The Background Story
Jamu (formerly Djamu) is traditional medicine in Indonesia.
It is predominantly herbal medicine made from natural materials, such as parts of plants such as roots, leaves and bark, and fruit. There is also material from the bodies of animals, such as bile of goat or alligator used.
[Alligators are only native to the United States and China not Indonesia]
In many large cities jamu herbal medicine is sold on the street by hawkers carry a refreshing drink, usually bitter but sweetened with honey.
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.
It is claimed to have originated in the Mataram Kingdom some 1300 years ago. Though heavily influenced by Ayurveda from India, Indonesia is a vast archipelago with numerous indigenous plants not found in India, and include plants similar to Australia beyond theWallace Line. Jamu may vary from region to region, and often not written down, especially in remote areas of the country.
Jamu was (and is) practiced by indigenous physicians (dukuns). However, it is generally prepared and prescribed by women, who sell it on the streets. Generally, the different jamu prescriptions are not written down but handed down between the generations. Some early handbooks, however, have survived. A jamu handbook that was used in households throughout the Indies was published in 1911 by Mrs. Kloppenburg-Versteegh.
One of the first European physicians to study jamu was Jacobus Bontius (Jacob de Bondt), who was a physician in Batavia (today’s Jakarta) in the early seventeenth century. His writings contain information about indigenous medicine.
A comprehensive book on indigenous herbal medicine in the Indies was published byRumphius, who worked on Ambon during the early eighteenth century. He published a book called Herbaria Amboinesis (The Ambonese Spice Book). During the nineteenth century, European physicians had a keen interest in jamu, as they often did not know how to treat the diseases they encountered in their patients in the Indies.
The German physician Carl Waitz published on jamu in 1829. In the 1880s and 1890s, A.G. Vorderman published extensive accounts on jamu as well. Pharmacological research on herbal medicine was undertaken by M. Greshoff and W.G. Boorsma at the pharmacological laboratory at the Bogor Botanical Garden.
Indonesian physicians were initially not very interested in jamu. During the second conference of the Indonesian Association of Physicians, held in Solo in March 1940, two presentations on the topic were given. During the Japanese occupation, Indonesia’s Jamu Committee was formed in 1944. During the following decades, the popularity of jamu increased, although physicians had rather ambivalent opinions about it.
Jamu is often distributed in the form of powder, pills, capsules, and drinking liquid. Jamu shops, which sell only ingredients or prepare the jamu on spot as required by buyers, as well as women roaming the street to sell jamu, is a commonly seen way to distribute jamu in Indonesia. Nowadays, Jamu is also mass manufactured and exported. There are often concerns as to quality, consistency, and cleanliness in not only the locally distributed but also manufactured forms.
HERBS for JAMU
There are hundreds of herbs for jamu prescriptions, some are :
- Adas (Foeniculum vulgare Mill)
- Kayu Manis Cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii)
- Jamu Beras Kencur (kaempferia galangal rice or sand ginger rice) helps to reduce body ache
- Jamu Cabe Puyang (chili and lempuyang rhizome) for elimination of stiffness or fever.
- Jamu Gendong is usually sold by carrying a basket of bottled handmade jamus
- Jamu Kudu Laos for lowering blood pressure, improving blood circulation, warming the body, increasing appetite.
- Jamu Kunci Suruh for candidiasis, tighten the vagina, eliminates body odor, shrink the uterus and stomach, and is said to strengthen the teeth.
- Jamu Kunir Asam (sour turmeric) for to cool the body (sakit panas) or facilitate menstruation
- Jamu Pahitan for itching and diabetes, lack of appetite, eliminate body odor, lower cholesterol, abdominal bloating, acne, and dizziness.
- Jamu Sinom like jamu kunir asam with the addition of young tamarind leaves
- Jamu Uyup-uyup/Gepyokan for increasing breast milk production and to cool the body.
Traditional Indonesian Herbal Drinks
Having a slim body is a dream of almost all women and girls all around the world. Many women will do anything they can to get body shapes that they want. One of those ways is by drinking traditional medicines. One of popular jamu (Indonesian traditional medicine) recipes to lose weight is kunyit asam (tamarind turmeric). Not only this jamu will help you lose weight, but turmeric is also believed to be an effective home remedy for depression.
Turmeric has various health benefits. According to research, turmeric (kunyit) has various substances that are important for body. Those substance are protein, fat, carbohydrate, potassium, mineral, starch, phosphor, essential oils, curcumin and bisdesmetoksikurkumin. Combination between turmeric (kunyit) and tamarind (asam) can increase body metabolism, accelerate blood circulation, dump fat and helps distribute fresh oxygen in bloods. In the end, these two spices can help you lose weight.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn. syn. Curcuma domestica Val) is a family of Zingiberaceae (ginger family). It’s native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 and 30 °C. In Indonesia, turmeric is not only used for cooking but it’s a natural remedy. Kunyit asam (or the Javanese says kunir asem), an Indonesian traditional beverage as well as natural remedy (known as jamu in bahasa Indonesia) that is made from a mix of turmeric and tamarind and turned into a juice. This jamu is belief to refreshing women’s body while they are on period. Also it helps to battle the flu and canker sore. Some Indonesians love to drink kunyit asam with ice cubes so this herbal medicine turns into a refreshing beverage for a hot day.
There are so many good things about turmeric. Turmeric contains antioxidant. People with liver problem can use turmeric as well to improve their liver performance. Turmeric is not only for consumption but it’s used for cosmetic industry. Many people in Indonesia, grind the turmeric with jicama into a paste for facial and body mask. The purpose of this mask is to shine and smooth the skin.
Beside the roots, the leaves of turmeric are also used for a curry based dish especially the Sumatran curries such as the famous Rendang and Sate Padang (Padang Beef Sate) from Minangkabau, West Sumatra. Take a look my rendang recipe if you want to know what the purpose of adding turmeric leaves in food.
Other Turmeric names:
Indonesian and Malaysian: Kunyit
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) /ˈtɜrmərɪk/ is a rhizomatous herbaceousperennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical Tamilnadu, in southeast India, and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C (68 °F and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in Tamil cuisine and even curries, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. Curcumin has been a centre of attraction for potential treatment of an array of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, allergies,arthritis and other chronic illnesses.
India is a significant producer of turmeric which has regional names based on language and country. As turmeric is a natural botanical product, it is not patentable.
Turmeric also known as haldi, turmeric has been used in South India for thousands of years and is a major part of Siddha medicine. It was first used as a dye and then later for its medicinal properties.
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Tamil traditional medicine, called Siddha, has recommended turmeric in food for its potential medicinal value, which is a topic of active research. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine.
Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, but is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake Sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconut–jaggery mixture on the leaf, and then closing and steaming it in a special copper steamer (goa).
In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.
Most turmeric that is used is in the form of rhizome powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa,Konkan and Kanara), turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook food. This use of turmeric leaves usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. Turmeric leaves impart a distinctive flavor.
Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as pickle made from fresh turmeric that contains large chunks of soft turmeric.
Turmeric is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use turmeric as a starter ingredient. Almost all Iranian fried dishes consist of oil, onions, and turmeric followed by any other ingredients that are to be included.
In Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its color as well as for its potential value in traditional medicine. In South Africa, turmeric is used to give boiled white rice a golden color.
In Vietnam, turmeric powder is used to color, and enhance the flavors of, certain dishes, such as bánh xèo, bánh khọt and mi quang. The powder is also used in many other Vietnamese stir fried and soup dishes.
In Thailand, fresh turmeric rhizomes are widely used in many dishes, in particular in the southern Thai cuisine, such as the yellow curry (แกงเหลือง)and turmeric soup (ต้มขมิ้น).
Folk medicine and traditional uses :
In Tamilnadu, turmeric has been used traditionally for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, as well as topically to heal sores, basically for its supposed antimicrobial property. In the Siddha system (since c. 1900 BCE) turmeric was a medicine for a range of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders. A fresh juice is commonly used in many skin conditions, including eczema, chicken pox, shingles, allergy, and scabies.
Manjal Pal (turmeric milk) is warm milk mixed with some turmeric powder. It is commonly used in Tamilnadu as a home remedy when someone is suffering from fever. Turmeric paste is often used in Tamilnadu as an antiseptic in open wounds, while chun-holud (turmeric with slaked lime) is used to stop bleeding as home remedies. It is also used as a de-tanning agent in Tamilnadu.
The active compound curcumin is believed to have a wide range of biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumour, antibacterial, and antiviral activities, which indicate potential in clinical medicine. In Chinese medicine, it is used for treatment of various infections and as an antiseptic.
Preliminary medical research
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “there is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.”
Although trials are ongoing for the use of turmeric to treat cancer, doses needed for any effect are difficult to establish in humans. It is not known what, if any, positive effect turmeric has against cancer or any disease. As of December 2013, turmeric is being evaluated for its potential efficacy against several human diseases in clinical trials, including kidney and cardiovascular diseases,arthritis, several types of cancer and irritable bowel disease.
Specifically, turmeric is also being investigated in relation to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other clinical disorders.
However, according to various basic research studies, administration of curcumin or turmeric can suppress several stages of cancer development in multiple tumor models. One study of curcumin on human cancer cells in vitro used hybrid molecules with the anti-nausea drug thalidomide to induce apoptosisin myeloma cancer cells. Some research shows compounds in turmeric to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties; however, curcumin is not one of them.
Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, has also been shown to be a vitamin D receptor ligand “with implications for colon cancer chemoprevention.”
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) (from Arabic: تمر هندی, romanized tamar hindi, “Indian date”) is a leguminous tree in the family Fabaceaeindigenous to tropical Africa. The genus Tamarindus is a monotypic taxon, having only a single species.
The tamarind tree produces edible, pod-like fruit which are used extensively in cuisines around the world. Other uses include traditional medicine and metal polish. The wood can be used in carpentry. Because of the tamarind’s many uses, cultivation has spread around the world in tropical and subtropical zones.
Tamarindus indica is indigenous to tropical Africa, particularly in Sudan, where it continues to grow wild; it is also cultivated in Cameroon,Nigeria and Tanzania. In Arabia, it is found growing wild in Oman, especially Dhofar, where it grows on the sea-facing slopes of mountains. It reached South Asia likely through human transportation and cultivation several thousand years prior to the Common Era. It is widely distributed throughout the tropical belt, from Africa to South Asia, Northern Australia, and throughout Oceania, Southeast Asia,Taiwan and China.
In the 16th century, it was heavily introduced to Mexico, and to a lesser degree to South America, by Spanish and Portuguese colonists, to the degree that it became a staple ingredient in the region’s cuisine.
Traditional Medicine Uses :
Throughout Southeast Asia, fruit of the tamarind is used as a poultice applied to foreheads of fever sufferers. Based on human study, tamarind intake may delay the progression of skeletal fluorosis by enhancing excretion of fluoride. However, additional research is needed to confirm these results.
Culinary Uses :
The fruit pulp is edible. The hard green pulp of a young fruit is considered by many to be too sour, but is often used as a component of savory dishes, as a pickling agent or as a means of making certain poisonous yams in Ghana safe for human consumption.
The ripened fruit is considered the more palatable, as it becomes sweeter and less sour (acidic) as it matures. It is used in desserts as a jam, blended into juices or sweetened drinks, sorbets, ice creams and all manner of snacks.
In Western cuisine, it is found in Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce.
In most parts of India, tamarind extract (dried tamarind available commercially is heated in water and strained out leaving the extract) is used to flavor foods ranging from meals to snacks. Along with tamarind, sugar and spices are added to (regional) taste for chutneys or a multitude of condiments for a bitter-sweet flavor. The immature pods and flowers are also pickled and used as a side dish. In regional cuisines, such as Rajasthan,Maharashtra (where it is called chincha), Tamil Nadu (where it is called puli) and Andhra Pradesh,]](where it is called Chintha pandu) it is used to make rasam, amtee, sambhar, vatha kuzhambu, puliyogare and chutneys and pickles. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, tender leaves of tamarind calledchintha chiguru (చింత చిగురు) and puliyankozhunthu(புளியங்கொழுந்து), respectively, are used with lentils to make raw chutney. In the state of Andhra Pradesh “Chintha pandu” (Tamarind)is an essential ingredient in their “Pulihora” “Fish Pulusu”, majority of “vegetable Pulusu curries”, “Chaaru” “Pappu Chaaru” “Nilava Patchallu” and “Chethi Patchallu”. Curries made of “Chintha Chiguru”(Tender leaves of Tamarind tree)mixed with prawns, meat or pulses (“Chintha Chiguru Royyala Koora”, “Chintha Chiguru Maamsam Koora” or Chintha Chiguru Pappu” respectively) are great delicasies in Andhra Pradesh., Karnataka, India, the tamarind, called hunasae hannu, is used in saaru (lentil soup), sambhar or sambar (vegetable soup), gojju (sauce), and several types of chutneys. In southern parts ofKerala, mostly along the coastal belt, it is added to fish curry masalas, with ground coconut for flavoring. It is also used extensively as preservative and in pickles (thokku).
In Guadeloupe, tamarind is known as tamarinier and is used in jams and syrups.
In Mexico, it is used in sauces or sold in various snack forms: dried and salted; in sweet, soft clusters, or candied (see for examplechamoy snacks). Agua de tamarindo, a fresh beverage made from tamarind, is popular throughout the country. Agua fresca beverages, iced fruit bars and raspados all use it as the main ingredient. Jarritos is a well-known export brand soda drink (tamarind is the second most popular flavour of the brand). Mexican tamarind snacks, such as “Batilongo“, Pelon Pelo Rico and Pulparindo are available in specialty food stores worldwide. Often in Mexico, tamarind is plucked off the tree and eaten raw.
A variant of the traditional Mexican mole sauce is made with tamarind paste in addition to the more traditional ingredients of mole, such aschile ancho and chocolate. This version is not very well known outside of the city of Oaxaca.
In Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Mexico and other Latin American countries tamarind is rolled into balls (5 cm in diameter) with white granulated sugar and a blend of spices to create tambran balls.
A sour, chilled drink made from tamarind is served in Egypt.
In southern Kenya, the Swahili people use it to garnish legumes and also make juices. In Somalia, it is used to give rice some sour flavour. In Madagascar, its fruits and leaves are a well-known favorite of thering-tailed lemurs, providing as much as 50% of their food resources during the year if available. In northern Nigeria, it is used with millet powder to prepare kunun tsamiya, a traditional pap mostly used as breakfast, and usually eaten with bean cake.
In Turkey, it is called demirhindi, and is consumed as a sweetened cold drink. It is also available as a fruit, but is not well known by the general population since it is not grown locally and is imported.
The Javanese dish gurame and more so ikan asem, also known as ikan asam (sweet and sour fish, commonly a carp or river fish) is served throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; some dishes in Manado,Sulawesi and Maluku cuisines use tamarind.
In Lebanon, the Kazouza company sells a tamarind-flavoured carbonated beverage.
In Myanmar, young and tender leaves and flower buds are eaten as a vegetable. A salad dish of tamarind leaves (မန်ကျည်းရွက်နုသုတ်), boiled beans, and crushed peanuts topped with crispy fried onions is served in rural Myanmar.
In Thailand, a cultivar has been bred specifically to be eaten as a fresh fruit: it is particularly sweet and minimally sour. It is also sometimes eaten preserved in sugar with chili as a sweet-and-spicy candy. Tamarind is an essential souring ingredient in the central Thai variant of kaeng som, a sour curry. Pad Thaioften includes tamarind for its tart/sweet taste (with lime juice added for sourness and fish sauce added for saltiness and umami). A tamarind-based sweet-and-sour sauce is served over deep-fried fish in central Thailand.