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Jamu (formerly Djamu) is traditional medicine in Indonesia. It is predominantly herbal medicine made from natural materials, such as parts of plants such as roots, leaves and bark, and fruit. There is also material from the bodies of animals, such as bile of goat or alligator used. In many large cities jamu herbal medicine is sold on the street by hawkers carry a refreshing drink, usually bitter but sweetened with honey. Herbal medicine is also produced in factories by large companies such as Fountain, Nyonya Meneer or Djamu Djago, and sold at various drug stores in sachet packaging. Packaged dried jamu should be dissolved in hot water first before drinking. Nowadays herbal medicine is also sold in the form of tablets, caplets and capsules.

History:
It is claimed to have originated in the Mataram Kingdom some 1300 years ago. Though heavily influenced by Ayurveda from India, Indonesia is a vast archipelago with numerous indigenous plants not found in India, and include plants similar to Australia beyond the Wallace Line. Jamu may vary from region to region, and often not written down, especially in remote areas of the country. Jamu was (and is) practiced by indigenous physicians (dukuns). However, it is generally prepared and prescribed by women, who sell it on the streets. Generally, the different jamu prescriptions are not written down but handed down between the generations. Some early handbooks, however, have survived. A jamu handbook that was used in households throughout the Indies was published in 1911 by Mrs. Kloppenburg-Versteegh. One of the first European physicians to study jamu was Jacobus Bontius (Jacob de Bondt), who was a physician in Batavia (today's Jakarta) in the early seventeenth century. His writings contain information about indigenous medicine. A comprehensive book on indigenous herbal medicine in the Indies was published by Rumphius, who worked on Ambon during the early eighteenth century. He published a book called Herbaria Amboinesis (The Ambonese Spice Book). During the nineteenth century, European physicians had a keen interest in jamu, as they often did not know how to treat the diseases they encountered in their patients in the Indies. The German physician Carl Waitz published on jamu in 1829. In the 1880s and 1890s, A.G. Vorderman published extensive accounts on jamu as well. Pharmacological research on herbal medicine was undertaken by M. Greshoff and W.G. Boorsma at the pharmacological laboratory at the Bogor Botanical Garden.

Jamu is often distributed in the form of powder, pills, capsules, and drinking liquid. Jamu shops, which sell only ingredients or prepare the jamu on spot as required by buyers, as well as women roaming the street to sell jamu, is a commonly seen way to distribute jamu in Indonesia. Nowadays, Jamu is also mass manufactured and exported.
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Picture of young women in a back alley plying their trade of jamu carried in baskets somewhat like backpacks and slung over their arms. This shot was taken off Jalan Pahlawan Revolusi, Kota Ternate, Ternate Island, North Maluku Province

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 8190 W: 150 N: 18291] (81562)
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