These Are the Reasons Why the Dutch colonizers Loved & Researched Jamu from Indonesia

"The inadequate knowledge about chemical drugs and the long distance between the Netherlands and Indonesia often made the medicines brought damaged and lost their efficacy. At times like that, jamu is often the only a way out"

Published by : administrator  -  25/11/2021 12:00 WIB

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Jamu has existed in the life of the Indonesian people since ancient times. Various evidence of artifacts and stories passed down to become real evidence. Therefore, it is not impossible that in the Dutch colonial era, jamu was already there and even became the attention of Dutch scientists.

Research on herbal medicine or traditional medicine began to be encouraged because the Dutch colonial government experienced difficulties regarding the supply of chemical drugs. Initially all medicines were shipped from the Netherlands. The long distance makes the trip take a long time so that many medicines expire. Not only that, because there is no more modern packaging technology, medicines are often damaged when they arrive at their destination. Even worse, the drug loses its efficacy.

Sumber: historia.id

Quoted from the nationalgeographic.grid.id page, according to historian Fadly Rahman, in addition to the reasons mentioned above, the many medical findings about the efficacy of jamu made Dutch colonial scientists more interested. In fact, various colonial government regulations emerged to cultivate medicinal plants in colonized countries, one of which was in the Dutch East Indies.

As reported on the historia.id page, citing the book Healers on the Colonial Market by Liesbeth Hesselink, research related to jamu, traditional medicine, or herbs has greatly benefited the Netherlands both practically and scientifically. To maximize it, an order was issued that health workers should examine traditional medicine and the abilities of the dukun (traditional healers). The order was contained in Article 53 of the Staatsblad Number 68 of 1827. From this regulation, detailed reports were created from each unit in the colonial era.

Sumber: historia.id

One of the Dutch colonial scientists who researched herbal medicine in Indonesia was Jacobus Bontius. According to Fadly’s statement, Jacobus used jamu to treat the Governor General of the VOC, Jan Pieterszoon Coen.

Jacobus’ research was published in a series of four books entitled De medicina Indorum. All published after Jacobus died. Jacobus is credited with being the first to describe beriberi medically. He also researched the dysentery epidemic on the island of Java in 1628. He was among the first to research a branch of medical science in the tropics.

Apart from Jacobus, there are other names who also researched herbal medicine in the Dutch colonial era. One of them is Freidrich August Carl Waitz. Still quoted from historia.id, Friedrich is a doctor who proves the efficacy of the jamu daun sirih (betel leaf herbal medicine). The results of his research prove that betel leaf contains narcotic agents that function to treat chronic coughs. In addition, he also tested the efficacy of boiled water from kayu sintok (sintok bark, Cinnamomum sintoc BL) as a remedy for digestive problems.

Another proof of the colonial government’s seriousness in researching jamu was the establishment of The Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences in 1778. The institute focused on jamu research and also held seminars related to jamu. The Dutch colonial government built the Bogor Botanical Gardens because it was intended as a place of research. In places looking for plants that could benefit the Dutch economy and researching medicinal plants.

Since research has been continuously promoted by the Dutch Colonial Government, more and more Dutch scientists, doctors, and scholars have conducted research on Indonesian jamu. The communication network is capable and structured to make a jamu recipe that has been researched its efficacy can be immediately spread among the Dutch. Since then, jamu has been routinely used to treat Dutch ailments. Even over time, jamu was also consumed regularly by the Dutch at that time.