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Mbok Jamu "SIDO MUNCUL"Jamu Gendong - Indonesian traditional herbs
Jamu Gendong is Indonesian traditional herbs which’s sold by a Mbok Jamu (Jamu seller) by door to door. It is very famous in almost entire parts of Indonesia, particularly among Javanese. As well as in Suriname or other places where Javanese live. Jamu Gendong has a very long history, as long as Javanese themselves.
The history had begun when Mataram Kingdom was still established. In turn, the kingdom, was separated into two smaller kingdoms, Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat (Jogjakarta) and Surakarta Hadiningrat (Solo). At the time, around the 18th century, medical and health care services hadn’t reached into remote villages. Kingdom’s owned health centre was located in the capitals, Solo and Jogja. While Modern medical and health services held by Netherlands-Indies government were also in the capital.
This was a specific problem for villagers, particularly who living in remote areas. So that, they had an attempt to overcome their health problems by many ways, and developed surroundings. Villagers then came to what we called orang pintar, wiku or dukun / shootsayer (may similar to shaman). Those traditional curers mostly used herbal medicine (jamu) for relieve, some of them use mantras or spiritual manners and some more use both of them.
Orang pintar was the first who create jamu taken from medicine plants. They made it based on apocalypses, as well as their knowledge or instinct on botany. Though the soothsayer was very important for villagers, people who live far from the orang pintar had got problems to go there, if they’re sick. Based on the problem, then, it was developed a distribution system for delivering jamu door to door.
The first distributor was a man recruited by the healer or dukun to deliver jamu in accordance to consumer’s requests. The system used barter system, the consumers paid the jamu by consumer goods or foods, it was so advantageous either for consumers or the dukun himself. The system then developed en masse and distributed widely. The male jamu distributor brought it by shouldering, while the female one by carrying on the back. From the way it was called jamu gendong.
Afterwards, the distributing jamu was replaced by women, for the men were needed on the ricefield. At the time, they only sold jamu for women, particularly for maternal usages. And the seller took the jamu from dukun bayi’ (midwife) s ingredients. In turn, the system was very advantageous, so that many women developed their own jamu materials, even sold it independently.
The dukun bayi’s recipes were scattered mouth by mouth, and known widely among society. This is what jamu gendong begins to be recognized.
Afterwards, jamu gendong has become very famous post-independent era. Many villagers moved to the cities in order to get better live, including jamu sellers or mbok jamu. The consumers then were so various so that jamu was created based on each consumers, for headache, toothache, fitness, stamina and so on, The kinds of jamu sold were highly common, such as beras kencur, kunyit asam, cabe puyang, and papaya leaves. Though they sold those jamus, they still developed their ancestral recipes.
The jamu recipes is basically ancestral heritage which comes from their experiences and heir orally or written. The recipes are not learnt specifically, but based on knowledge and skills hereditary. Some people consider Jamu as healthy medicine, so that the usages are not limited by age, gender, and health condition. Then, the jamu gendong has been consumed for health, freshness, and body treatment.
For its non-standardized and natural sources, jamu then could be consumed for longer time than chemical or antibiotic modern medicines. It is a specific advantages for the sellers, because the consumers will always consume the jamu whatever and whenever they want to. So that, consuming jamu has become a habit among Indonesian (especially Javanese), similar to consuming tea traditions among the British.
Jamu gendong and its seller called mbok jamu or mbak jamu then scattered not just in Central Java or East Java cities, but also reached Jakarta, Bandung, Denpasar, Medan, Sumatera, even until Jayapura, Papua, Malaysia and Suriname. The consumers were not just Javanese nowadays, but also non-javanese who had experienced jamu’s advantages. The Mbok Jamu usually yelling when she sells her products, sometimes with an attractive way in order to get more customers. According to the age, they are so various. From around 20s until 60s, nowadays many Mbok Jamu sell their jamu by chart or some of them have been veiled (hijab), whereas usually they wear kebaya.
However, the jamu gendong seller must recognize as well about hygiene, composition, and consistency. If so, the jamu’s advantages will always be searched by her consumers and be able to compete with other kinds of medicines. Even if you have no time to make your own jamu, you can try jamu into capsules, powder or caplets. .
So pals, I must go again for selling my jamu over here!
>>> Daftar Jamu Godog Kendhil Kencana