The History of ROOAH AFZA
IT ALL BEGAN IN 1907
The reason why Rooh Afza remains the world’s first ever syrup of the common man is that never before was a syrup presented to the people which combined visual beauty with the essence and virtues of other traditional syrups. No effort was spared and no consideration given to the huge expenses involved by the founder of Hamdard in the preparation of a syrup prossessing such a host of qualities. He focused his attention on giving to the public only that which was of a very high standard.
The matchless qualities and merits of Rooh Afza soon brought it to the notice of the people. By its distinctive taste, fragrance and color it began, not only to attract the common people , but also inspired the writers and poets to make it a theme of their creative efforts. The following verses of Sa’il Dehlvi (given here in their English translation) started appearing in Urdu not only in the advertisements of Rooh Afza but also on the wrapper of its bottle.
Jo rang dekho to dilruba hai,
Maza jo chakkho to janfaza hal;
Mahak main phoolon se bhi ziyadah.
Asar main iksir-e-be-baha hai;
Jo is main tafrith-o-taquiyat hai,
Na us ki ghayat, na intiha hai;
Na rooh afza sa kai sharbat,
Kabhi baneyga na ban chuka hai;
(an eminent indian poet)
Sharbat Rooh Afza was introduced in 1907, and was included in the first list of drugs of Hamdard in 1908. According to the alphabetical order, it occures against item No. 293. The qualities attributed to it at that time were mainly medicinal. The reason is obvious.
The founder of Hamdard, Hakim Abul Majid (May his soul be blessed) was led to this formula by his intuitive faculty. No other formula could surpass it is excellence, range and efficacy in those days. The almost 102 year old history of Rooh Afza is also a pointer to the fact that no better formula has yet been evolved.
In 1907, there were syrups of individual fruits or purely herbal syreups or syrups made with the juices of sweet-smelling flowers such as Rose and Keora. The founder of Hamdard managed to integrate all these three categories in the formula of Rooh Afza in a very striking manner. He chose from among the drugs only such as Tukhm-e-khurfa (Portulaca oleracea Seeds) Tukhm-e-kasni(Cichorium intybus Seeds), Munaqqa(Vitis vinifera), Chharila (Permelia perlata), Nilofer (Nymphaea nauchali), Gaozaban (Borago officinalis), Hara Dhania (Coriandrum stivum green leaves ), Hara Ghia (Lagenaria vulgaris) etc. which possessed wholly medicinal properties and from among the fruits his discerning eyes fell on such fruits as orange, pineapple, carrot and watermelon, which contained, higher medicinal qualities. He displayed a novelty by including in the formula some vegetables such as palak, podina and hara ghia, Besides Rose and Keora, the traditional floweres of the time, the use of flowers of juicy fruits like lemon and orange, roots like khas with subtle aroma, and sweet-smelling woods like sandal can be descripded as providential selectivity.
No modification has taken place in the original formula of Rooh Afza as yet. But its processing has been receiving modifications and improvements according to the present scientific techniques. For instance, distilled extracts of drugs, fruits of Rooh Afza from the very inception. This extract did not include the proteins, salts, vitamins and essential elements of the ingredients. Now, after experiments over long periods, the extracts of fruits, vegetables and drugs constituting Rooh Afza are prepared in such a manner that all these important nutritive and medicinal properties with such essential ingredients are obtained totally without affecting colour, aroma, flavour, etc. rather its taste now has become much better. The increase in the efficacy of Rooh Afza from medical and health points of view through these modifications and improvements is now becomin manifest and substantiated from the research papers of those five scholars who were offered awards. The various medical and health benefits enumerated in the very first advertisement of Rooh Afza in 1908 are now being confirmed by science in its own language. It is hoped that this that this never-ending process of research will continue with the same zeal and Rooh Afza will maintain its high standing in the future also.
THE NAME ‘ROOH AFZA’
It has not been found out yet how the founder of Hamdard came upon the name’Rooh Afza’. Some think that this name is the product of his mind. Others express the view that it came from some book of ancient myths and legends. Of such books, one is very famous, the Masnavi Gulzar-e-Nasim which was first published around 1254 hijri. In this book, the name of a character is ‘Rooh Afza’ who, according to the writer , was the daughter of Muzaffar Shah, the king of Firdaus(Heaven).
‘Rooh Afza’ was also the name of a weekly, which used to be published from jaunpur in 1882.
THE LABEL OF ROOH AFZA
Mirza Noor Ahamad, an srtist, prepared in 1910 beautiful labels of Rooh Afza in several colours.
Such colourful prints could not be had in delhi at that period. It was therefore printed by special arrangement by the Bolton Press of the Parsees of Bombay. The said artist died only fifteen years back . it is the same family of artists which has recently succeeded in achieving the composing of Urdu Language through computer.
THE BOTTLES AND PACKING OF ROOH AFZA
When Rooh Afza was introduced, no arrangement existed for special bottles for drugs or marketable syrups. Used bottles of wines of any size, colour and shape which could be available were used for syrups. Rooh Afza is the first sharbat for which white bottles of uniform size (750ml.) and almost of the same shape, Which were called ‘pole ’ bottles, were obtained. The price was obviously very high and they had to be collected in off-season. Rooh Afza is the very first sharbat which was presented in beautifully printed wrapper of butter-paper. Beautiful bottle in such beautiful packing has been another distinctive feature of Rooh Afza. Production by the millions has done away with the wrapper, but the familiar bottle of Rooh Afza and other special features still stand.
THE FIRST MAKER OF ROOH AFZA
Hakim ustad hasan khan, the first maker of Rooh Afza, was a resident of Saharanpur, but he had come to stay in Delhi for a very long time. He now lives in Karachi and is, at the age of over a hundred years, the custodian of the history of Rooh Afza.
Going over the pages of this diaries, he recalls the past. The early stages of the preparation of Rooh Afza are vivid before him.
NEW AVENUES OF ROOH AFZA’S POPULARITY
Rooh Afza has found new avenues of popularity which would be difficult to visualizes. Some people use it for a variety of drinks to entertain their families and friends, while others use Rooh Afza in preparing novel dishes to satisfy thire own palates as well as to win many a person. Physicians have used Rooh Afza in the past, as they do vevn now, to treat various ailments. Scientists and research scholars have been applying their mind to a study of rooh afza.
Research, as you all know, is an unending process, and Rooh Afza will also remain a subject of research in the future, revealing its matchless properties through new techniques of scientific study. It shall be the endeavour of Hamdard to keep up its 102 year old tradition of revealing the scientific facts about Rooh Afza in conformity with new trends in research methodology.
One more reason for the popularity of Rooh Afza is literary. This aspect has kept pace with Rooh Afza from the very beginning. The verses of Sa’il Dehlvi were used not only in the advertisements of Rooh Afza, but also in its packing material. These verses were quoted at the outset. There was a time when every new advertisement of Rooh Afza gave the verses of some well-known poet every day which provided entertainment to those having literary taste and also proved a means of literary education to the public at large.
It would be appropriate to reproduce the verses of a few select poets for the delectation of this audience:
“Ishara us nigah ka Roh Afza ho naheen sakta Ke jadooogar se ejaze masiha ho naheen sakta”
“Seemab bi hai aj qaim-un-nar, Hamdard ki hai ye mehrbani”
Saqikhas ko mizaje darya de de,
Piyasa hoon bahut jauhar-e-meena de de,
Haan us late jan’bakjhsh ki khushoo ki kasam,
Hamdard ka jam-d-Rooh Afza de de”
Rooh Afza has now become a dictionary word. Take for example Muhazabul-lughat(Vol. VI, p. 116, Lucknow, 1986); “Rooh Afza…. That which refreshes … a famous drink prepared by hamdard dawakhana, Delhi.”
FREQUENTLY IRRITATED. . . .
BUT NEVER EQUALLED IN TASTE AND QUALITY.
No other sharbat or drug of the world has seen as much imitation as Rooh Afza. While the calandestine producers left no stone unturned in copying Rooh Afza, the latter was no less alert in its defence. In the history of the Trade Mark, the case which was decided by Lahore High Court in 1927 in favour of Rooh Afza against a spurious producer is always cited as a reference. On the basis of its own qualities, Rooh Afza has been able to protect its interest more than the law. This fact has been repeatedly referred to in its history. The copiers of Rooh Afza do manages to copy its appeance, but they are unable to make the same elaborate arrangements and processing on which Hamdard spends lavishly. They can copy the bottle, the lavel, the colour, the taste, the smell and the design of the advertisements, but they have always been incapable of imitating its quality and efficacy. Now when Rooh Afza has entered into the era of scientific research, the imitators will face greater difficulty. In a few years , its emergence into the computer age is inevitable.
RESULTS OF NEW RESEARCH ON ROOH AFZA
Seven medical scientists were given cash awards worth Rs.50,000 and certificates for excellent research from the august hand of Union minister of Education Shari K.C. Pant on 3.5.1985 at a function by hamdard National foundation at Taj mahal Hotel, New Delhi.
(1) An award of Rs.25,000 to the paper entitled”Experimental and clinical studies on cardiovascular effect of Rooh Afza”by Dr. A. Gulati, Dr. R.C. Srimal and Dr. B.N. Dhawan of Central Drug institure, Lucknow.”
The result of this study shows that Rooh Afza is a useul drind and no adverse effect on the cardiovascular system could be detected . on the othere hand , it increased the cardiac output, improved the myocardial blood supply and decreased the herart rate without significantly affecting the blood pressure .
(2) Second award of Rs. 10,000 to the paper entitled”clinical, Biochemical and Pharmacological Evaluation of Rooh Afza in varius pathophysiolgical conditions” by Dr. S.K. Gupta of All india Institute of medical Sciences, New Delhi.
Rooh Afza is effective in the management of dehydration of various grades by maintaining the electrolyte and water balance of the body.
This study confirms the presence of essential elements like Na, K,Ca2+, Mg, Phosphorus, Sulpher and Zinc in Rooh Afza, it protects against heat exhaustion, physical work, fatigue and profused sweating.
(3) Three awards of Rs. 5,000 each to the paper entitled (i) “Nutritional stutus of Rooh Afza” by Dr.A.latif”,(ii)”Role of Rooh Afza on blood chemistry” by Dr.M.A. Rahim(iii)”Rooh Afza in anaesthetic practices” by HYPERLINK http://Dr.A.K . Gurwara. This Dr.A.K.Gurwara.
This study reveals the Rooh Afza shows anabolic activity which is characterized by the ability to augment growth or to increase body weight by inducing nitrogen balance. And androgenic activity produces stimulatory effects on development and maintenance of secondary sex korgans in male.
In tis study Sherbat Rooh Afza was clinically tried in the management of fatigue, mild anaemia and bypocalcemic conditions.Those patients who received treatment with Rooh Afza showed favourable changes in the laboratory investigation, comparable with thise hwo received iron therapy. Apart from increase in haemoglobin and calcium levels of blood, patients had great relief in symptoms such as giddiness, tingling, numbness, white discharge, etc.
Rooh Afza prevented post-suzamethonium pain in 90% of patients in the test group compared to the 80 % patients who complained of pain who did not receive Rooh Afza. This remarkable effect of Rooh Afza could be attributed to Vitamin C which is one of the constituents of the drind. Thus Rooh Afza can be utilized to alleviate the suffering of patients in the prevention of post-suxamethonium pain.
ROOH AFZA IN A NUTSHELL
When we keep in mind the many qualities of Rooh Afza’s
Ingredients, described above, it is easy to understand why it had been forund to be an exceptionally appropriate summer drind. One that can be depended on to keep body water in balance. But apart from this Rooh Afza has many more therapeutic and nutritional qualities, the important ones of which are :
Rooh afza as nutrient
In the from of invert sugar, glucose and fructose.
Rooh Afza for essential electrolytes
In the from of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride and phosphate.
Rooh Afza for retention of body water
In this ability to maintain and finally adjust the body’s water balance due to the presence of electrolytes in balanced quanitity.
Rooh Afza’s medicinal properties
Which stimulate and correct the function of heart, liver and kidney and check vomiting, diarrhoes, indigestion and stomach ache.
Rooh Afza’s soothing and refreshing properties
Which act on the central nervous system and the rest of the body.