The History of Jamu From the Early 1900s to the 21st Century

"After being extensively researched during the colonial period up to independence, jamu faced a new phase after the war. The Indonesian Doctors Association began to pay attention to jamu and several communities of entrepreneurs and jamu researchers emerged from Indonesia "

Published by : Farida  -  11/03/2022 15:00 WIB

3 Minutes read.

The history of jamu, its development and changes, is interesting to discuss. Particularly if the time span of the discussion is more than 100 years. There have been many changes related to jamu during this period. As a continuation of the previous article on the history of jamu, this time we will discuss the condition of jamu in Indonesia from the 1900s to the present. The data in this article is still quoted from the journal Jamu, Obat Tradisional Asli Indonesia Pasang Surut Pemanfaatanya di Indonesia oleh Ernie H. Purwaningsih, Departemen Farmasi Fakultas Kedokteran Universitas Indonesia (FKUI), 2011 (Jamu, Traditional Indonesian Traditional Medicine Up and Down Its Use in Indonesia, by Ernie H. Purwaningsih, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia (FKUI), 2011),and  of course with additional research results from the Jamupedia editorial team.

In the early 1900s the use of jamu decreased quite drastically because of the new discovery about bacteria by Louis Pasteur. In addition, the discovery of X-rays also contributed to the abandonment of jamu. However, in Indonesia, jamu entrepreneurs emerged, some of which later became multi-national jamu factories. These factories included Jamoe Iboe (1910), Nyonya Meneer (1919), Jamu Jago (1918), and Sido Muncul (1940).

Entering 1930, post-war conditions made the world unstable. One of the effects is the high price of drugs. Therefore, dr. Abdul Rashid and dr. Seno Sastroamijoyo recommends the use of jamu as a preventive measure. In 1939, the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI, Ikatan Dokter Indonesia) showed interest in jamu by holding a conference. In the conference, two traditional healers were invited, who then practiced healing using jamu in front of the conference doctors. Still in 1939, in the city of Solo, Central Java, the I jamu conference was held, which was also attended by doctors.

Source: https://tirto.id/

Almost 30 years later, the City of Solo again hosted the Second Herbal Medicine Conference in 1966. The conference aimed to re-promote jamu after it seemed as if it’s uses had sunken, due to the effects of war and the socio-economic crisis, especially on the island of Java.

In 1978, herbal medicine researchers founded the Association of Indonesian Natural Ingredients Experts (HIPBOA, Himpunan Ahli Bahan Alami Indonesia). Its members are mostly pharmacists and a few doctors. One of the doctors who co-founded HIPBOA was dr. Sardjono Oerip Santoso. Two years after its establishment, HIPBOA finally changed its name to the Association of Natural Materials Researchers (PERHIPBA, Perhimpunan Peneliti Bahan Alam).

With the development of jamu factories and the emergence of jamu entrepreneurs, the government issued regulations to protect consumers. In 1990, the Minister of Health Regulation No. 246/MENKES/PER/V/1990 was signed. This regulates business licenses for the jamu industry and registration of jamu. Then there is the Decree of the Minister of Health No. 584/MENKES/SK/VI/1995 concerning the Center for Development and Application of Traditional Medicine (SP3T, Sentra Pengembangan dan Penerapan Pengobatan Tradisional).

21st Century Era

The progress of the times brings fresh air for jamu, although that does not mean without obstacles. Entering the 2000s, there were more and more seminars and conferences promoting the benefits of jamu. In 2007 several ministries compiled a road map on jamu or traditional Indonesian medicine. Under the coordination of the Ministry of Economy and Industry, a national event for the Hari Kebangkitan Jamu (Awakening of Jamu Day) was finally established. On 28 May 2008, the Hari Kebangkitan Jamu was inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

As jamu is on the spotlight, several government regulations have emerged to support the use of jamu in the medical realm. One of them is the Decree of the Minister of Health no. 121 of 2008, concerning the standard of herbal medical services. Then Law No. 36 of 2009 concerning health. Article 48 of the Law states that traditional health services are included in 17 health efforts.

The government’s efforts are also supported by IDI, which started to establish the Traditional Medicine Study Division in 2009. To give herbal consumers a sense of security, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency of BPOM is also gradually issuing rules for classifying traditional medicines that are fit for circulation.

Entering 2018 until now, jamu is getting closer to the community and reaches more age ranges. One of the reasons is because of the emergence of various innovations in jamu. Cafes with contemporary jamu menus are increasingly attracting the younger generation. In addition, technological developments also help make the distribution of jamu easier.