Wedang Uwuh, A Drink Rich in Benefits That Was Created by Accident"Wedang uwuh is one of the most popular and widely sold traditional drinks. But, who would have thought that the origin story of wedang uwuh was an accidental invention story"
Published by : Farida - 28/09/2022 14:34 WIB
3 Minutes read.
Who hasn’t tried wedang uwuh? Wedang uwuh is a quite popular traditional drink. From traditional markets to modern markets, or from angkringans to modern cafes, all sell wedang uwuh. In Javanese, wedang means warm drink, while uwuh means plant litter.
Wedang uwuh is a warm drink made from a mixture of various dried herbs and served without being filtered. As a result, it had the look and consistency of plant litters soaked in water, that’s the reason wedang uwuh gets the nickname.
Origin of Wedang Uwuh
Wedang uwung is arguably easier to find in Yogyakarta and Solo areas than other areas. In fact, wedang uwuh comes from Imogiri, Bantul, Yogyakarta Special Region (DIY, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta).
Reported from the Warisan Budaya Kemdikbud (Ministry of Education and Culture’s Cultural Heritage) page, there are actually several opinions regarding the origin of wedang uwuh. One of them, as revealed by the courtiers of the Imogiri Tomb, was that the wedang uwuh recipe was actually discovered by accident.
The story begins in the 1630s. At that time Sultan Agung ruled Mataram. He traveled to find the burial site of the royal family. The journey stopped in the Imogiri area. The location is considered suitable as the location of the tomb. Therefore, Sultan Agung decided to spend the night and meditate in that place.
One night, Sultan Agung asked his servant to make a warm drink. In fact, the king’s servant made a cup of wedang secang (secang drink). That night the wind was blowing hard, so the cup of wedang accidentally mixed with the dry leaves flown by the wind and fell into the cup.
Unexpectedly, Sultan Agung liked the drink and on another day asked to have the same drink. The servants then looked and ascertained what leaves were in the cup.
Usually, wedang uwuh consists of cinnamon, clove leaves and stems, ginger, rock sugar, sappanwood, lemongrass leaves and roots, cardamom and nutmeg. All herbal ingredients are used dry and unfiltered.
According to another story, as quoted from the Kompas.com page citing the book Minuman Tradisional Penguat Kekebalan Tubuh (Traditional Immune Strengthening Drinks) by Endang S. Sunaryo, the origin of wedang uwuh was not intentional, but not because of the wind. Endang wrote that the dry leaves were taken from a tree planted by Sultan Agung in Imogiri after successfully attacking the VOC in Batavia in 1628.
Still quoted from kompas.com, the book Kuliner Yogyakarta – Pantas Dikenang Sepanjang Masa (Culinary Yogyakarta – Worth Remembering Throughout Time), by Murdjiati Gardjito, et al, revealed that the name wedang uwuh was obtained from the dried clove leaves that fell on the burial ground. The fallen dried leaves are then swept and collected like plant litter, before being cleaned and made into drinks.
Previously, wedang uwuh was only available in the royal family’s burial area in Imogiri. The pilgrims are treated to wedang uwuh and believe the warm drink can relieve fatigue.
Along with the times, now wedang uwuh has spread everywhere. Wedang uwuh can be easily found in various cities and is one of the most popular traditional drinks.
Benefits of Wedang Uwuh
Wedang uwuh dipercaya memiliki segudang manfaat. Laman Warisan Budaya Kemdikbud menyebut wedang uwuh mampu menghangatkan tubuh, menghilangkan rasa pegal, sebagai antioksidan, mengobati masuk angin, memperlancar peredaran darah, dan lain-lain.
Wedang uwuh is believed to have a myriad of benefits. Warisan Budaya Kemdikbud page mentions that wedang uwuh is able to warm the body, relieve aches, as an antioxidant, treat colds, improve blood circulation, and others.