The Japan Times
October 2, 2012

India's Secret for Health and Longevity Brought to Japan


(Right) Dr. Muhammed Majeed, Founder and Group Chairman, Sabinsa/Sami Group; (Left) Madhu Subramanian, Executive VP of Global Operations, Sabinsa Corp.

India has always been an enigma to the world. It is the birthplace of numerous religions, including Buddhism. It is also a melting pot of some of the world’s earliest cultures. India today continues to amaze the world with its immense cultural wealth and potential.

Some of its ancient practices persist today and revolutionize the way we live in the modern world. One of these is ayurveda, also known as the science of life. Ayurvedic medicine’s main advantage comes in the area of prevention. Its natural medicinal properties and its focus on a balanced lifestyle are some key components that make it a benchmark for modern health practices.

Unlocking ayurveda

One of the world’s key players and pioneers in the field of ayurvedic health food supplements at this time is Dr. Muhammed Majeed, founder and group chairman of the Sabinsa/ Sami Group of companies.

Founded in 1988, Sabinsa is today one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of phytonutrients, ayurvedic herbal extracts and specialty fine chemicals for nutritional, pharmaceutical and food industries around the world. Today, Sabinsa continues to unlock the secrets of ayurveda for the world, and it has received numerous international awards for its efforts.

For example, its parent company — Bangalore-based Sami Labs — a research-oriented health science company, won the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for the penetration enhancer derived from peppercorns, tetrahydropiperine (THP), back in 2005. Earlier, in 2002, Sami also won the national award for research from India’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Through the years it has registered consistent growth year-onyear. Most recently, it was named the Best Innovation and Technology Company at the Food 360° Conference organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Sami is currently one of India’s leading producers of nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, standardized herbal extracts, fine chemicals, specialty chemicals and probiotics.

Ayurveda’s presence in Japan

“Ayurveda should come naturally to the Japanese,” says Dr. Majeed. “The Japanese are the ideal consumers for health food supplements because ayurveda greatly complements their lifestyle’s focus on health and longevity. Natural health food supplements are renowned for their high nutritional value and natural antioxidizing benefits. These are especially significant for Japan today, given its aging demographic.”

Sabinsa Japan Corp., the Japanese arm of Sami, has already been marketing, warehousing and distributing ayurvedic health food supplements in Japan for nearly 12 years. It acts both as a provider and a promoter of these products customized especially for the Japanese market.

“Sabinsa has always been considered an extremely innovative company by our current Japanese partners,” says Madhu Subramanian, executive vice president of Sabinsa’s global operations and director of Sabinsa Japan Corp. “We look forward to celebrating Sabinsa’s 25th anniversary next year — and for Sabinsa Japan our 13th. We have been very fortunate with our partnerships and the lessons we have learned from our experiences with Japanese companies. We take great pride in what we have accomplished with and for the Japanese.”

Today, the company provides a wide array of products for the Japanese market and currently has six registered patents in the country.

“One product that is already available in Japan is ForsLean,” comments Dr. Majeed. “It is an extract from the root of the Coleus forskohlii plant, which contains a natural compound that increases lean body mass and optimizes body composition. It is one of our award-winning nutritional products that won the coveted Thomas Alva Edison Award for Innovation in the U.S.”

Towards Japanese partnerships

Given that one of its main goals is to popularize ayurvedic health food supplements in Japan and share the benefits of this 4,000-year-old science, Sabinsa along with Sami has sought to better integrate them into Japan’s modern market. Aside from growing their pipeline of products in Japan, Dr. Majeed is also looking forward to more Japanese partnerships in the near future.

“Japan is undoubtedly one of the leaders in biotech research and development,” he explains. “Aside from treating Japan as the ideal market for ayurvedic health food supplements, we are also looking for more technology collaborations — especially in the field of agro-based biotech. It will definitely be a win-win scenario because we can also offer our highly educated workforce in India, as well as our strong manufacturing capabilities. We are world leaders in numerous areas such as phytonutrients and nutraceuticals, and we will be able to bring our innate strengths to complement our Japanese partners.

“We are doing extremely well with our current relationships with Japanese companies and the Japanese market, and we are very optimistic about the future,” he concludes. “I see tremendous areas and opportunities for growth in the coming years for us in Japan. On the other hand, we are also inviting Japanese companies to explore the Indian market with us. Our highly skilled teams are more than capable of delivering on the needs of our Japanese partners. Additionally, we will be able to leverage our strong local and international presence for distribution. We are indeed looking forward to more fruitful partnerships with Japan in the near future.”