Jamu Gets Fresh Eyes From Chemical-Wary Consumers

From the Jakarta Globe

TURMERIC – the ‘Granddaddy’ of all spices – is an incredible multi-faceted healer that works in supporting the bodies immune system and nervous system (assisting in a healthy response to stress), promotes radiant skin (supporting antioxidant protection against free radicals), healthy digestion, healthy bone, joint and skeletal function, and is great for blood and liver function too. For women turmeric also aids in supporting the reproductive system.

by Sylviana Hamdani

Six-year-old Jemima had been suffering from a bad cough for a long time. Whenever she came in contact with cold temperatures, dust or sweets, it was enough to send her into a fit. The doctor visits and prescriptions were endless, and her mother, television and radio presenter Novita Angie, grew more and more concerned about the potential effects of all this treatment.

“The doctor said it’s because of her allergies,” Novita said. “She had to visit the doctor two to three times every month and got prescribed antibiotics. But taking medicine like that is like borrowing money from the bank. Eventually, you’ll have to repay that debt.”

“My daughter is so young,” she added. “I don’t want her to reap bad things in the future because of all the antibiotics she’s been taking.”

These concerns led Novita to start treating her daughter’s cough with an herbal remedy early this year.

“I’m happy to say that we’ve never visited a doctor since,” Novita said. “And I feel a lot safer because I know that I’m not endangering her body in the long run.”

Herbal-based medicines, often referred to locally as jamu, have been popular in Indonesia for a long time, but in recent years they have become more and more accepted in the mainstream as an effective alternative to certain types of modern medicines.

According to Charles Ong Saerang, president director of Nyonya Meneer, one of the largest jamu producers in the country, the first jamu was concocted by herbalists in the royal courts of Yogyakarta and Surakarta in the 15th century.

“The word jamu comes from the Javanese words jampi [concoction] and usodo [health],” Charles said.

The recipes for jamu spread from the palaces to the common people. Over the years, there have always been Indonesians who believed in and depended on these traditional herbal concoctions, but Charles said more and more people today were choosing to drink jamu instead of taking modern medicines.

“They realize that chemical-based medicines will leave a residue and harm their bodies in the long run, whereas jamu is made entirely of herbs and is safe for the body.”

Since early this year, Mila has also introduced the traditional concoction to her 7-year-old daughter, Nasya.

“She likes it a lot,” Mila said. “She drinks the children’s jamu that doesn’t taste bitter.”

According to Mila, her daughter has been healthily gaining weight since she started drinking the jamu and rarely falls ill.

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