Indonesian Inner Beauty Secret: Jamu

Recently I found a recipe for Indonesian ‘Jamu’ in a well-known Dutch magazin. It was also called ‘An Indonesian healthy drink’. And I had my reservations for a moment. The recept calls for a lot of turmeric roots, also called ‘kunjit’ in Indonesian. And as a third generation Indo living in the Netherlands, I was amazed that there was no warning here.

“Beware there is kunjit in this dish, watch your clothes!”, my mother would yell. “Put on something else. If it’s in your clothes, it’s hard to get out! Put a bib over your sweater!”

You have to understand how careful I am when it comes to kunjit. Seriously, the other day I was cooking with kunjit and my pan was yellow for days.

But enough about kunjit. This article is about Jamu. I often drank Jamu in beauty salons in Indonesia. The herbal drink gives your body an inner boost, so that you look healthier. Because according to Indonesians, beauty comes within. Now I would like to share my own Jamu drink recipe with you guys, but honestly I can’t remember having this at home.

It may well be that my grandmother often poured this for me, without telling what it was, like she often did with Indonesian things. Anyway, Jamu has many benefits for your body and is also called the Indonesian beauty secret. This herbal drink is therefor great to add to your skincare routine. Read on and find out more about it!

What is Jamu?

Jamu exists for more than thousand years
teguhjatipras via Getty Images

1200 years ago, the Indonesian royalty asked their healers to create treatments for spa and beauty. Previously the treatments were mainly created for medical purposes. The healers began to develop treatments that would keep the body young and healthy. For this they used herbs and botanicals from the Indonesian rainforest. And eventually recipes were created that keep your skin healthy, prevent illness, give you an overall detox, and treat all kind of ailments.

The recipes were not publicly known. They stayed in families and were well preserved for years. Until 1940, under pressure from the government and doctors, the healers had to share their secrets. This way the Jamu could be scientifically researched. What came out of the studies were quite surprising. The herbal blends proved to be very effective for the skin and body!

Today, Jamu is the traditional Indonesian way of health and beauty treatments. It consists of herbs, lotions, pills, powders, ointments and cosmetics. Indonesians believe that any illness can be treated with Jamu. Because if your body is healthy from within, you radiate from the outside.

5 Jamu herbs and their benefits

Sahril via Getty Images

Hundreds of herbs are used within Jamu. But these 5 herbs are most often used for beauty and medical purposes:

1. Turmeric

Let’s start with Kunjit, because I started this post with this herb. Turmeric contains a lot of antioxidants. It’s also anti-inflammatory, helps to prevent cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer and can improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

2. Ginger

Ginger aids your digestion and therefor great for weight loss. It also relieves morning sickness, nausea, cold and the flu. It maintains blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol.

3. Nutmeg

Nutmeg lets you sleep healthier. It reduces inflammation on the skin, including acne. Besides, it helps with against Alzheimer and dementia, it gives you a detox and relieves kidney stones.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also reduces cholesterol levels, blood pressure, heart diseases, lowers blood sugar levels and has anti-diabetic effects.

5. Tamarind

Tamarind treats hair loss and reduces blood sugar levels. It contains many vitamins and minerals and is anti-inflammatory.

Make your own Jamu drink

There are many Jamu recipes that contribute your health. Yet it is difficult to find all the ingredients in European stores. So I have not an authentic Indonesian recipe, because it also contains olive oil. But the ingredients of this recipe are easy to obtain in Europe. It’s easy to make and besides being tasty, it’s also very healthy!

Front Photo by Alif F Nurhanda on Unsplash

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