A RANGE of natural products tested at Newcastle University are now being road-tested by athletes, including cyclists and surfers.
Former curator Louise Vincent worked with experts in medicinal plant research and molecular dermatology to develop the “solid scientific base” behind the Natural Hero range.
A few months after launching, the products now have testimonials from sporty figures, ranging from former Gladiator Zoe Williams and professional surfer Corinne Evans to members of the Tyne Bridge Harriers running club.
Natural Hero’s range features a Hot Ginger Muscle Rub and a Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz, and are advertised as containing 98% natural ingredients. Vincent says the products work by acting as rubefacients, or “counter irritants” which suppress muscle discomfort caused by physical activity.
She said: “We continue to be interested in the crossover between sports and nature. We’re keen to deliver products that are effective for sporty people while using mainly natural ingredients.”
The formulation was fine-tuned with assistance from Professor Mark Birch Machin from the molecular dermatology department and medicinal plant research group executive director Dr Ed Okello.
The process enabled the company to identify the right balance and quality check it to make sure it performed to standard.
Vincent said: “This gave us a foundation to make judgements based on scientific research rather than ones that were entirely commercial.
“We’ve now launched to both trade and consumers and offered a lot of opportunities for the sporting community to try it out. I think there’s an interest in it. Some people don’t use recovery products at all and in our view that could be because of their previous experience with some products.”
The product has already been tested for elite athlete use, and the company teamed up with Connect Physio to offer on-the-spot sport massages with the range to participants in this year’s Great North Run.
It is now available in retailers such as Amazon and Snow, Extreme Horizon and Rock.
Vincent said: “We’re finding how they’re used is quite preference-based. Some might use the spritz before they go on a run to distract from muscle fatigue, while others might prefer the rub instead.
“We don’t want to be overly prescriptive. We want to have a multi- functional product that can be used for different things, rather than the sort of range where you have to buy the eye cream and then the moisturiser and so on.”