Mr Mohammed Manal, the founder of Himalaya, was a very keen observer of the Indian traditional methods of Ayurveda. With a vision of serving human beings with Ayurveda, he started Himalaya Company in 1930. He had a great passion for Ayurveda but without any proper Ayurveda training and no financial support, manufacturing herbal products was like climbing Himalaya without any proper resources.
The Beginning of Himalaya Company
The company operations were started in Dehradun. Later it was shifted to Mumbai. Things were going smoothly in Mumbai but Manal’s son Meraj Manal had other plans. He wanted to relocate Himalaya to Bangalore. The company did not have enough money for relocation so Mohammed Manal sold his flat to support financial issues. And finally, in 1975, the company shifted its headquarter to the green land of Bangalore. Facilities in Bangalore gave the company a world-class infrastructure for manufacturing high-quality products.
It became the first herbal manufacturing unit in India to get a Good Manufacturing Practices(GMP) certificate.
After setting up its world-class manufacturing unit in Bangalore, the company planned to enter the US market. A lot of difficulties were faced in the early stage of USA operations. Forget about the Himalaya company, people had very little knowledge of India at that time in the US.
Mr Meraj Manal assessed the situation and started his study in the US to understand the system. He pushed the Research and Development team to develop a product that fulfils all US quality and safety standards. After the USA, Russia, West Asia, Europe was targeted for company operations.
Inspiration and Early Development
It all started when Mohammed Manal was going through Burma forests. There he saw a man pacifying the restless elephants through feeding roots of a plant known as Rauwolfia Serpentina. He was amazed by the plant effect on the agitated elephants. He wanted to research plant properties.
After 4 years of hard work over Rauwolfia Serpentina, in 1934, the world’s first antihypertensive natural drug was launched with the name Serpina.
After selling his mother’s jewellery, he bought a manual machine for manufacturing herbal tablets. In the day time, he used to learn and to research herbs, and in the night time, he used to manufacture herb tablets through the manual machine.
In the initial days, the Himalaya journey was not easy. In that era, because of western education influence, critical thinking was overpowering the traditional system. Mr Mohammed Manal had a firm belief in herbs but he knew that without proper research findings, no one would take it seriously. That is why he backed all Himalaya products with proper research and scientific data.
Later in 1955, Liv.52 was launched for optimum liver functions which became the company’s flagship brand. As Meraj Manal (Chairman of Himalaya Global Holdings Ltd, the Parent company of Himalaya Drug Company founded in 2006) says, one Liv.52 is bought every second somewhere in the world. The only Ayurveda pill among the 12 best selling medications in India, Liv.52 has powered its manufacturer The Himalaya Drug Co into the ranks of Big Pharma in India.
Liv.52 has powered its manufacturer The Himalaya Drug Co into the ranks of Big Pharma in India.
Current Operations and Initiatives
Currently, Himalaya has more than 500 products with brand names Nutrition, Personal care, Animal health, Pharmaceutical, Himalaya for MOMS, Child care, and Wellness.
To show his long existence and rich legacy, in 2016, the company logo was designed as “Himalaya since 1930”.
The company has operations in more than 100 countries. The company has a plan to achieve Rs. 4000 crore sales in 2020. Personal care products contribute 42% of the total turnover of the company followed by pharmaceuticals (35%), baby care (13%), and animal health and wellness.
Philipe Haydon is the CEO of the company while US operations are handled by Nabeel Manal, the grandson of Mohammed Manal. Himalaya Neem Face Wash is one of their most popular and well-known products.
“Sustainable innovation is at the heart of our business philosophy. We are committed to the 5-R principle– Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replenish, Restore, in our campuses. As part of this effort, we are also moving towards sustainable packaging.” Mr Shailendra Malhotra, Global CEO of Himalaya Global Holdings Ltd, said.
Commitment to farmers through schemes like favourable wages, guaranteed market for corps, 15-20% extra payment from the actual cost of cultivation, Partnership with vitamin angels to save the lives and eyesights of mal nutrient-deficient children, trees for life and Muskaan initiative by Himalaya lip care are few of the initiatives started by Himalaya for the betterment of the society.