100 years on, Hyderabad’s unani cure-all remains as popular as ever

‘Zinda Tilismath ka har ghar mein rehna zaroori hai’ goes the tagline on the tiny bottle of a unani medicine which has been a must in almost every household in Hyderabad, other parts of Telangana and nieghbouring states for over a century.

From common ailments like cold, cough, throat pain, body pain, tooth pain to stomach disorders, this wonder drug is popularly called ‘Har marz ki dawa’ or a medicine for all ailments.

Launched after the breakout of Spanish flu, the herbal liquid proved its efficacy even a century later during Covid-19 as it is the first preference for many to fight the common symptoms associated with the Coronavirus.

Considered a common man’s drug given its low cost and free from side effects, Zinda Tilismath (meaning living magic) is aptly named by Hakim Moizuddin Farooqi, who launched it in 1920.

The herbal potion, which can be consumed internally and applied externally, has proved the test of time as the wonder medicine for common cold, cough, abdominal discomfort, sore throat, diarrhea, toothache, headache and body pain.

There are five main herbal ingredients used in the production of Zinda Tilismath are Eucalyptus oil, camphor, menthol, thymol (Sattay Ajwain), alkanet root (ratanjyoth). It is said to have antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal and immune boosting properties.

The dark liquid maintained its popularity over decades and has been the first line of defence against several ailments for many. Then chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who was also a physician, had suggested ‘Zinda Tilismath’ to counter swine flu.

Zinda Tilismath’s journey began in 1920 when Hakeem Mohammed Moizuddin Farooqui, a physician trained in unani medicine, came out with the herbal potion. It proved to be an instant hit. Like many other companies in the then Hyderabad States ruled by Nizams, Karkhana Zinda Timismath acquired the Nizam’s crown (Dastaar) as its trademark.

The brand gained popularity with its unique marketing logo – an African warrior armed with a spear. This was the symbol of vitality and strength. Nizam’s army has a cavalry of African soldiers. Known as ‘Siddis’ they were also part of Nizam’s personal security and their overall physique was the sign of good health, strength and trust.

Zinda Tilismath has maintained its identity with the same logo, Nizam’s dastaar and orange color of its package.

Affordability has also contributed immensely to the popularity of the herbal potion. The 10 ml bottle is priced at Rs 85, up from 60 paise in the 1970s.

Until 1995, the company used to fill up bottles manually. It modernised the production process with imported machines and also set up a unit to manufacture bottles.

The company had recorded sales of over 10 million bottles with a turnover of over Rs 30 crore during 2020-21. Though ‘Zinda Tilismath’ remained its flagship brand, the company has gone for product diversification in recent years.

Farooky Tooth powder is another popular product of Karkhana Zinda Tilismat. The toothpowder has 16 ingredients, including the five of Zinda Tilismath. In recent times, it also launched Zint lozenges for cough and sore throat.

To mark its centenary, Karkhana Zinda Tilismath recently launched ‘Zinda Tilismath Balm’, a pain reliever providing long-lasting relief based on herbal formulation.

“It is essentially the goodness of Zinda Tilismath in the balm and just like all our products, the Zinda Tilismath Balm too is formulated from 100 per cent natural herbal ingredients”, said Sohail Farooqui, Managing Partner of Karkhana Zinda Tilismath

For the first time in its history, the company roped in a celebrity as part of its marketing strategy. It signed tennis star Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador for ‘Zinda Tilismath Balm’.

Sohail, a third generation businessman, said developing high quality products that are both affordable and safe for use by the masses will continue to be their priority.

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