When we were in Bali, a kind gentleman called Wayan offered to show us the traditional medicine of Bali. The next day we crossed a river on a wobbly wooden bridge to meet him and a lovely lady who showed us how to make Jamu. Indonesian Jamu is a traditional herbal medicine that helps you not get sick and treats you if are unwell. If I was sick in Bali I would take that medicine because it tastes so nice and it would help me a lot.
The ingredients are Turmeric or Kunyit (200g), Tamarind or Asam Jawa (1 finger), Lime (2), Water (500ml), Honey (20ml) and Salt (for taste).
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a small plant of the ginger family from South Asia. It needs warm temperatures and a lot of rain to grow. It has a lovely flower and lovely leaves but it is their underground bright yellow-orange roots called rhizomes that are used for cooking, making traditional medicine, dying fabrics and spiritual ceremonies (Turmeric is important in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies as yellow and orange are special colours to them).
Cooking with Turmeric
You can use Turmeric fresh like ginger or you can cook, dry and grind it and make it into a powder for cooking curries. You can also use Turmeric to make rice yellow.
Making medicine with Turmeric
You can use Turmeric if you have tummy aches or if your throat hurts or if you have a cold or a problem in your liver. You can also use it to cleanse wounds and to heal mosquito bites. It is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Colouring fabrics with Turmeric
In India, Turmeric is used to give saris and the robes of Buddhist monks a lovely orange colour. The fresh rhizomes are ground and mixed with water and then the fabric is bathed inside or you can paint the fabric with the dye.
Tamarind (Tamarindus Indica) is a very big tree from tropical Africa which has pod-like fruits but it also grows a lot in South Asia. The fruits have a fleshy juicy pulp covered by a hard brown shell and it has a sweet and sour taste. You can use the fruits for cooking, traditional medicine and to polish metal! (in homes and temples in Buddhist asian countries, the pulp is used to polish brass, copper and bronze statues, lamps and utensils).
Making Jamu Kunyit
My brother and I sat on a rattan mat. The lady took a bowl and then picked a turmeric and she scrapped it on a grater she had made from the stem of a snake fruit (salak) palm tree which is very spiky (you need to be careful because if you hold it tight you will hurt yourself).
She took some tamarind and mushed it in before squeezing the lime in the mix. she then poured water in the bowl and added some honey and salt to make it more tasty.
I tried it and it has a lovely sweet and salty taste. It was so nice to learn all the difference steps to make Jamu and everything that she used came from nature.
Love, Capucine x