Ethnomedicine in Serat Centhini & Its Uses in the Modern Era"Quoting from the book ‘Serial The Power of Obat Asli Indonesia Ramuan Obat Tradisional Indonesia Serat Centhini, Buku Jampi dan Kitab Tibb’ published by the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) of the Republic of Indonesia, ethnomedicine in Serat Centhini is important for starting medicinal plant research."
Published by : Farida - 28/09/2022 13:26 WIB
3 Minutes read.
The Covid pandemic made some people pay more attention to traditional medicine methods. This has caused the term ethnomedicine to be discussed again. According to the perpusnas.go.id page, ethnomedicine is a branch of medical anthropology that discusses the origin, causes, and medicines for certain diseases according to the habits and policies of certain community groups.
Did you know that Serat Centhini discusses many things about ethnomedicine in ancient Javanese society? Serat Centhini is a phenomenal and encyclopedia-like literary work that contains almost all aspects of people’s life on the island of Java. Compiled from 1814 to 1823, Serat Centhini captures everything from people’s habits, culture, religion, mysticism, food, drink, to medicine.
Citing the article entitled ‘Menyimak Pesan Etnomedisin dalam Serat Centhini’ (Examining the Message of Ethnomedicine in Serat Centhini) by Dewi Ayu Larasati, a lecturer at the University of North Sumatra, which was published on the harianbhirawa.co.id, it was revealed that ancient people taught and practiced how to maintain their health and the environment by using natural materials that exist in the surrounding environment.
Dewi summarized, written in Serat Centhini, one of ways to maintain health in accordance with local wisdom is to eat nutritious local specialties. Implicitly, Serat Centhini gives an appeal that we don’t need to import food from foreign lands, because all the food ingredients needed to maintain health can grow and are found on Indonesian soil.
A snippet of stories about traditional specialties can be found in Volume I Tembang Pangkur, page 221. The story tells of Jayengsari and Niken Rancangkapti’s journey towards the foot of the Tengger Mountains. In a village called Tosari, both of them were greeted by a village elder named Ki Buyut Sudarga. While staying in the village, the two of them were entertained with an abundance of delicious treats, all of which were gotten from the land around the village.
Regarding ethnomedicine in Serat Centhini, more is discussed in Volume III where various traditional herbs are explained to treat various diseases. Some of the examples that Dewi summarizes in her article are the ingredients for hot and cold which consist of four kinds, namely sirih ketemu ruas (betel with its segments met together in a certain point of the leaves), bengle (bonglai, Zingiber montanum), dlingo (Sweet flag, Acorus calamus), daun beringin (banyan leaves), and temu ireng (pink and blue ginger, Curcuma aeruginosa Roxb).
Then there are also ingredients for cough medicine that use temu kunci (finger root, Boesenbergia pandurate), asam kawak (dried ripe tamarind), then mixed with coconut oil. Especially in the explanation of this cough medicine, it is added with a suggestion to read a prayer before taking the medicine.
Quoting from the book ‘Serial The Power of Obat Asli Indonesia Ramuan Obat Tradisional Indonesia Serat Centhini, Buku Jampi dan Kitab Tibb’ (The Power of Original Indonesian Medicine Series, Traditional Indonesian Medicinal Herbs, Serat Centhini, Jampi Book and the Book of Tibb) published by the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) of the Republic of Indonesia, ethnomedicine in Serat Centhini is important for starting medicinal plant research.
Through research, data on claims regarding the efficacy of drugs can continue to be added, then it can also be known better production methods so as to create standards for medicines with raw materials from nature.
Is the ethnomedicine at Serat Centhini still relevant today?
Although not all traditional medicines have a scientific basis regarding their efficacy, these medicines with plant raw materials are still being used by the community until now.
One of the best known is jamu. This proves that the ethnomedicine in Serat Centhini is still relevant today. Spices such as ginger, turmeric, and tamarind are still used as medicine from the past until now.
The call at Serat Centhini about using natural ingredients from the surrounding environment is also still being applied today, especially in areas known as sentra jamu (jamu centers) or kampung jamu (jamu villages).