Jamu or 'Djamu' is a traditional medicine originating in Java is predominantly made from natural materials, such as roots, bark, flowers, seeds, leaves and fruits and is used across Indonesia today.
Following the adoption of Islam in the late 15th century, many fled to Bali, taking their culture, customs and books with them. Healing knowledge was inscribed on the dried fronds of a type of palm tree which were considered sacred and a closely guarded secret - only handed down to a chosen few. The generations traditionally choose to keep their Jamu blends within the family + village walls.
In Java, Mbok Jamu, the traditional Kain-Kebaya wearing young to middle-aged Javanese woman carrying a bamboo basket, filled with bottles of Jamu on her back, travelling throughout the villages, offering conventional herbal medicine. The traditional method of carrying the Jamu in a basket is called Jamu Gendong.
Jamu, concoctions are simple, practical and exotic. The Indonesian plants used for medical purposes date back to pre-historic times. Tools such as mortars or rubbing stones are still used to grind plants to obtain powders and plant extracts and the hand-crafted method we use in our kitchen.
ThThe Philosophy behind Jamu is about inner and outer beauty and improved health with a holistic approach. The concept of balanced harmony between a person and their environment, or the balance between hot and cold elements in the body – means that both the medicines and illness are separated into cold and hot categories. A skilled Jamu herbalist will dispense the correct medication – be it hot/cold; sweet/sour; bitter/sugary; strong/weak. Once a formula is created to treat a specific problem for one target organ, the effect on the rest of the system must always be taken into consideration. There are three categories in a single Jamu – the main ingredients; the supporting ingredients and those added to improve the taste of the Jamu.
Life in Indonesia is steeped in grand traditions. Jamu Healers use herbs combined with prayer, massage and rituals are the magic that has been passed down from the generation, and in rare cases of a persistent illness, Indonesians turn to their ‘magic’. The Healer matches the vibrations of his or her mind with those of the ill. He/she is then literally on the same wavelength as the patient, and Indonesians believe they can send vibrations or read the patient’s thoughts. The most important spot for the Healer is the third eye (Ajna) at the centre of the forehead.
TThe Healer’s in Indonesia have extraordinary skills; some are born with this gift, others develop it throughout their life. Generally, they rely on personal experience, a sense of touch and lots of spices and herbs. The fee is often left up to those being treated, and it takes as long as up to 30 years to become and be recognised as a highly competent Healer.
The all-powerful instrument is the mind, and because it controls the body, healers believe that illnesses are created by mental imbalance alone. The healer passes positive thoughts onto her patient thus enhancing the healing process. Meditation, trances and mysticism – which forms an integral part of healing throughout Indonesia – are awe-inspiring and unexplainably impressive.
Jamu is not an immediate remedy. Results are achieved with consistent daily use over a period of time. This is also the reason why consumers don’t usually experience any side effects – it’s a much slower, holistic process that requires patience.
Traditional Medicinal Grade Jamu uses up to 213 plants. A handful of species are the undisputed superstars of Jamu Jawa.
Please see our Ingredients Page to find out more about these Superstars.