, the growth of natural dietary supplements, primarily herbal-based products, is estimated by independent surveys to have reached PhP700 million in sales in 2003. There are some 100 herbal products in the Philippine market ranging from single herbs, to combination herbs, to herbs with extracts.
Established in 1998, ABS Gen International Corporation has been making life better by introducing natural herbal dietary supplements when it launched its products in 1999. Its manufacturing company, Philherbs Nutraceutical, ensures that its products contain only the best ingredients to deliver 100 percent of nature’s nutritional potency, thus making life better the natural way. These products identified with better living are ABS Bitter Herbs® capsules for providing nutritional support of diabetics, ABS Herbal Tea® for detoxification and CharaGen® Ampalaya/Bitter Melon capsules and tea for helping prevent diabetes.
ABS Gen Herbs International Corporation was given the Rising Star award as a special citation at the Sixth Golden Shell Awards (GSA) 2002. The award recognized the company’s introduction of the first Filipino ampalaya-based products as “diabetes food supplement” to the world market - ABS Bitter Herbs® capsule, ABS Herbal Tea®, CharaGen® Forte Bitter Melon (Ampalaya) Tea - via the company’s participation at the well attended Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) trade fair in Anaheim, California in 2001. For its highly creative marketing and promotion strategies resulting in the acceptance of ABS Bitter Herbs® in the American, Japanese, and Middle East markets, the GSA was given by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), an export promotions agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
ABS Herbs also received an award from the Asia-Pacific Shoppers Choice Institute for its blockbuster product ABS Herbal Tea® as the Number One Herbal Tea Brand in the Philippines in 2004. The award was conferred based on the product’s effectiveness, affordability, and consumer preference. ABS Herbal Tea® is composed of three local herbs that are fiber-rich and which flush out toxins, indigestible food, and waste.
An independent survey in 2003 of 1,000 respondents shows that ABS Herbs is the most recognized herbal supplement company in the Philippines. A survey in 2004 shows that the company generated the highest volume sales among all herbal supplement marketers in the Philippines. ABS Bitter Herbs turned out to be the top-selling ampalaya-based herbal product in the country.
All ABS Herbs products have been subjected to various tests by independent laboratories and are approved by the Bureau of Food and Drug. They have likewise been recipients of excellence awards such as the National Consumers’ Quality Award and the National Consumers’ Excellence Award.
Company Founder and Vice President Grace Galindez-Gupana has a more colorful tale to tell, one that started much earlier than the success story that is all about ABS Gen Herbs International today. Always a creative and hard worker, Grace embarked on a boom-and-bust business cycle by repeatedly being successful in a venture, but eventually always failing at it.
She used all the lessons she learned from her failed businesses to work better with employees and clients, and saw her efforts pay off handsomely. Additionally, she attributes arriving at the formulation for her products containing Active Bitter Supplement or ABS as a gift from God.
At present, the ABS Herbs products are made available in the US market through Asian and Oriental stores through its US distributor. It has made proprietary boxes for Germany, Austria and Switzerland where it sells a significant volume of CharaGen Ampalaya/ Bitter Melon tea.
The company’s new products include Grace Virgin Coconut Oil® for boosting the immune system, Kolestrim® coconut fiber in capsule for helping reduce bad cholesterol, and Circumax® with Ginseng for better blood circulation. These are already available in all recognized drugstores and selected supermarkets in the Philippines.
ABS Herbs takes pride in its Bitter Herbs capsules that contain what are called the “7 Power Herbs” - ampalaya (bitter melon), king of bitters (Andrographis paniculata), luyang dilaw (turmeric), saluyot (Corchorus oliturius Linn), Yerba buena (peppermint), lagundi (Vitex negundo) and malunggay (Moringa oleifera).
The company claims that each herb has been thoroughly researched and designed to act in conjunction with one another to enhance overall well being. The WHO and the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) have also classified Ampalaya/Bitter melon, one of the seven ingredients in ABS Bitter Herbs, as a rich source of dietary fiber shown to be beneficial to diabetics.
ABS Herbal Tea® contains three herbs: Anise, Peppermint and Ampalaya. This unique combination is said to help promote the right body weight and shape. Unlike other teas, the effect of this tea is said to be gradual, allowing more time for the digestive system to assimilate useful nutrients.
CharaGen® capsules and tea contain carefully selected Philippine ampalaya which has a strong bitter taste. It is highly recommended for people with Diabetes Mellitus and those who have a history of diabetes in the family.
ABS Bitter Herbs is the first herbal supplement in Southeast Asia to have received certification from NSF International USA, achieved on June 15, 2004 at the Anaheim Convention Center in LA, California, USA
NSF International USA is a non-government organization based in Michigan that has become a world leader in standard development, product certification, education, and risk management for public health and safety. It has written standards and certified products that protect food, water, air, and other consumer products since 1944, in the process developing America’s first truly independent testing standards and product certification program strictly for dietary supplements.
NSF analyzed the Bitter Herbs products for their label claims and for the presence of contaminants such as heavy metals, microbiological growth and toxins. Representatives also visited the manufacturing facility and audited it thoroughly for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
ABS Herbs products have been approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs, produced under the Philherbs Qualicheck Program, adhering to current Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP), are SGS tested and certified by the NSF International.
ABS Herbs has recently partnered with a large distribution company Diethelm (Philippines) Inc., a unit of Swiss company DKSH and one of the leading distributors of pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare products in South East Asia and the Philippines. Currently, ABS Herbs products are now heavily distributed in majority of drugstores and supermarkets in the country.
Today, ABS Gen Herbs products are highly visible through many forms of advertising – on large billboards along highways, in small signs on sari sari stores, in point of sale displays in drugstores, convenience stores and other specialty outlets, in print via newspapers and magazines, on radio and television as well as publicity releases.
But ABS Gen Herbs hit its highest point and transformed itself into a midnight sensation when singer-performer Gary Valenciano, a well-known diabetic, used and endorsed ABS Bitter Herbs capsule on all the media channels.
Nonoy Zuñiga, another well known singer-performer and medical doctor, also endorsed the product, as well as Dorothy “Joy” Delasin, Fil-Am World Golf Champion of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).
Mike Enriquez, one of the Philippines’ credible newscasters, also endorsed ABS Bitter Herbs.
The company added another notch to its level of credibility when former DOH Secretary and now Senator Juan Flavier, M.D., author of the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) and the “Sampung Halamang Gamot”, and a strong advocate of Philippine herbs and vegetables, used and endorsed the company’s products.
One only needs to look at the roster of ABS Gen Herbs product testimonies to grasp the level of esteem accorded them by their users. Business executives, sportsmen, professionals and even medical practitioners, down to the jeepney driver, have good words to say about the products.
The ABS Gen Herbs logo and its dominant green and yellow colors are easily distinguished even in a trade fair crowd numbering thousands. In the Philippines, if it is not a certain pride, there is nevertheless a comfortable companionship between the company and its thousands of users. The ABS Gen Herbs roomy plastic bag is a much desired giveaway in any local trade fair the company participates in. People like it for its roominess, the surprise product giveaways sometimes tucked inside among the product flyers, and certainly, the warm colors of the sun, the vibrant freshness as well as the health and wellness that green connotes.
Undoubtedly, ABS Gen Herbs and its product logos enjoy the trust of its users. ABS Herbs is a very strong brand that Filipinos take pride in, because it is successful in the local market and fast gaining popular acceptance worldwide. Indeed, from its very humble beginnings, Grace Galindez-Gupana and her products have traveled long and well into Philippine marketing and economic history.
Things You Didn’t Know About ABS Gen Herbs Products
- Grace Galindez-Gupana narrates that while in the US she met an African-American who asked her to look for certain seeds and herbs in the Philippines he wanted to use as herbal supplements. He gave her procedures and promised to pay US$5,000 for her research. But when she returned to the US to look for him, she never found the herbalist again. So using the seeds and herbs, she herself studied formulations primarily utilizing bitter herbs. The rest is her success story.
- The NSF International certification is a significant proof of Global Standards Compliance that allows the sale of ABS Gen Herbs products in countries where the NSF logo is an accepted proof of quality. It has effectively transformed ABS Gen Herbs International Corporation into a proudly Filipino global corporation.
- ABS Herbs sources 90 percent of its raw materials locally, thereby providing livelihood to thousands of farmers.
- Each herb in ABS Bitter Herbs capsule has long since been used to improve digestion and a remedy to common household illnesses. Lagundi for colds and cough, luyang dilaw for improved digestion, peppermint leaves for the relief of pain and saluyot for a source of phytonutrients. Not all Filipinos know that these herbs can be grown in one’s own backyard.
- ABS Herbs recently joined the thriving coconut oil industry by launching its own brand of virgin coconut oil – Grace Virgin Coconut Oil.
Back to Top