jamu herbal remedies -- indonesia's herbal heritage

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Discover Jamu Herbal Remedies, the secret world of Indonesian medicinal culture, which purports to be able to cure any illness and disease in this world.

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Jamu Indonesias Herbal HeritageAsk any one of Indonesias 200 million inhabitants what they would do if they found themselves suffering from fatigue or common cough. The answer will invariably be, Take some Jamu! For the uninitiated, Jamu is Indonesias unique medicinal culture. Like many of East Asias traditional medicinal traditions, Indonesian Jamu is based on the mixture and manipulation of various herbs to bring about balance and healing in the human body. Many proponents of natural healing hold steadfast to the belief that Mother Earth contains all the necessary ingredients to cure any disease that can beset the human body. With precise knowledge of herbology, there is practically no need for Western pharmaceutical medicine. Jamu best exemplifies this statement, as there exists a Jamu herbal remedy for just about any illness and ailment you can think of.

Brief History of JamuThe exact origin of Jamu is shrouded in mystery. Local evidence seems to point to the fact that Jamu was in existence during the time of the Mataram Kingdom (not to be confused with the later Mataram Sultanate) some 1300 years ago. Legends tell of how palace ladies would painstakingly prepare herbal formulas and consume them regularly, so as to remain ever-youthful and alluring to their husbands and lovers. Herbal cosmetics too were being used by these palace ladies to augment their beauty. These practices no doubt subscribed to the traditional Javanese ideal of "Ngadi Sarira" which dictates that: it is of paramount importance for all women to maintain their bodies in and keep it in perfect condition. There are numerous other examples of Jamu recorded in Indonesias history. A stone inscription dated to the reign of Prasasti Madhawapura in the Majapahit era (1292-1478AD) makes special mention of a gifted Jamu herbal medicine healer named Acaraki who created numerous miracle herbal remedies.

Stone reliefs in the temples of Borobudur, Central Java, dated to the 9th century, also depict scenes of Jamu preparation.

Despite all this, detailed knowledge of Jamu was largely confined within the walls of the Kratons (royal palaces) of Java. It was accessible only to the aristocracy and a select few. It was only in 1910, when Tan Swan Nio and Siem Tjiang Nio started a company in Surabaya to manufacture Jamu products commercially, that Jamu finally became accessible to the masses. Today, their company PT Jamu Iboe Jaya is one of the biggest manufacturers of Jamu in Indonesia.

In 1940, the first seminar dedicated to the subject of Jamu was held in Solo, Central Java. This was followed in 1944 by the formation of Indonesia's first Jamu Committee. Since then, many symposiums and books have been written on this extensive subject.

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