How a childhood illness led this entrepreneur to start an Ayurvedic company; now runs 160 clinics pan-India
Ayurveda — a 5,000-years-old alternative medicine system — finds its roots in India. Recognised as one of the oldest healing methods, it is known for its holistic approach, which relies on the belief in maintaining a balance between mind, body, and soul.
Although Ayurveda is beneficial in preventing and curing many diseases and ailments, according to the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), it is not highly acceptable scientifically due to a lack of evidence.
In an interaction with SMBStory, Acharya Manish (rechristened his name to Guru Manish Ji), Founder of Shuddhi Ayurveda, says Ayurveda practices are lagging in its homeland.
Owing to archaic laws like the 1897 Epidemic Act and the 1954 Magic Remedy Act, practitioners are unable to talk about path-breaking treatments for different ailments.
During a brief discussion, Guru Manish Ji says he was drawn towards Ayurveda after finding a cure for himself through it.
This led him to build Shuddhi Ayurveda with 160 Ayurvedic clinics pan-India, two super speciality hospitals in Chandigarh and New Delhi, and an Ayurveda school. According to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) filings, the company clocked Rs 95 crore turnover in FY19-20.
A life-changing episode
Guru Manish Ji was 16-years-old when he got prone to fever, cough, and cold. Sometimes, the fever could get severe enough to detect jaundice, and for around two years, he stayed unwell.
“I went to every doctor, knocked the doors of astrologers, and adopted every possible prescription and remedy they gave me but all in vain,” he shares.
In 1995, during a summer holiday, he went to his aunt’s house in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, where his uncle was running an Ayurvedic clinic. “My uncle told me to spend two to three months with him and he will help me overcome my illness, and I trusted him,” he says.
His uncle gave him Ayurvedic concoctions and medicines, and to his surprise, he started recovering.
“At that point, I realised that allopathic medicines suppress the symptoms of a health problem and not give a cure. This made me more curious to study this alternative medicine, and I divulged my interest in studying Ayurveda,” Guru Manish Ji says.
He studied Charak Samhita written by Charak Rishi — considered as the encyclopedia of Ayurveda — and other books to get a deep understanding of this ages-old holistic science.
“By the 2000s, I had started working with various Ayurvedic practitioners to get a know-how of the industry. By 2013, I decided to make Ayurvedic medicines known to the public and established a brand,” he adds.
By the mid-2000s, Ayurvedic brands like Patanjali and Sri Sri Tattva led by spiritual leaders Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar, respectively, were already dominating the market besides other ayurvedic majors like Baidyanath.
Guru Manish Ji started his brand by the name “Divya Upchar.” However, he had to rename it to Shuddhi Ayurveda in 2019 due to trademark issues.
Building a brand
Shuddhi Ayurveda entered the market in 2019. At present, it has 250 products with third-party manufacturing facilities located in Rajasthan.
While he didn’t disclose the investment amount into the company but said he started small with the collaborative efforts of his near ones.
Shuddhi Ayurveda has 160 clinics across India with 250 Ayurvedic doctors, 15 dieticians, and 15 BHMS doctors to diagnose patients. Guru Manish Ji claims that on average, Shuddhi Ayurveda’s clinics treat about 11,000 patients in a month pan-India.
Shuddhi Ayurveda's products
He says that Ayurveda aims to keep the body healthy, disease-free, and remove any disease from its roots. He adds, “Ayurveda also means complete knowledge of life. This is not just a medicinal protocol, but a way to lead life.”
The brand has over 300 different medicinal formulations. It also offers over 25 packages, where each package has five or more Ayurvedic products. These include the Shuddhi cancer package, Shuddhi diabetes package, and Shuddhi body detoxification package, among others.
Shuddhi Ayurveda’s products are available online through the company’s website and Amazon.
Guru Manish Ji has also opened a Gurukul in Chandigarh with a unique operational model, where it creates awareness to keep people healthy and works towards holistically treating diseases by using Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, and other natural healing methods.
Competition and the way ahead
The Indian Ayurveda market was valued at Rs 300 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach Rs 710.87 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of about 16.06 percent.
“We are positioned quite differently vis a vis our competition. Most major players in the Ayurveda sector are simply selling manufactured products through the retail chain. If there are doctors associated, they are very less in number. We have adopted a model, which is based on setting up Ayurveda clinics and scientifically addressing medical issues,” he says.
In fact, he also spreads awareness about Ayurveda on various TV channels.
“People's psyche has been filled with an anti-Ayurveda and pro-allopathy perspective. We are trying to break this stereotype by presenting facts of Ayurveda to people and government functionaries,” he says while speaking about the way ahead.
According to Guru Manish Ji, many people have made their way to Ayurvedic medicines like Shatavari, giloy, etc., to help boost their immunity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we talk about the ongoing COVID-19 second wave, a lot of prevention can be done through Ayurveda, and people have also adapted to this natural remedy. However, there lacks a 100 percent trust,” he adds.
Shuddhi Ayurveda is planning to expand its footprint by opening 40 more clinics. It is also aiming to give a thrust to newer research in Ayurveda and tapping the international market.