How Indonesia’s Jamu Wellness Tradition Can Help You Embrace Joy


Over the years, as people discovered her line, Murdaya found that one question kept coming up: How can products that feel so good actually be effective? “People were like, ‘Your business is nice, but is it working? “I can’t feel my face tingle so is he really doing the right thing?” And I was like, “Whoa, what’s going on with this no pain, no gain in skin care philosophy. One of the fundamental principles of jamu is that it is meant to be enjoyed. As holistic approaches to wellness and beauty are more widely practiced today, Murdaya felt that more light could be shed on the Indonesian practices she grew up with, which are based on the belief that you can yourself. feel and look your best without discomfort. As such, she last month published Jamu Lifestyle, an informative guide featuring a collection of easy-to-follow ingredient and recipe profiles that aim to restore body and soul.

Jamu Lifestyle: Indonesian herbal wellness tradition

One of the main things to remember is that there is no right way to do jamu – in fact, there isn’t even a singular version of the tradition, there are many, maybe. be thousands. “Each island in Indonesia may have a slight variation on the jamu as it is based on the flora and fauna that are native to it,” she explains. “For example, in Bali, jamu tonics contain more fresh leaves because they are more abundant there, while those from Java, which are the most popular that most people know now, contain more spices like turmeric and ginger. them. “

It is only a fragment of the knowledge that Murdaya brings to homes through her writing. But she makes it very clear that this book isn’t meant to be the whole and the end, nor does she want it to be judgmental. “It’s not meant to be a history book, it’s not meant to be a textbook,” says Murdaya. “It’s supposed to be a relaxing and calming experience that is easy to apply in your own life. It’s broken down so that if you’re in a place that doesn’t have all of those exotic ingredients, or if you just don’t have the time, there are some super simple things you can grab – sugar, sugar, sugar. yogurt – and bring in your shower. “

Below, Murdaya shares a few more takeaways on a tradition that has helped her heal and, hopefully, will inspire others to treat herself a little more nicely.

Intention is the key

Traditionally, the Jamu is not something to go away. If you go to the healer, it’s not some random person selling you medicine and saying, “Thank you, goodbye.” He is someone in the community who has a positive intention to make you feel better. All this heart and intentionality linked to community is an integral part of the work and the tradition.

Joy is essential

Traditions are usually only passed on if they work, but another important part of jamu is that we try to make it enjoyable. This is why you will see the same ingredient, like turmeric, in a drink that is good for your stomach, but also in princess type spa rituals that make your skin glow and truly beautiful. There is a whole element of fun, which makes it different from many other indigenous traditions.

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Ingredients will take you far

One of the simple ingredients that we use is rice or rice starch. The women would pick the rice in the fields and take the water they used to wash the grains and splash it on their faces. They found it to cool and make their skin smooth and luminous. There was no concept of benefits back then, it was just the practice because everyone was like, “It feels good and it works. Rice is also used in Beras Kencur, which is a mixture of rice, grains, and ginger, and when you drink it, it actually stimulates the appetite. At first you might think that’s the opposite of what we want here, but the reasoning behind it is that if you have an appetite, you’ll eat and have energy, so it’s ultimately good for you. And then the rice can easily be incorporated into a skin softening facial cleanser or face mask using a little rose water. And because rice starch isn’t as drying as clay, it’s a bit gentler on sensitive skin.

Photo: Courtesy of Metta Murdaya / @mmurdaya

Creativity is encouraged

You can play with the replacements! For example, if you have oily skin, you can take a slice of lime or lemon to quickly rub your skin. If you have sensitive skin and want to soften the acidity, you can add a little honey. Even with rice starch, instead of adding water, maybe try adding green tea to it. A lot of people come up with their own face masks because they have ingredients like fresh strawberries in the house and have found it refreshing. So there is definitely flexibility in terms of playing and adding certain things.

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