What is Jamu?
Jamu is predominantly herbal medicine made from natural materials, such as parts of plants like the roots, bark, flowers, seeds, leaves and fruits. Apart form those, other non plant ingredients like honey, royal jelly and telur ayam kampung (eggs of free range chickens reared in villages) are often used to enhance its taste.
Originated from Indonesia, most prevalent in Java, where Mbok Jamu, the traditional kain kebaya-wearing young to middle-aged Javanese woman carrying bamboo basket filled with bottles of jamu on her back, travelling villages and towns alleys, offering her fares of traditional herbal medicine.
The history of Jamu dated back to the Mataram Kingdom era, some 1300 years ago. The stone mortar and pestle with long cylindrical stone mortar — the type commonly used in today's traditional jamu making, was discovered in Liyangan archaeological site on the slope of Mount Sundoro, Central Java. The site and relics are dated from Medang Mataram kingdom era circa 8th to 10th century, which suggest that the herbal medicine tradition of jamu already took its roots by then.
In today's world, Jamu is still taken as remedies especially by the Malays and Indonesians for its benefits in strengthening immunity, enhancing one's health, post natal care and beauty related purposes.
Among the key ingredients in Jamu are Kunyit or Kunyir (Turmeric) and ginger which are known for a long list of medicinal properties.