In a post-Covid world, how herbal healing is getting a booster dose

How the Covid-19 pandemic expanded the demand and use of traditional supplements

In a post-Covid world, how herbal healing is getting a booster dose
In order to tap into the space, Unani medicine brand Hamdard Laboratories is betting big on its two popular herbal immunity boosting medicines, Infuza and Kulzam,apart from its top-selling products—non-toxic blood purifier Safi and multivitamin tonic Cinkara.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we look at wellness products and immunity boosters. We also realised how keeping our immune system healthy is key to preventing infections and keeping diseases at bay. Although making healthy lifestyle choices by eating good food and getting enough exercise is important to strengthen our immune system, research has also shown that traditional supplements and formulations can help protect against illnesses and aid in overall well-being.

In order to tap into the space, Unani medicine brand Hamdard Laboratories is betting big on its two popular herbal immunity boosting medicines, Infuza and Kulzam,apart from its top-selling products—non-toxic blood purifier Safi and multivitamin tonic Cinkara.

Founded by the late Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeedin 1906, Abdul Majeed, the company’s fourth-generation owner, is now aggressively planning to market the polyherbal formulations, Infuza and Kulzam, which are already in use and prescribed for the management of common cold, headache and epidemic flu for decades. These have now also become a scientifically proven preventive formulation to fight against Covid-19 infection.

The company, in the last two years, was working to successfully complete the clinical trial at Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary Hospital, New Delhi, led by a research team comprising an allopathic doctor, unani hakim, microbiologist and biochemist from Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (HIMSR), Delhi. In a randomised, open label controlled clinical study conducted to assess the efficacy of Infuza and Kulzam, the formulations have been technically approved by the Project Approval Committee of the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine under the Union ministry of AYUSH and registered with the Clinical Trials Registry – India. The report is also published in the Phytotherapy Research journal. Hamdard Laboratories has invested over `30 lakh for this clinical trial.

Speaking about the efficacy of traditional medicine which has proven its utility over the centuries in the treatment of a wide range of diseases including infectious ones, Abdul Majeed, who is the chairman of Hamdard Laboratories’ medicine division, told FE how the pandemic expanded the scope of information and use of traditional supplements. “Hamdard is evolving into a company which provides holistic healthcare solutions to consumers. Unani has proved its scope in boosting immunity during Covid.Now we want the next generation to understand India’s traditional medicine system and its efficacy,” he says.

With a robust R&D department and technologically advanced infrastructure, Hamdard has 600 product offerings including Safi, Cinkara, Roghan Badam Shirin Almond Oil, Joshina and Sualin, among many products in the health segment.

“Starting August, we have an ambitious five-year expansion plan to promote Safi, Cinkara and other products in the beauty and health segment. Safi deserves to be extended in appropriate form. We have preserved the basic ethos of this product and with other beauty products lined up in the future, it can complement Safi and the segment,” says Majeed.

The brand’s core market is the Hindi and Urdu speaking belt of north India and Maharashtra but in the future the go-to market strategy is to widen the reach of unani medicine in potential states like northeast and south India. With four exclusive brand outlets in Delhi-NCR, one each in Meerut, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kanpur, the products are now also available on ecommerce platforms like 1 Mg, Amazon, Flipkart, and Apollo Pharmacy.

Apart from setting up a ‘hakeem task force’, medico marketing, inventive technology leveraged for environment compliances using ultra-modern equipment, and products analysed for actives as well as for contaminants such as heavy metals and bioburden, the company is aggressively focusing on the sales process and making every step towards digitisation.

“E-commerce on our website will be the next step toward digitisation. We plan to double our exports this year as compared to last year. We are applying for registration in new markets. With products available in the US, Canada, Middle east, and north Africa, we are bullish on the rising demand of our products from these regions, especially where there is Indian diaspora. Last year, our exports made Rs 2.5 crore and this year we plan to close double with a target of Rs 6.5 crore,” Majeed adds.

With heavy consumption of extracts in formulation, 25,000 kg per quarter of rose, for instance, the company is also investing in agricultural farmlands near Faridabad and Manesar to standardise plant extracts and already farming tulsi, mulethi and rose. “Rather than outsourcing, we want to grow our own, chemical-free herbs,” adds Majeed.

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