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Sharbat Rooh Afza - Cooling drink with Rooh Afza (Indian rose syrup)

The love of Indian cuisine for roses is endless. This edible flower has been a part of our diet since ancient times. Roses also have cooling properties, which makes them the perfect ingredient for summer drinks. One such popular product with roses is Rooh Afza syrup, which is believed to have been around for 116 years! This Sharbat Rooh Afza recipe or Rooh Afza drink with Sabja seeds (sweet basil seeds) has been one of my favorites since childhood.

Was ist Rooh Afza?

Portulaca seeds, chicory, grapes, coriander and other various herbs with sweet-smelling flowers make the famous rose drink called Sharbat Rooh Afza, which can be found in traditional blends. Introduced during the time of British colonial rule, Hakeem Abdul Majeed founded Hamdard, a Unani medicine store in Old Delhi in 1906. Rooh Afza has a history marked by partition; Hakeem's elder son remained in Delhi while his younger son emigrated to Pakistan to start the Hamdard business.

When Rooh Afza was originally launched, there was no standard packaging method. According to the Hamdard website, the initial syrup bottling story began with used wine bottles of every available size, color and shape. Rooh Afza is the first sharbat for which white bottles of uniform size (750 ml) and almost the same shape, called "stick bottles," were used. The price of these bottles was very high and they had to be collected in the off-season. Rooh Afza is the very first Sharbat that was presented in a beautifully printed wrapper made of parchment paper.

According to the Hamdard website, the name Rooh Afza was derived from a character in the book Masnavi Gulzar-e-Nasimby Pandit Deya Shankar Nasim and first published in 1254. Rooh Afza, according to the author, was the daughter of the king of Firdaus (Heaven).

In Arabic, "rooh" means "soul" and "afza" means "that which nourishes the soul" or "elevates/improves the spirit." So the term Rooh Afza literally means "he who nourishes the soul and strengthens the spirit," and it truly lives up to its name.

Sharbat Rooh Afza and more

Sharbat Rooh Afza is not just a drink, but a tradition for us Indians. I grew up drinking this drink in the summer, and I can tell you that no other drink refreshes the soul like this one. It is an ingredient in most Indian households.

In addition to this Sharbat Rooh Afza recipe, many other ways exist to enjoy this soul-soothing syrup. For example, you can use Rooh Afza in Chabeel, Royal Rose Falooda, Thandai or Rose Lassi and more.

Aside from being super refreshing and cooling to the body, the sweet herbal flavor of Rooh Afza adds flavor to any drink or dessert it is used in. You can also enjoy it by simply mixing it into cold water or sparkling water and adding sugar if needed.

Sabja seeds or sweet basil seeds also have a cooling effect on the body and are also good for digestion. To use them, you need to soak the seeds for half an hour and then add them to your drinks.

I usually use Sabja seeds in Nimbu Shikanji (spiced Indian lemonade) as well. The seeds add some texture or bite to this simple, quick and soothing summer drink.

Ingriedients for 4 Portions

  • 4.5 cups of water - cold or at room temperature

  • 5 to 6 tablespoons of Rooh Afza syrup or add as needed

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • ¾ Tbsp. Sabja seeds (sweet basil seeds) or chia seeds

  • 5 to 6 ice cubes - optional

  • 1 to 2 pinches of dry mint for garnish, optional


Soak the Sabja seeds (sweet basil seeds) in ¾ cup of water for half an hour.

When the seeds swell and plump, drain the water with a fine strainer and set the soaked Sabja seeds aside.

In a glass jar or bowl, add 4.5 cups of water and lemon juice.

Then add the soaked Sabja seeds.Add Rooh Afza syrup to the water. Add less or more as needed, depending on the sweetness you prefer.

Stir everything well and mix.You can drink the drink immediately or keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy it after a few hours.

Sprinkle dry mint on top and serve cold.


  • You can also add Rooh Afza syrup to smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream or kulfi.

  • Instead of Sabja seeds (sweet basil seeds), you can also use chia seeds.

  • Do not add sugar, as Rooh Afza itself has an extremely sweet taste.

  • If you don't have dry mint on hand, add fresh mint or just leave it out.

  • Add the ice cubes if you want to serve it cold.

  • The Rooh Afza syrup bottle should not be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, as the sugar in the syrup will crystallize.

I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.

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