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Jamu: A Traditional, Herbal Remedy From The Orient

Description : Exploring alternative medicines in the form of healthy food? Learn more on this kind of herbal concoction called “jamu”, some of you may have never heard of.

Today, people are increasingly aware of the negative side effects of modern medicines. However, sometimes you won’t be able to refuse those medications. For example, when you are faced with emergency, life or death situation, you won’t have the option but to accept whatever the doctors or nurses administer into your body. Or, in surgery, where you will need to be sedated to avoid feeling the extreme pain. You have no option but to use modern medicines!

Nevertheless, to cure common day-to-day illnesses or simply improve your well-being, you do have plenty of alternative healthy drink! One of them is jamu.

What is Jamu?

Jamu is a herbal concoction originating from Indonesia. Some jamuformulae are catered to cure certain illnesses, while others aim as preventions—keeping your body healthy.

In Indonesia, the tradition of consuming this healthy drink goes back to hundreds or thousands of years ago when the islands of Java and Bali were still under the ruling of the Hindu dynasties. Scripts and relics from those periods described that jamu-making was a common occupation and people drank jamu to maintain their health.

Through time, Indonesian traditional healers have used jamuto help cure their patients. Furthermore, you can still find tukang jamu—that is street peddlers selling jamu—even now. Occasionally, you will find women—known as mbok jamu—carrying buckets of bottled jamu variants. Ask them to drop by at your place and give you a glass of whichever type of jamuof your liking.

Today, jamu is still the go-to medicine in many households in Indonesia. You can buy instant or bottled jamu from a tukang jamu or mbok jamu, or make your own jamuat home.

Variations of Jamu

There are many variations of jamu in Indonesia. Two of the most common ones are beras kencur and kunir asem.

Beras Kencur

Beras kencur comes from two words: beras which means rice, and kencur which is known as aromatic ginger or sand ginger (Latin: Kaempferia galanga).

When you feel tired or if your body is aching, you may drink this jamu to invigorate your senses and improve your stamina and blood circulation, and appetite as well. In Indonesia, mothers whose children don’t like to eat give beras kencur to improve their appetite.

You can make this healthy drink at home by preparing these ingredients: 50 g of fresh kencur, 50 g of raw rice, a knob of tamarind (Javanese tamarind if you have), a pinch of salt, palm sugar to taste (brown sugar will do too), and a cup of water.

Some recipes may include ginger extract, too.

Kunir Asem

Kunir asem originates from two words: kunir—or also known as kunyit—which is turmeric, and asem which refers to the tamarind.

In Indonesia, mothers give this jamuto their teenaged daughters to help reduce menstrual pain and treat unwanted vaginal discharge. If you are on a diet, kunir asem will help reduce your appetite; thus, it is a natural therapy for obesity.

To make this healthy drink at home, you will need these ingredients: five pieces of turmerics (preferably the grandmother roots or main roots), two knobs of tamarind (Javanese tamarind preferred), a pinch of salt, palm sugar to taste, and one and a half glasses of water.

Other recipes may include temulawak or Javanese ginger or Javanese turmeric (Latin: Curcuma xanthorrhiza), and also other medicinal herbs.

Other Herbal Remedies

For sure, there are other types of traditional Indonesian jamu. Nevertheless, there are also other herbal remedies, not necessarily originating from Indonesia. However, to simplify, you may call them jamu, too!

Here are some of them.

For stomachache

Peel and grate a grandmother root of turmeric and squeeze out the juice. Stir in a half cup of water with a pinch of salt.

For bloated stomach

Let two spoonfuls of roasted brown rice sit in a glass of boiling water until the water turns dark red. Drink the water once or twice every day until the symptoms disappear.

For cough

Grate one medium-sized onion and mix them with a spoonful of pure honey and one-third of lime.

To treat sore throat

Boil 50 to 100 g of thinly sliced, fresh ginger in one and a half jars of water. Drink the liquid hot twice a day until the symptoms disappear.

Have a Taste of These Herbal Remedies

To have a taste of jamuand these herbal remedies in Lübbenau, sign up for classes at Widwan Yoga Studio. Simply check www.widwan.deor Google yoga in Lübbenau, and you’ll find out more about their classes, as well as their servings of jamu and herbal remedies. You’ll be able to enjoy this healthy drink after each session.

Widwan Wiradnya

Widwan Yoga Studio Lübbenau / Spreewald

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