Tracing back Records of Jamu Nusantara in Javanese and Balinese Manuscripts

"Many jamu ingredients are recorded in ancient manuscripts. The methods of treatment and presentation are also documented in them and have been used by Indonesian ancestors. We can trace back of these treatments from such Javanese and Balinese manuscripts"

Published by : administrator  -  08/09/2021 14:06 WIB

3 Minutes read.

Lately, many people hunted jamu for an immune-boosting drink so that they are not susceptible to disease. Many people are starting to realize and believe that jamu can prevent and treat various types of diseases. Traces of this cultural heritage treatment can also be traced back to prehistoric times.

For thousands of years, humans have used various plants as medicine. This can be seen from historical relics in the form of stone tools they use to mix the herb materials. This relic is stored in the Jakarta National Museum. Some of the reliefs at Borobudur Temple are also provide evident that jamu has been used since the old eras.

Image source: kebudayaan.kemdikbud.go.id

The use of plants as medicine is also found in ancient manuscripts from the Hindu kingdom era to the Netherlands East Indies occupation eras. At the latest in the 17th century, the use of jamu began to be written in manuscripts and has become a hereditary tradition.

Jamu in Javanese Manuscripts

An example of literature on the use of jamu was written in the 18th century manuscript, Primbon Jampi Jawi during the reign of Hamengkubuwono II. This manuscript contains various properties of plants and their recipes for health treatment. The recipe is originally for beauty and fitness purposes for noble women.

In addition, it is also written in Serat Centhini which was written by order of the king of Surakarta (1820-1823), Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Anom Amengkunegara III. In Centhini manuscript, medicinal plants are used to maintain health, prevent disease, reduce pain, heal, and beautify oneself. This manuscript is completed with how to make and how to treat them.

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The Jamu tradition is also written in Serat Kaweruh which was compiled in 1831 by order of Pakubuwono V. This book contains 1,166 recipes, 922 of which are natural ingredients while 244 other recipes are notes on rajah (written magic charm) and jimat (talismans).

Jamu in Balinese Manuscripts

The literature on the use of jamu is written in Lontar Tutur (Tatwa), which contains teachings on the occult script or wijaksara, teachings on anatomy, physiology, philosophy of health and illness, pedewasaan to treat the sick, sesana balian, and examining patients.

In addition, it is also written in Usada Lontar which contains information on how to examine patients, diagnose, formulate drugs (pharmaceuticals), therapy, prognosis, ceremonies related to prevention, and treatment.

Image source: bali.idntimes.com

The tradition of jamu in Balinese culture is also written in Lontar Usada Taru Pramana which was written since the royal era. This manuscript describes medicinal ingredients derived from plants. In mythology, plants can talk and tell the benefits of themselves.

The National Library of Indonesia is a repository for ancient manuscripts about jamu from various tribes in Indonesia and has begun to be transliterated into Indonesian. Some of the manuscripts stored in the National Library contain a collection of prescription drugs and traditional treatment methods written in Dutch, Arabic, Javanese, and Balinese scripts.