Indonesian Jamu: A Traditional Herbal drink, an exotic beverage that is actually a medicine and gives you health benefits

Abdul Halim Ahmad
BON BRAVO
5 min readApr 4, 2023

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come2indonesia

Responding to the below article by LAUREN VALENTI in Vogue magazine, Jamu is a really interesting herbal drink that is originally from Indonesia.

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Indonesia is a country with a rich tradition of herbal medicine. One of the most popular forms of traditional herbal medicine in Indonesia is Jamu. Jamu is a natural remedy made from a variety of herbs and spices, which have been used for centuries to promote health and treat various ailments.

Jamu has been an integral part of Indonesian culture for centuries. The word Jamu comes from Javanese, meaning “herbal medicine.” Jamu is typically made by grinding fresh herbs and spices into a paste and then adding water or another liquid to make a drink. Some popular ingredients used in Jamu include turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, tamarind, and lemongrass.

Indonesia is a treasure trove of natural remedies, and at the heart of this ancient knowledge lies the secret of Jamu. This traditional herbal medicine has been used for centuries to promote health and wellness, and its popularity is growing worldwide.

Jamu’s holistic approach to medicine is an integral part of Indonesian culture, with its focus on overall health and well-being, rather than simply treating symptoms. Jamu is believed to work by balancing the body’s natural energies and promoting healthy digestion, circulation, and immune function.

Not only is Jamu a popular remedy for common ailments, but it is also an important part of traditional beauty rituals in Indonesia. Women drink Jamu to promote healthy skin and hair, with popular recipes including turmeric and ginger, which are believed to help with skin inflammation and promote a healthy glow.

The natural ingredients used in Jamu make it a safe and effective alternative to modern medicine, with the potential for many health benefits. Studies suggest that Jamu may help boost immunity, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and promote healthy skin and hair.

Jamu is not just a traditional medicine in Indonesia; it is a way of life. It is deeply ingrained in the daily routines of many people, a way to connect with the natural world and honor the traditions of one’s ancestors. The growing interest in Jamu outside of Indonesia is a testament to its effectiveness and the increasing demand for natural remedies worldwide.

However, it is important to approach Jamu with respect and caution. If you are interested in trying Jamu, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified practitioner who can help you determine the best recipe for your needs. It is also important to be aware of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.

Jamu is a holistic medicine that focuses on promoting overall health and well-being rather than just treating specific illnesses or symptoms. It is believed that Jamu works by balancing the body’s natural energies and promoting healthy digestion, circulation, and immune function.

Jamu is also an important part of traditional Indonesian beauty rituals. Many women in Indonesia drink Jamu to promote healthy skin and hair. Some popular beauty Jamu recipes include turmeric and ginger, which are believed to help with skin inflammation and promote a healthy glow.

One of the benefits of Jamu is that it is made from natural ingredients and does not contain any synthetic chemicals or preservatives. This makes Jamu a safe and effective alternative to modern medicine for many people.

Jamu has recently gained popularity outside of Indonesia due to its natural health benefits. Many people in the West have turned to Jamu as a way to promote overall health and wellness. Jamu is also gaining attention from researchers who are interested in studying its potential health benefits.

Some of the potential health benefits of Jamu include:

  1. Boosting immunity: Many of the herbs and spices used in Jamu have immune-boosting properties. This can help protect against common illnesses like colds and flu.
  2. Reducing inflammation: Turmeric, one of the key ingredients in many Jamu recipes, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. This can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to many chronic diseases.
  3. Improving digestion: Jamu is believed to promote healthy digestion by balancing the body’s natural digestive enzymes and improving gut health.
  4. Lowering cholesterol: Some herbs used in Jamu, such as cinnamon and turmeric, have been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties.
  5. Promoting healthy skin and hair: Many of the herbs and spices used in Jamu have been traditionally used to promote healthy skin and hair.

If you are interested in trying Jamu, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified practitioner who can help you determine the best recipe for your needs. The taste of Jamu may vary, from delicious sweet herbal drinks to bitter, and can’t stand its smell. It is also important to be aware of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.

One cool thing about Jamu is, most of the sellers are women. Indonesian women who sell Jamu have knowledge of traditional medicine and natural remedies. They are often skilled in creating unique blends of Jamu based on the needs and preferences of their customers. Additionally, these women often have a deep understanding of Indonesian culture and its traditional practices.

Another cool thing is the entrepreneurial spirit of these women. Many of them run small businesses, selling jamu from street stalls or door-to-door. Despite the challenges they face, such as limited access to capital and resources, they are able to make a living and support themselves and their families.

Indonesian delicacies are a perfect fusion of flavors, textures, and colors that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Some of the cool things about Indonesian delicacies include their rich diversity, as the country has over 300 ethnic groups, each with its own unique culinary traditions. Just like Jamu, Indonesian delicacies are full of surprises. Additionally, Indonesian cuisine often incorporates spices and herbs such as lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric, which are believed to have various health benefits. Overall, Indonesian delicacies offer a delicious and culturally rich culinary experience.

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Abdul Halim Ahmad
BON BRAVO

Food writer | Research & Development | Chef Consultant | Food culture enthusiast | Professional chef