Farmer's Voice

Researchers in India, Develop Gutkha Alternative Called “HerbiChew”

In India, where the consumption of smokeless tobacco products such as gutkha, khaini or zarda accounts for 48% of overall tobacco use, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) are calling on smokeless tobacco or herbal product manufacturers to market a herbal mixture called "HerbiChew" that they developed four years ago, which, the researchers claimed, tastes like gutkha but does not carry any health risks associated with gutkha use. The researchers said the product also has antioxidants, anti-bacterial and digestive properties. The NBRI claimed that the product can help curb the growing incidence of oral cancer associated with gutkha and pan masala use. AKS Rawat, head of the pharmacognosy and ethnopharmacology division of NBRI, said the tobacco industry can boost their revenues by commercially launching HerbiChew, especially when an increasing number of States are banning smokeless tobacco products such as gutkha and pan masala. Rawat said herbal product manufacturers such as Dabur or Patanjali Group can also consider making HerbiChew in the interests of the public (Daily Pioneer 12/22).