On the island of Java, Indonesia, was born several centuries ago a type of plant remedy that has very specific characters: the jamu, a fresh juice of rhizome. This traditional herbal drink originated from ancient Javanese civilizations and has a wide variety of recipes. Its effectiveness in treating various diseases has withstood the test of time, making the drink widely consumed by the locals.
Jamu can be formulated with combinations of natural ingredients, from seeds, roots, flowers, fruits and leaves, according to the expected benefits. Some extracts are made in powder and can be conveniently made at home. Many Indonesian modern medicines are also based on the ingredients and concept of Jamu.
For more than 1,000 years, the family recipes of this herb syrup have been passed down from generation to generation and it is from within the warmth of the home where mothers have prepared this concoction. With no proven side effects or danger of overdose, this juice is sold in many large cities by hawkers. Jamu drink which is usually bitter is sweetened with honey or palm sugar. The traditional method of carrying the jamu in basket is called Jamu Gendong. However today, some jamu sellers might ride a bicycle. There is also modest street-side warung tent stall/ that specialize in selling jamu.
Herbal medicine is also produced in factories by large companies such as Air Mancur, Nyonya Meneer or Djamu Djago, and sold at various drug stores in sachet packaging. Packaged dried jamu should be dissolved in hot water first before drinking. Nowadays, herbal medicine is also sold in the form of tablets, caplets and capsules. These jamu brands are united in an Indonesian Herbal and Traditional Medicine Association, locally known as Gabungan Pengusaha Jamu (GP Jamu). Today, jamu is a growing local herbal medicine industry worth millions of dollars.
HOW TO PREPARE JAMU DRINK
INGREDIENTS & MANUFACTURING
Here are some spices that are often found in jamu drink: cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, clove, fennel, black and white pepper, cardamom, coriander, caraway, caraway, betel leaves, peppers, orange, apple skins, pomegranate and 900 other herbs / seeds / roots such as basil, dried tamarind etc.
The 3 major ingredients of jamu are:
– Ginger: is used to eliminate cold which is considered as the main cause of pain and discomfort of the body. Ginger has a powerful effect on relief of cramps, gastrointestinal pain and reduces inflammation in many painful conditions, including arthritic conditions. Because of its antioxidant compounds, ginger has also played a role as an anticancer agent. When used with turmeric, both herbs have a synergistic effect.
– Tamarind: is an important addition to most Jamu recipes because it adds a sweet and sour taste to balance the bitterness of other ingredients. Tamarind is rich in vitamin C and acts as a natural preservative and antioxidant in the jamu formulation. On the medical side, tamarind is a mild laxative that promotes bowel movements. It also has a refreshing effect on the body and helps to relieve nausea.
– Turmeric: We believe that it is the most important dietary herb for human health and that it forms the basis of Jamu’s Indonesian system for centuries. Not surprisingly, turmeric is one of the most studied plants in the world and pays particular attention to its positive effects on most types of cancer. Among its many natural compounds, most studies focus on the active ingredient, curcumin.
SIMPLE METHOD OF MANUFACTURE
Traditionally, the herbs are cut and mixed with water, filtered through a muslin cloth and added to the pan and boiled over low heat. Other herbs such as tamarind, cinnamon sticks and pandan leaves can be added at this stage. A little coconut palm sugar or honey is usually added if the ingredients are excessively bitter. The hot liquid is then filtered again and added to the glass bottles directly and sealed to maintain freshness and stored in the refrigerator. Some traditional preparation secrets involve knowing which additional herbs are specific to various health problems.
HOW TO CONSUME JAMU DRINK
Jamu is traditionally sweetened with honey and is drunk hot or cold. It is interesting to note that many key jamu formulas require the addition of a fresh raw egg yolk (chicken egg or duck egg). Alternatively, for those who may not be able to drink raw egg yolk, mixing with virgin coconut oil can improve bio-availability, as well as the antioxidant and anticancer effect.
Things to keep in mind when buying Jamu
In order to take advantage of all the benefits of this drink, we recommend that you buy only freshly prepared one. Always find out the sweetener used although most times honey is used. Other sweeteners include: unrefined palm sugar, stevia or coconut nectar. Even coconut water itself acts as a sweetener. Also, ensure to confirm that the jamu is free of any unnatural ingredient.