Rooh Afza (Urdu: روح افزا, Hindi: रूह अफ़ज़ा, Bengali: রূহ আফজা) is a non-alcoholic concentrated squash made with fruits, herbs and vegetable extracts. It was formulated by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed in 1906 in Ghaziabad, British India and manufactured by the companies founded by him and his sons, Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories. Since 1948, the company has been manufacturing the product in Pakistan, as well as India. Other companies formulate the same un-patented recipe in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The specific Unani recipe of Rooh Afza combines several of popularly-believed cooling agents, like rose, and used as remedy for loo, hot summer winds. It is sold commercially as a syrup to flavor sherbets, cold milk drinks, ices and cold desserts, such as the popular falooda.
In 1906, Hakim Abdul Majeed, a physician of Unani herbal medicine, founded his clinic in Old Delhi, the following year, he launched Rooh Afza, from an establishment at Lal Kuan in Old Delhi. Following the partition of India in 1947, while the elder son stayed, the younger son migrated to Pakistan and started a separate Hamdard from two rooms in Karachi.
Its original formulation included:
- Herbs: purslane ("Khurfa seeds", Portulaca oleracea), Chicory, wine-grape raisins (Vitis vinifera), European white lily (Nymphaea alba, blue star water lily (Nymphaea nouchali), lotus (Nelumbo), Borage and Coriander
- Fruits: orange, citron, pineapple, apple, berries, strawberry, raspberry, loganberry, blackberry, cherry, concord grapes, blackcurrant and watermelon
- Vegetables: spinach, carrot, mint and mướp hương (Luffa aegyptiaca)
- Flowers: rose, keora (Pandanus fascicularis), lemon and orange
- Roots: vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides)
- 1 glass cold milk
- 2 tablespoons Rooh Afza
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 spoonful sugar
Rooh Afza, the concentrate is generally served mixed with cold milk and ice, the closest western equivalent is strawberry milk. Rooh Afza is often made in preparation, part of Iftar, the evening meals for breaking the fast (roza), during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. The concentrate can also be mixed with water, which is a common preparation in the hot Indian summer. When mixed with water, the final drink is a type of Sharbat. Rooh Afza syrup is often mixed with Kulfi Ice cream, and vermicelli noodles to make the Indian version of the popular Iranian desert Falooda.
- "About Hamdard". Hamdard.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "Hamdard About Rooh Afza". Hamdard.
- H. Panda (2004), Handbook on Ayurvedic Medicines with Formulae, Processes and Their Uses, National Institute of Industrial Research, ISBN 81-86623-63-9, "... When we keep in mind the many qualities Rooh Afza's ingredients described above, it is easy to understand why it has been found to be an exceptionally appropriate summer drink ..."
- "Rooh Afza, the syrup that sweetens the subcontinent's summers". The National (Abu Dhabi). Apr 27, 2012.
- "1907 Rooh Afza: Lal salaam". Mint (newspaper). Aug 10, 2012.
- "Hamdard gives century-old Rooh Afza a facelift". Hindustan Times. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Rooh Afzal (The First Processor)
- Monica Bhide (June 3, 2009). "Spicing Up The American Diet". NPR. Retrieved August 12, 2012..
- A SWEET GLOBAL REFRESHER COURSE THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD OF COOL SYRUPS RIGHT AT OUR DOORSTEP. SO LET 'EM POUR! New York Daily.
- Roohafza reigns supreme in Pakistan during Ramadan