The story of this iconic drink follows the story of the Indian Subcontinent


The rose-tinted syrup that was first manufactured in Delhi in 1907 was the first product of Hamdard Dawakhana. Rooh Afza’s journey follows the history of the subcontinent and today, it is manufactured in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.   

In Pakistan, Hamdard was set up by Hakim Muhammad Said, who came to Karachi after the Partition in 1947. Hakim Said was the younger son of the founder of Hamdard Dawakhana Hakim Abdul Majeed.

Hakim Said was a medical researcher, scholar, and philanthropist who set up the Hamdard University and successfully carried forward research in herbal or unani medicine. The Hamdard Laboratories manufactured various successful products such as the natural blood purifier Safi and Sualin, a herbal cough and cold remedy. But over a century after it was first produced, Rooh Azfa remains the most popular product of the company.

Today, the Rooh Azfa produced in Pakistan alone is exported to 33 countries and earlier in March, the brand made its way to Times Square in New York to mark Pakistan Day.

Watch this video on one of South Asia’s most fascinating brands and how it survived two Partitions.

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Illustrations and animation by Maria Huma and Mahrukh Ansari

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