|Type||Concentrated herbal Squash (drink)|
|Inventor||Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed|
|Available||India, Pakistan, Bangladesh|
and the Middle East
Rooh Afza (Urdu: روح افزا; Hindi: रूह अफ़ज़ा; Bengali: রূহ আফজা) (Soul Refresher) is a concentrated squash. It was formulated in 1906 in Ghaziabad, British India by Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed, and launched from Old Delhi, India. Currently, Rooh Afza is manufactured by the companies founded by him and his sons, Hamdard Laboratories, India, Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan and Hamdard Laboratories (WAQF), Bangladesh. Since 1948, the company has been manufacturing the product in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Other companies formulate the same un-patented recipe in these countries as well. The specific Unani recipe of Rooh Afza combines several ingredients popularly believed to be cooling agents, such as rose, which is used as a remedy for loo (the hot summer winds of Northern India and Pakistan and Bangladesh). The drink is commonly associated with the month of Ramadan, in which it is usually consumed during iftar. It is sold commercially as a syrup to flavour sherbets, cold milk drinks, ices, and cold desserts such as the popular falooda. The name Rooh Afza is sometimes translated as "refresher of the soul". It is said that this name was made up by the original formulator of the drink, with possible cultural influences.
Rooh Afza was founded by Hamdard's founder Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed. In 1906, he wanted to create a herbal mix that would help Delhi's people stay cool in the summer. He selected herbs and syrups from traditional Unani medicine and created a drink that would help counter heat strokes and prevent water loss in people. An artist, Mirza Noor Ahmad, designed the labels of Rooh Afza in many colours in 1910. Progress in development and refining the original recipe continued all along until the final drink emerged.
After Majeed's death 15 years later, his wife Rabea Begum established a charitable trust in the name of herself and their two sons.
Following the partition of India in 1947, while the elder son, Hakim Abdul Hameed, stayed back in India – the younger son, Hakim Mohammad Said, migrated to Pakistan on 9 January 1948 and started a separate Hamdard Company from two rooms in the old Arambagh area of Karachi. Hamdard Pakistan finally became profitable in 1953. Hakim Mohammad Said had opened a branch of Hamdard in the former East Pakistan. According to Hakim Mohammad Said's daughter, Sadia Rashid, chairperson of Hamdard Pakistan in 2019, her father gifted the business to the people of Bangladesh after their independence in 1971.
In 2010, chef Nita Mehta and Indian film actress Juhi Chawla were hired for promotional activities by Hamdard Laboratories to create new mocktail and dessert recipes for Rooh Afza, their all-season summer drink, which was used in a new marketing campaign.
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 sponge gourd (Luffa aegyptiaca)
- Flowers: rose, kewra (Pandanus fascicularis), lemon and orange
- Roots: vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides)
Rooh Afza syrup is generally served mixed with cold milk and ice; the closest Western equivalent is strawberry milk. Rooh Afza is often prepared as part of Iftar (the evening meal for breaking the fast or 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 Pakistani 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 to make a similar version of the popular Iranian dessert Faloodeh.
Suit and fine in Bangladesh
On the complaint of false information, misleading advertisements and publication of false information on the web site, Safe Food Inspector Kamrul Hassan filed a case against Hamdard Laboratories Bangladesh on May 30, 2018. In the case, he mentions that the information published in the advertisement with 'Rooh Afza made with 35 fruit juice' is not correct. On June 12 of the same year, Pure food court judge AFM Maruf Chowdhury fined the company four lakhs taka for publishing misleading advertisements. If unable to pay the fine, then the Hamdard chairman and managing director would be punished for three months' imprisonment.
- Raza, Syed Qasim (19 May 2018). "Rooh Afza: the eternal elixir of the east". Aurora.
- Family Rift Behind Disappearance of Favourite Summer Drink Rooh Afza, But Company Denies NEWS 18 INDIA website, Published 9 May 2019, Retrieved 4 May 2020
-  Introduction-history Hamdard Rooh Afza
- "How Hamdard's Ruby-Hued Refresher Became an Indian Summer Staple". The Better India. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- 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) (newspaper). 27 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "Rooh Afza History English". www.roohafzabd.com. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- "Across Borders and Divides, One Heavenly Refresher Cools Summer Heat". The New York Times. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
- "Hamdard gives century-old Rooh Afza a facelift". Hindustan Times. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- Rooh Afzalː The unique composition of Rooh Afza(Archive)
- Monica Bhide (3 June 2009). "Spicing Up The American Diet". National Public Radio (US website). Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- Roohafza reigns supreme in Pakistan during Ramzan ZEE TV News website, Published 12 October 2007, Retrieved 26 April 2020
- "The case against Ruh Afza". Jago News. 31 May 2018.
- "'Ruh Afza' fined four lakh taka". Bangla Tribune. 31 May 2018.
- "Hamdard Laboratories India launches 'ready to drink' RoohAfza Fusion and RoohAfza Milkshake". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- Delhi, BestMediaInfo Bureau; June 17; 2020. "Hamdard Laboratories India forays into 'ready-to-drink' segment with RoohAfza Fusion and RoohAfza Milkshake". www.bestmediaifo.com. Retrieved 17 June 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "FNB News - Hamdard forays into 'ready to drink' with RoohAfza Fusion and Milkshake | FNB News". www.fnbnews.com. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- www.ETRetail.com. "RoohAfza Fusion: Hamdard Laboratories India enters ready-to-drink segment - ET Retail". ETRetail.com. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
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