Asia's 'new' go-to ingredients for wellness

New products released at BIG+BIH, Southeast Asia's largest international trade expo devoted to gifts and housewares, October 19-24 in Bangkok, Thailand, hinted at innovative uses for health-promoting ingredients.

Charcoal: present in various forms like a pressed log and shaved "potpourri" chips to promote eco-friendly, modern odor control options (Carbon by Coco, Activated charcoal is also a key ingredient in 100% pure face, body and hair products for detoxification ( D-Pranali Detoxifiying,

Longan seed: a popular ingredient in Vietnam is finding its way into Thai skincare lines like Pranali and Prima Herb touting supple skin and hydrating benefits. It is believed that longan seed helps with joint pain, cures snakebites, combats cancer cells and may "prevent oxidative damage to cellular DNA."

White mulberry leaves: the favorite meal of silkworms is organically grown and handpicked to create a new line of Harnn Tichaa, tisanes boasting the ability to "restore your body's natural balance," protect against free radicals and - similar to ginger - "cool the body and reduce a fever."

Another innovative product introduced by the Thai skincare and essential oils company Xena is a line of scrubs formulated into a bar. They are available in a range of Thai ingredients including black sesame, jasmine rice, wheat germ, coconut milk and soya bean.

Unique to the region are the Thai herbal balls for home or professional use. A heated tool for easing aches and pains during massage was seen in various forms throughout BIG+BIH. Xena makes a sand ball with massage oil refills, and Panapuri, Harnn and Pranali all sell their own version.

New products are expected to be exported internationally by early 2011 with a focus on markets in the US, Europe, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Pricing varies depending on retail outlet and location.