Jamu And Women's Health


Nurliani Bermawie, Indonesian Spices and Medicinal Crops Research Institute (ISMECRI), Bogor, Indonesia


1st International Conference & Exhibition on Women's Health & Asian Traditional (WHAT) Medicine




Jamu, medicinal plants, traditional remedy, womenÂ’s health.


Jamu medicine includes use of complex mixtures of herbs which are part of a traditional healing system that has been practiced dating for centuries. Jamu originated in Java during the late 8th or early 9th century then spread to the whole Java Island, Bali and many neighboring islands over the course of time.  The art and knowledge of the uses of plants as medicines have been handed down orally from generation to generation.  Some plants still used in Jamu can be found depicted in reliefs on the walls of ancient temples in Java such as those found in Borobudur, Prambanan, Penataran, Sukuh, etc.  They includes Aegle marmelos, (L.) Correa, Antidesma bunius (L.) Sprengel, Borassus flabellifer L., Calophyllum inophyllum L., Datura metel L. and Syzygium cumini (L). Skeels.  Today Jamu is an important constituent of the national health care system and home remedies, also plays major role in the economy of the rural people.  Originally, the ingredients of Jamu are well pounded and mixed and steeped in hot water.  Today, the materials may be dried, and then boiled when required, to yield a decoction for use or may be preserved in powder form, after drying in oven, sun dried or in an iron pan.  The knowledge of Jamu has been kept by families in the form of hand written records.  It is estimated 1000-1300 medicinal plant species are used in the preparation of Jamu. The original manuscript on Javanese medicines is called “Serat kawruh bab jampi jampi Jawi” and written around 1831 was kept in the library of Surakarta Palace.  It contains 1166 prescriptions, 922 of which are Jamu preparations. Most Jamu medicines have long a history of traditional use and some have been tested empirically and shown to be effective.  However, Jamu are often not used as medicine for a given disease but to keep the body healthy, in a holistic approach.  Most of Jamu products nowadays are meant for maintaining women’s health.  From personal care products such as skin nutritients, skin cosmetics, hair care, Jamu to keep the body slim, maintain or improve women's reproductive function, such as Jamu for menstruation, Jamu to cleanse woman intimate organs, reduce secretion and for maintaining and hastening recovery of women's health after giving birth, and for menopause.  Jamu are not only used for curative but also for promotive,  preventive and rehabilitative purposes.  To give good results, it is often recommended to take Jamu regularly. Concerns on cultivation for sustainable development and continuous supply, standardization, safety and efficacy of Jamu  have increased in recent years.  To guarantee quality, safety and efficacy of Jamu, the National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NA-FDC)) have promoted GAP on production herbs and and GMP for manufacturing of Jamus, as well as pre-clinical and clinical testing.  As a result of an increase in scientific validation for safety and efficacy, Jamu have been accepted by medical doctors and this has  increased Jamu consumption significantly in the country over the last decades.  Jamu industries have grow rapidly in the last decades, from only around 165 manufacturers in 1980 to 1023 small to large scale manufacturers in year 2000.  The Jamu preparations have also changed from decoction to tablets, capsules, tinctures, syrups, caplets etc. MOH is providing assistance to Jamu manufacturers to ensure production of quality products.