Jamu, Indonesian cure-all elixir :

Jamu is a Javanese drink used in traditional medicine and on a daily basis by a very large part of the population. It consists of Indonesian medicinal herbs and decoctions which vary according to regions, families and the ailments to be treated/prevented.

Indonesia has a very diverse flora including 6000 species with medicinal properties and used in the Jamu. There are therefore over a hundred different recipes.

 

It originated in the 17th century in Java, more precisely in the Royal Palace where it was used to treat and above all keep the sultan and his court healthy. The ladies of the palace, meanwhile, were using it as an elixir of beauty and youth.

This traditional remedy then spread to the people through healers. But although it is very useful for treating various ailments, what makes it special is its preventive aspect, because the best remedy is to simply avoid getting sick.

 

In families, Jamu is traditionally made by women who pass on the family recipe to each new generation. You can also find ready-made sachets in apoteks (pharmacies).

Benefits :

As mentioned above, there are many types of jamu but the simple popular recipe has a well-earned reputation for being an elixir to cure everything. It is made of amazing ingredients like turmeric, ginger, lime, tamarind and honey which all carry many health benefits that you can discover below. 

Turmeric :

The benefits of turmeric have not gone unnoticed by wellness and health enthusiasts who regularly consume it in different forms. Indeed, curcumin, the active agent of turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which also acts as a stimulant for immunity and protector/regenerator of the hepato-digestive system.

Turmeric is therefore recommended for joint, digestive, inflammatory and infectious conditions. It is also used in preventing the development of cancer cells.

It is interesting to combine turmeric with piperine a major component of pepper that increases the bioavailability of curcumin (the active compound of turmeric which carries all the amazing benefits that we love;)). The latter is also a liposoluble substance (soluble in fats), combining it with a fatty substance allows optimal absorption.

Please note, however, during preparation, curcuminoids are dyes used for textiles. So wear adequate clothing because stains are very difficult to remove and cleaning products are often ineffective. If you use white utensils, don't worry, the bleach wipes away any traces of turmeric. But it gets complicated when it comes to delicate fabrics, believe my experience ...

 

Ginger :

This root has also become very popular in the past few years, but these benefits are not new. Its action on all body tissues gives it an essential place in phytotherapy and especially in Ayurvedic medicine.

It is known to be stimulant, regenerating, and purifying. Ginger can cure many ailments. Its action is particularly effective on ENT infections related to congestion or cold.

This root is also frequently used in case of digestive issues such as indigestion, nausea or vomiting. It helps relieve stomach aches, bloating and constipation.

Its heating action eliminates toxins and other undesirable substances, making it a slimming ally. But be careful, this is not a miracle cure, only a boost alongside a balanced diet and a regular physical activity.

Ginger is also a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to relieve joint and muscle pain. Its antioxidant content gives it a protective action against premature aging of cells, oxidative stress and therefore the development of cancer cells and cardiovascular diseases.

Now let's get to the point that you're all waiting for: is ginger really an aphrodisiac? No clinical studies support its facts to date, but its heating properties could be at the origin of this aphrodisiac effect that many people report. In addition, its vasodilatory properties facilitate the blood flow, necessary for an erection.

 

Honey :

This precious nectar is appreciated for its sweet taste but also for its nutritional composition. Indeed, it contains more than thirty mineral salts which can vary depending on its source and its harvesting method. In general, darker honey is denser and therefore richer in minerals.

We find in its composition various vitamins of group B which act as cofactors in more than a hundred actions in the human body.

Known to be a natural antibiotic, it helps fight the growth of bacteria in the body.

However, in order to maintain its benefits, honey should not be heated or cooked. Above 40°C, its nutritional qualities are altered and it produces toxic particles that ferment in the digestive tract. Honey also acts as a catalyst, that increases the assimilation and action of the substances with which it is consumed. We therefore have good reasons to add this ingredient in the preparation of Jamu. In addition, it will be an ally for palates sensitive to the pronounced taste of ginger and turmeric.

Be careful to select organic honey from an artisan beekeeper (and preferably a local one) in order to avoid various phytosanitary chemicals such as pesticides, antibiotics and heavy metals.

 

Lime : 

Lime is known for its richness in vitamin C which makes it a very good stimulant of the immune system. Natural antiseptic and antiviral, it is very effective in preventing and treating everyday minor ailments. It also allows better absorption of iron which participates in the proper functioning of the immune system.

Its antioxidant properties are used to preserve fruit juices and food preparations.

Lemon has diuretic and cleansing effects that stimulate kidney and bile production which help the body to filter and eliminate toxins better (Especially alcohol).

It also promotes good digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices, and thus allows better assimilation of nutrients.

Be careful, however, not to heat the lemon juice to more than 60°C so as not to alter its vitamin C content. It is therefore recommended to add it when the preparation is cooled in the same way as honey.

 

Tamarind pulp :

High in organic acids, it acts as a natural preservative.

This high-fiber puree is also used as a mild laxative and promotes regular transit. It also acts against intestinal parasites. According to Ayurvedic medicine, tamarind strengthens the stomach and improves digestion.

But its action does not stop at the digestive system since it is also consumed to keep the urinary system healthy and fight off germs like in UTI. 

 

Himalayan pink salt :

Himalayan pink salt is less concentrated in sodium than white salt. In addition, it contains more than 80 minerals.

Its presence in Jamu makes it a drink rich in electrolytes and allows better hydration and absorption of nutrients.

 

Black pepper and coconut oil : 

These are not common ingredients to the traditional classic recipe. However, I chose to integrate them to increase turmeric's bioavailability.

Recipe :

Prep time : 15 min

Cooking time : 20 min (cooling not included)

Serves : 5 glasses

Ingrédients :

200g of fresh turmeric

8inches of ginger root 

1l of water

1,5 tbsp of tamarins pulp (available in Asian markets) 

1,5 tbsp of raw honey (or more to taste) 

Juice of 1,5 lime  

1 pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or rock salt) 

1 tsp of coconut oil 

Directions :

Traditionally, plants should be cut and mixed with water to extract the juice from it through a cloth or filter made from banana leaves. Several steps are then necessary before obtaining the Jamu. But I chose to offer you a faster method that suits our busy schedules.

 

-Wash the roots (ginger and turmeric) to remove impurities. You can also use a brush to get rid of encrusted soil.

-In a blender, mix the turmeric, ginger and ½ cup of water until you get a liquid puree.

-Pour this mixture into a saucepan with the tamarind pulp and add the remaining water.

-Bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

-Allow the preparation to cool before adding the lime juice and honey.

-Filter the preparation and store it in a glass bottle in the fridge. 

-Consume quickly to keep the benefits.