JAMU: The Ancient Indonesian Art Of Herbal Healing

What is Jamu?

Indonesia is a homeland of herbal medicine or Jamu (or Djamoe), our system of traditional health and beauty treatments based on botanical ingredients. Jamu is a part of an integrated system of inner and outer health and beauty, encompassing powders, pills, herbs, ointments, lotions, cosmetics, massage combined with ancient health rituals — is almost unknown to most Westerners and the secret of Indonesian’s beauty. Whatever your illness is, it can be treated with Indonesian herbal medicines. Nauseous? There is ginger tea to find relief. Skin problems? You will surely get a remedy for that as well.

Jamu represents a centuries old Indonesian ancient herbal medicinal tradition that uses specific, natural ingredients to treat skin and health issues. In Indonesia today, even with the prevalence of western medicine, the government still recognizes Jamu as a medicinal practice with its own set of FDA regulations.

The Use of Jamu at Udara Resort

In Udara Bali Detox & Spa we are proud to contribute and share about the tradition to use herbs and plants as herbal remedies and we use the benefits of Jamu to maintain health and beauty of our guests. A daily Jamu drink is included in our detox programs as well as part of the breakfast buffet at the Organic Ocean Restaurant. We also have workshops to prepare your own healing tonic Jamu and learn about the benefits of the different herbal ingredients used in our restaurant. You will learn all the basic information about the health properties from the herbal ingredients used to make Jamu, such as Ginger, Turmeric, Javanese Turmeric, Galangal, Lemongrass and Tamarind. Experience the taste of Jamu and how to use it as an everyday booster for a healthy lifestyle. You will also learn how to extract the active properties from the ingredients in a very simple way of boiling the ingredients and mixing them according to your individual needs.

You should definitely check out our next Jamu workshop in Udara Bali Yoga Detox and Spa!

The History of Jamu

How, when, where and why were these treatments ever developed? What is so special about them? And how has Jamu been perfected?

Several hundred years ago, the royalty of Indonesia asked their healers to create treatments not only for medicinal purposes, but also for spa and beauty ritual treatments. Hence the same herbs, fruits and flowers that contained healing properties were used to create luxurious beauty treatments one can still enjoy today. Jamu has a 1.200-year-old history, yet is little used or known outside Indonesia. Our healers have held a secret to maintaining youthful health and beauty. By using the herbs and botanicals of the tropical Indonesian forests, these healers created recipes that kept the skin healthy, prevented illness and detoxified for overall health and wellbeing, treating ailments ranging from stomach aches to skin conditions to general daily health maintenance.

Largely held as family secrets passed down for generations, recipes were heavily guarded, and finding the answers through modern research was not easy. Only in the 1940s, with persistence from the government and the medical community did traditional healers finally open their secrets for scientific study. And to the surprise of many, these traditional herbal concoctions were often found to be more effective than their western counterparts. Ingredients commonly used for skin and beauty range from skin-softening milk with rose petals to spicy aromatics such as ginger and turmeric, applied onto the face and body to nourish and detoxify the skin.

The 10 most popular herbs in Indonesia and their amazing benefits

Jamu uses hundreds of fruits, herbs, and spices, almost all of which are grown natively in Indonesia. Here are the 10 most popular herbs and spices used in the Indonesian beauty and healing tradition:

1. Kunyit in Indonesian or Turmeric

It is naturally anti-inflammatory, highly antioxidant, helps prevent cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer and can improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

2. Jahe in Indonesian or Ginger

Helps digestion, promotes weight loss, relieves nausea and morning sickness, cold and flu relief, maintains blood sugar level, reduces cholesterol.

3. Lengkuas in Indonesian, Galangal or Thai ginger or Blue ginger

It is part of the ginger family, used as anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasite, analgesic, wound disinfectant, blood pressure regulator & hearth tonic, helps with arthritis & rheumatism.

4. Kencur in Indonesian, Kaemferia Galangal or Aromatic Galangal or Sand ginger

Helps relieve cold & cough, headaches and migraine, influenza, treats rheumatic diseases, asthma cure and helps to get rid of acne.

5. Temulawak in Indonesian or Curcuma or Javanese Curcuma or Giant Curcuma

The essential oil in curcuma is believed to improve kidney & liver function, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, helps in cancer prevention, treats anemia.

6. Cinnamon

It is loaded with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces cholesterol levels, heart diseases and blood pressure, lowers blood sugar level and has powerful anti-diabetic effects.

7. Nutmeg

Promotes healthy sleep, reduces inflammation on the skin including acne, helps with Alzheimer and dementia, detoxifies the organs and relieves kidney stones.

8. Tamarind

Reduces blood sugar level, treats hair loss, high in vitamin and minerals such as potassium which is vital for the cardiovascular system, anti-inflammatory, good to reduce pain in the joints and connective tissues.

9. Cardamom

Potentially reducing colorectal cancer by enhancing antioxidant activity in the body, blood circulation, anti-diabetic effect, the essential oil is believed to have anti-depressant properties, protecting from bad breath, a remedy for nausea and vomiting.

10. Betel leaves

These leaves are popular to improve digestion, reduce gastric pain, treat respiratory problems, prevent body odor and nose bleeding, relieve cough and treat headaches.

Jamu for Beauty and Wellbeing in Indonesia

To this day, a high value is placed in Indonesia on soothing rituals and the process of caring for your skin, as beauty is believed to not only come from the outside but also from a peaceful and balanced mind. Most beauty rituals are relaxing, multi-step events lasting several hours, with traditional concoctions applied onto the face and body one after the other, each with its own targeted purpose and result. A Treatment begins with a relaxing massage and then is followed by a choice of body scrubs, body wraps, masks or a fresh yogurt rub. It concludes with a warm milk or fresh flower bath, utilizing special ingredients to improve skin condition and tone.

Traditional Balinese “Boreh” Healing Scrub

Indonesia’s vast cultural heritage is shaped by rich gifts derived from nature and includes a range of beauty regimens. From top to toe, simple to sophisticated, there are choices for everyone.

One of the top-secret Balinese beauty remedy recipes is Balinese Boreh, a healing scrub made from rice and spices. This remedy will not just make your skin look smoother and more radiant, the spice ingredients inside the scrub are also excellent for increasing blood circulation, relieving tired muscles, preventing arthritis & rheumatism as well as used at night to stay warm and recover faster from cold and flu.

Traditionally, the following ingredients are used for a healing body scrub
  • Rice
  • Galangal
  • Kaempferia Galangal (Sand ginger)
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Coconut body oil with natural flower fragrance

Combine all the ingredients together, grind with a little bit of water & add coconut body oil until it is smooth. Apply on your body but avoid sensitive areas. Leave it for 10 minutes. Scrub with your hands or a loofah sponge in circular motion until all the flakes of the scrub come off your skin surface. You can continue with a warm flower bath or a warm shower. For a last touch, apply coconut body oil to maintain the moisture of your skin and give your skin radiant healthy looks!

Discover wellness treatments at Udara Spa and experience a feeling of complete relaxation, positive energy and wellbeing. Featuring a range of wellness and holistic treatments, focused on healing, relaxation and authentic Balinese tradition and authentic Jamu from Indonesia.