Q&A: List of Important Questions about Jamu

clay pot to cook traditional medicine

There are many questions people ask about herbal medicines. We compile some important questions into one article. If you don’t find answers for your questions, then you should check FAQ Page.

Which is More Effective: Fresh Herbal or Dried Herbal?

Herbal medicines such as jamu have various forms. According to research done by Health of Ministry of Indonesia in 2010, at least there were three forms: liquid (55.16 percent of all jamu recipes in Indonesia), powder (43.99 percent); brewed herb (20.43 percent) and in modern forms such as capsule, pill and tablet (11.58 percent).

So, which is more effective to heal our diseases? Fresh herb or dried ones? According to a doctor as well as a herbalist from Jakarta, Anton Budiono, both fresh jamu or dried one were the same. The most important, he said, was the dosage. Dried or extracted jamu was more concentrated. However, drying process for certain medicinal plants are important since certain herbs only grow in certain seasons.

“For acute cases such as flu, it is better to drink jamu as brewed medicine. While for chronic cases, herbal medicine in forms like pill, tablet, or capsule are more preferred. Jamu in the form of syrup is easier to give to children,” he explained to Suara Karya Online.

What about safe methods to store jamu or herbal medicines?

Anton said that fresh jamu could be stored by wrapping it up tightly in closed container. It could be saved for one week.

Dried herbs was more durable, but heat effect; light; and oxygen were still affecting it. Aromatic herbs such as chamomile, or peppermint with active substance in essential oil could evaporate easily if they were exposed by oxygen and heat.

“It’s better to put them in closed glass jars, save in dark, dry and cold places. Avoid sunlight. If you save them correctly, dried herbs (from flowers and leaves) can hold up to two years,” he said.

Extract liquid was the more stable, but it could be corrupted because of heat, light and air (oxygen). If it was saved in closed container, it could hold up to three years or more.

Capsule and tablet were the most unstable ones because when they were made, there were some decomposition processes. They should be saved in dry, cold and dark places less than 3 months. Herbs in a form of oil, was very sensitive to heat. It was better to save them in refrigerator, they could hold up to 6 months.

How fast will jamu take effects?

According to Anton, it depended on jamu and our health condition or how bad the diseases were. For instance, for acute condition, bloating and nausea could be health by drinking ginger tea and the tea would take effect in 30 minutes to one hour. However, the story would be different for long-term medication. For instance to heal hormonal balance disorder such as menopause (by consuming black cochos) it could take at least 3 months for the natural remedy to take effect.

“Herbal such as jamu works by giving energy to body organ, gland and balances body conditions. Of course, it will take times to see any results,” he added.

Is it better to consume traditional medicine when stomach empties?

There was no specific rule, but herbal medicine that  has tonic nature (sweet taste and not stimulate stomach) could be drunk before eating to make the absorption maximum, moreover if it was expensive (for instance ginseng).

How long can we consume a jamu recipe?

Each recipe apparently has certain times span to remain effective, it depended on the disease and the recipe nature. For acute conditions such as diarrhea, and flu then the recipe could be drunk every 3-4 hours and we should stop to consume it when we feel better. While for chronic diseases such as acne, rheumatic, hypertension, cholesterol we should drink the natural remedies for long times.

Are there any cautions where we consume jamu?

We should be aware if after we consume any recipes we suffer nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and sweating. Stop to consume them and consult your herbalist or doctor. “You should take note what kind of herbal that you consumed and what kinds of medicines that you took,” he explained.

Apparently, certain herbal medicines couldn’t be taken together with conventional medicines.


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