Is Traditional Medicine Safe for Kids?

traditional jamu-indonesian traditional medicine

Apparently, there are mothers who rely on natural medicines or herb medicines to cure their children’s sicknesses, especially light diseases such as cough, flu, fever or catch a cold.

Traditional medicines are made based on experiences and they are passed down from generation to another generation. So, some remedies have been proven clinically, but some haven’t been proven. Of course they are different with modern medicines that have been proven clinically.

According to Dra. Katrin Basyah, MS, a lecturer of Pharmacy Department, University of Indonesia, although traditional medicines are natural, but there are several things that we should consider when we want to give them to our children.

“It’s because there are no clear dosage and rules of use like modern medicine, it is better to use them just as our ancestor used them before. For instance, if the recipe says that we should use one finger of union, then we should use one finger of union. Do not use more than one finger,” Katrin said as quoted from

Or, you can rely on your intuition. For example, for baby, you can use one finger of union to be applied on his body. While for bigger kids, you can add two fingers of unions. We can also use this logic on drunken medicine. For instance, a half or one finger of turmeric or ginger on a concoction is already enough for children.

Elyda, a mom of two kids confessed that she used to relying on her intuition when she gave her children traditional medicine, “I’m used to giving them a concoction made from aromatic ginger juice, plus honey to cure their cough. For my three years old daughter, I give her only a half finger of aromatic ginger. While, for her older brother who is 5, I give one finger of aromatic ginger. I give the drink twice a day for each of them.”

Not only about dosage and rules of use, safety factor of the traditional medicines also depend on how we make them. “The most important thing to remember is about hygiene when you are making any traditional medicines,” Katrin said. For example, it is better to wash plants or tuber with boiled water to make them clean. And, don’t forget to make sure that tools to make traditional medicines, such as pan and strainer are clean as well. Doing these, we can prevent dirt and contamination.

So, it is safe and healthy to use traditional medicine for kids, as long as you use them wisely.


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