Where Innovation is a Tradition

Tapping into centuries of interaction and knowledge


Indo-Japanese interaction reaches back thousands of years starting from the influence of ancient Indian medicine that Japanese products in India and Indian-made IT technology that quietly enhances everyday Japanese life. It has been a rich two-way exchange. Only a few companies straddle the past and present of this dialogue like Sabinsa and its IT arm, Edkal, and even fewer provide a model for the potential that exists within it.

Revisiting ayurvedic medicine

Sabinsa – a manufacturer and supplier of standardized herbal products, fine chemicals, drug/nutraceutical formulations, cosmeceuticals – was founded in 1988 by Dr. Muhammed Majeed a scientist from the state of Kerala who pioneered the idea of integrating India’s ancient medicinal arts, known as ayurveda, into modern medicine.

“The story of our success is a story of reaching back into thousand-year-old traditions, rediscovering medicines, and validating them through the scrutiny of modern science”, says Majeed.

Through Sabinsa, Majeed unlocks these traditions for the world. Having secured 27 U.S. and international patents, his products have won several major awards for quality and innovation in the United States, Europe and India. Now, they are making inroads into Japan and their popularity is surging.

“Japan represents great potential for us because the Japanese understand and appreciate the power of nature, and prefer to go with a natural product when given the opportunity,” he says.

The ubiquity of natural Chinese medicine in Japan is an indication of this tread, but few know that many of these tried were originally from India. This fact alone speaks of the potential of these products in Japan.

Combines with the rigorous clinical studies, standardization processes and world-class quality that Sabinsa demands of its products, the benefits for the Japanese consumer become obvious.

Parallel traditions, ancient solutions

A basic premise of Japanese health and longevity has been that food is natural medicine and any local housewife knows that her ingredients are a gold mine of nutritional value with health promoting properties. That belief is fully in line with ayurvedic thought.

Sabinsa produces many of its medicines directly from food. These products are known as nutraceuticals, among which are the best selling herbal extracts.

For example, ForsLean 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. The winner of many awards in the U.S., including the coveted Thomas Alva Edison Award for Innovation, the medicine is available in Japan and has been growing more popular.

Majeed is determined to succeed in Japan and hopes to popularize ayurvedic medicines in the same scale as he had done in America. Aside from promoting his product, he also hopes to find long-term partners in the country.

“The strength of character in doing business and the attitude toward doing business in Japan are not seen anywhere else in the world. In Japan, you are not a vendor. You are a partner. That is something that I have great respect for,” he says.

Japan-focused IT solutions

That success of Sabinsa gave rise to the IT firm Edkal, which has acquired its own identity since being founded as the technology arm of Sabinsa.

Founded by world-class engineers and consultants with an extensive interest and experience in Japan, Edkal provides R&D, soft-ware solutions and services for high-tech, process-intensive industries with a special expertise in life sciences industries with a special expertise in life sciences industries like nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and health care.

Edkal is a unique company because of its focus on Japan and the comprehensive services it provides and markets – From supporting and enhancing ERP and custom solutions for customers, to content and IP management to the more obscure algorithm application for Japan – specific hedge fund management and circuit simulation for nanotechnology.

That dedication finds the entire staff learning Japanese two hours a day in a dedicated facility in line with a goal to form a bilingual and bicultural staff that can communicate easily with Japanese clients.

This is unprecedented in India, where only 3 percent of the total IT service exports go to Japan. Edkal is clearly serious about making solid, long-term partners in Japan.

“With more than 25 years of personal experience in health-care technology, IT and business, our chairman Dr. Majeed and I are of the same positive opinion about our experience and our success with Japan. We share A vision of the company becoming the most preferred organization that provides solutions, products and services of quality and value to Japan in our areas of expertise and focus,” says CEO Vinod Kumar.