What Is the Traditional Remedy Jamu?

Interest in This Centuries-Old Indonesian Tonic Grows
two mugs of Jamu, a traditional Indonesian tonix for immunity

Jamu means many things to the Indonesian population.

What is Jamu?

Indonesians have used this traditional herbal tonic for centuries, both to maintain health and to treat illness.

What is Jamu For?

The ingredients may vary. Here are some common ones.

  • Ginger

    Ginger detoxifies, improves circulation, and treats morning sickness.

  • Lemongrass

    This is for mental sharpness and to treat bleeding gums.

  • Tamarind

    This can be used to treat constipation.

  • Turmeric

    May easy menstrual cramps and detoxify, among many other uses.

Is Jamu Used Today?

It remains popular in the country even with the advent of conventional medicine. Bitter jamu tonics are traditionally made to order; customers drink them right away. 

Jamu and COVID-19

Why is Jamu Getting More Popular?

Since the first cases of COVID-19 appeared in Indonesia, cinnamon, lemongrass, red ginger, and turmeric—the basis of the classic jamu tonic—saw a spike in sales in Indonesian markets. Prices of the herbs and spices keep rising as people continue to hoard them, according to Channel News Asia. 

Is Jamu Effective Against COVID-19??

Dr. Hardhi Pranata, of the Indonesian Medical Doctor Association, said that while some herbs have antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects, it’s necessary to take them regularly for a period of months. Therefore, people shouldn’t rely on them to fend off COVID-19. “The effect is certainly not as good as consuming the spices or herbs every day throughout a period of time,” he told reporter Kiki Siregar.

Click to See Our Sources

“Indonesians turn to traditional remedies to fend off COVID-19,” Kiki Siregar, www.ChannelNewsAsia.com, 3/12/20

“Jamu: Indonesian traditional herbal medicine towards rational phytopharmacological use,” by Elfahmi et al., Journal of Herbal Medicine, 6/14

"Jamu power: Indonesia's cure-all elixir," by Sara Schonhardt, www.CNNTravel.com, 6/8/10


Nan Fornal

Nan Fornal has experience with fiction, nonfiction, and technical publications, working closely with book and magazine publishers from from first edit to final proofing. She has worked with Exeter Press, Boston magazine, and self-publishers alike.