The Healing Indonesian Tonic You May Not Have Heard Of — But Might Want To Try This Fall
Jamu is the herbal-medicine tradition of the Indonesian archipelago, our cornerstone of healing and healthy living. Emerging from a millennium of experience using this tropical land's abundant botanicals for healing, and enriched with knowledge from throughout the globe, jamu is a story of community, wellness, and self-care.
The term "jamu" specifically refers to natural herbal tonics that people take to maintain good health, prevent illness, and treat ailments. Most Indonesians believe that one should drink jamu daily to stay healthy. And if illness does strike, healers can draw on generations of knowledge and experience to fashion jamu recipes that alleviate symptoms and help the body to fight overall unwellness.
But the idea of jamu encompasses more than healing potions. The jamu tradition states that robust good health is best achieved and maintained by addressing a person's needs as a whole. This includes what you put in yourself, what you put on yourself, how you listen to yourself, and how you seek support and comfort through close connection to a larger community.
Hundreds of jamu brands, each with a distinct blend of active ingredients and flavoring agents, reflect the cultural diversity of the Indonesian archipelago. Below, you'll find the recipe for this well-being jamu:
Kunir Asem (The Classic)
Makes 2 servings
- Blend the turmeric, tamarind, and water (and ginger, if using). You can experiment with the amount of water, depending on how strong you want it.
- Stir until fully mixed and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes.
- Strain the jamu liquid from the pulp and pour liquid into glasses.
- Add sweetener.
- Add lime and salt to add a little savory flavor, which cuts the tangy, sweet, and grassy flavor.
- Serve warm or chilled
Excerpted with permission from JAMU LIFESTYLE: THE INDONESIAN HERBAL WELLNESS TRADITION by Metta Murdaya
Metta Murdaya is the founder of JUARA, an award-winning skincare & wellness line inspired by the Indonesian jamu tradition. Her products have received the Eco Beauty Award by Byrdie Magazine and Best Product Awards by Shape Magazine, Women’s Health, Cleo, and more. She has also been featured in Globe Asia as one of the “99 Most Powerful Women,” and has received a “Shine On” award by Good Housekeeping Magazine. Born in Indonesia, Murdaya grew up in San Francisco, going back and forth each year from the age of 6.
Metta is passionate about wellness, education, and personal growth, and believes in taking action in causes she feels strongly about. She actively serves on the board of several organizations committed to empowering others: Solve Education, a education technology company that helps out-of-school children access learning, SEALA (Southeast Asian Leadership Academy,) a purpose-centric leadership development program, and Mentari USA, an organization that helps human trafficking survivors actively reintegrate into society.
She continues her bi-global life today between New York and Jakarta, enjoying connecting with people over herbal concoctions and a good cup of pour-over coffee. Learn more about Metta and her jamu inspired company at www.juaraskincare.com.