Ancient Text Reveals Beauty Secrets of Balinese Women

There is a mythology in Hinduism that tells the secret of Goddess Saci to make God Indra keep loving her. God Indra is the king of heavens in Hinduism. The secret is named Aji Dyah Indah Suksma, contains recipes for facial and body treatments. This ancient secret was written in ancient text called Lontar Tattwa.

This ancient text is passed down from generation to generation in Bali for hundred years. It was written on lontar leaves (palmyra leaves). If the leaves are intact, then they are called cakep lontar. They are perfectly kept at Perpustakaan Pusat Kajian Lontar (Library of Lontar Study Center) at Department of Cultural Study, University Udayana, Bali.

The Lontar Tattwa that teaches about the beauty secret of Balinese women is called Idrani Sastra. It contains various traditional beauty treatments for Balinese women, among others how they can keep feeling as if they are virgins.

These traditional beauty secrets are available in three forms: cream, powder and oil. “The cream is made from inggu [Ruta angustifolia L Pers], pepper, kepundung putih bark [Baccaurea racemosa], sidowayah [Woodfordia floribunda Salisb], panggal buaya [Zanthonylum nhetsa (Roxb.)], then they were mixed with banana blossom. Mix and roast them and puree them until become powder. Then, add sesame oil. There are also recipes that use red lotus flower and goat milk,” Putu Widhi Kurniawan, text translator Unud Library to Tribun Bali (3/29).

The oil is made from inggu, prihanggu, siamaka, watutwan, rodra, jirek, sri wistam, sidowayah flower, maduka, cinnamon, tripala, ginger, nutmeg, kamaloko, termelia arjuna (arjuna tree), dewandaru, adumbara, ara, madu, tunas dalima, cempaka and panggal buaya.

“All of these ingredients are fried with oil. To use it, you only need to apply or drink the oil,” he said.

To make the powder, they use guava bark, roots of karuk tree, salt and sesame oil. They are mashed together and added honey and panggal buaya. According to the ancient text, all the traditional recipes are made from local plants that can be found in Bali. You can make lulur (body scrub), powder, ointment, shampoo and etc to treat various parts of human body.

As a part of culture heritage, these recipes are important. But, to make them, there is difficulty. “Ingredients of the recipes on this lontar are rare and difficult to find. However, there are some individuals and herbal plant practitioners are trying to find alternatives,” he added.

Some national cosmetic producers in Indonesia have been using these recipes as well. “They have read it and apply the recipes. There were Martha Tilaar, Sari Ayu and etc, they have been using these recipes. Some massages and spa therapies in Bali also have been using them. They are using these herbal concoctions, no longer use lotion,” he explained.

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