Jamu is a holistic healing therapy that’s based on the theory that if our ailments come from nature, then so too, must their cure. Originating on the island of Java many centuries ago, and used by local Balinese healers, the traditionally Indonesian herbal cure comes in forms of tablet, powder or as a locally brewed drink.
Revered in Indonesia for it’s medicinal superpowers, Jamu is slowly becoming a fixture on the health scene in the Western World. In fact, on Wednesday at our nutritional workshop which is being held as part of Karma Wellness week, we ran through a comprehensive list of the health benefits of Jamu and all enjoyed a glass of the nutritional beverage. The workshop was run by the Pilates instructor to the England 7’s Rugby, and an enjoyable, informative experience.
But it’s not just the ingredients that make Jamu the healing superpower it is. Balinese know that the medicinal effects aren’t generated from the herbs and ingredients alone. The compound is created by indigenous Bali healers in which they incorporate prayers, and rituals and believe in dispensing it on auspicious dates to increase the healing power of Jamu.
So, what exactly is this magical concoction and where can you find it?
What’s in it?
While recipes vary from seller seller, and are usually a highly guarded secret passed down through generations, Jamu can contain up to 213 medical plants, and the base ingredients are Tumeric and Ginger, which are found in most Jamus. The list of different inflictions Jamu can treat is almost endless, but the below ingredients are included to treat mainstream ailments.
What it is: The sweet fruit is rich in organic compounds making it a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Tamarind also works as a gentle laxative, aiding digestion.
What it treats: Skin diseases, ulcers, rheumatism and constipation.
What it is: Otherwise known as water spinach, KangKung is a vegetable that grows in tropical regions and is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and carotenoids – which act as an antioxidant.
What it treats: Insomnia, headaches, gum problems, skin problems and cold sweats.
What it is: When it comes to the health benefits of Galangal, the list is long, making it somewhat of a super-herb! The plant herb is often referred to as a cross between ginger and numeric and is rich in fibre, iron, sodium, Vitamin A & C, lowers cholesterol levels and can even help fight cancer.
What it treats: Indigestion, stomach-ache and low sex drive.
What it is: Sulfur is naturally found in our bodies, making up vital amino acids that creates cells, tissues, hormones, enzymes and antibodies. A deficiency in the body can be a contributing factor to many health problems.
What it treats: Rashes, allergic reactions, skin irritations and itches.
What is is: Not just a fragrant ingredient for cooking, lemongrass is an aromatic healer possessing anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.
What it treats: Gum problems, repels mosquitos and increases mental alertness.
Where can it be found?
If you’re lucky enough, and in Indonesia, you may come across a street hawker selling a locally brewed version. However, Jamu is also being produced more commercially now with many companies selling it in local restaurants and grocery stores. Local brand, Paon Jamu makes an array of varieties which help to improve body circulation, protect your immune system, lower blood and cholesterol levels, amongst many other health benfits. Paon Jamu is available for purchase at Karma Beach and Karma Kandara.