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Jamu – An Ancient Indonesian Herbal Tradition

Jamu – an Ancient Indonesian Herbal Tradition

A CENTURIES OLD INDONESIAN TRADITION

JUARA is inspired by Indonesia’s Jamu herbal tradition and its holistic principles of prevention, balance and self-care. Dating back over 1000 years, Jamu uses medicinal plants to treat skin and health issues. Today, even with the prevalence of Western medicine, Jamu is still recognized as a medicinal practice, regulated by the Indonesian government with its own set of rules and standards regulated by the Indonesian government.

As a holistic therapy and unlike conventional Western medicine, Jamu attempts to strengthen the body’s immune system to maintain health and to prevent and counter disease, which requires Jamu to be in harmony with the body’s own functions and the environment. Self-care is central in this integrative philosophy, as Jamu works gradually and has to be consumed regularly as part of an overall mindful way of life that includes massage, meditation and prayer.

Typical Jamu ingredients are roots such as Turmeric, Ginger, Gallangal, spices including Cinnamon, Cloves, and Black Pepper, and a plethora of fruits such as Tamarind, Avocado, Banana, Dragon Fruit, etc. 

Evidence of Jamu therapy dates back as far as 722 AD, found on the relief at Borobudur Temple in Java, while books commissioned by the old Indonesian royal courts reveal the knowledge of medicinal plants and recipes.  The most famous book, “Kawruh Jampi Jawi” by the Surakarta Palace, was published in 1858 and contained 1734 herbal formulations! 

Recognizing the effect of Jamu on beauty, healers were commissioned several hundred years ago during the Mataram Sultanate, to create treatments not only for medicinal purposes, but also specifically for beauty.  Hence the same herbs, fruits and flowers applied in Jamu for their healing properties, were used to develop luxurious spa rituals one can still enjoy today throughout Indonesia.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF JAMU

Since as far back as 800 AD, Indonesian 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 skin healthy, prevented illness and detoxified for overall skin health and well being, 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 and rose petals, to spicy aromatics such as ginger and turmeric, applied onto the face and body to nourish and detoxify the skin.

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. Treatment begins with a relaxing massage and then is followed by a choice of body scrubs, body wraps, masks, and a fresh yogurt rub. It concludes with a warm milk or fresh flower bath, utilizing special ingredients to improve skin condition and tone.

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