After a while, some of the things related to jamu that I questioned finally been answered. How? You may ask. I read some more texts and let them sink in my mind. Yeah, the later is more dominant, to be exact. Sometimes, in some cases, doing nothing (not really doing nothing, stopping the search party of new things and elaborating things that we’ve already known is more appropriate, I guess) benefit us more.
What is the key concept, the philosophy, of jamu (as balancing doshas, the pitta, kapha, and vata in Thai Traditional Medicine or balancing the five elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine)?
It is the principle of balancing as well. Bringing back the balance of the shifting elements, strengthen the weakened parts, of our body by the ingestion of jamu, that is what we are talking about. For example, the bitterness of jamu pahitan, one mainly prepared from sambiloto (Andrographis paniculata, king of bitter), is designed to neutralize the overly sweet body of a person with diabetes.
I hope I can find more of this later.
Why aren’t there references discussing it, why aren’t scholars write it? ( I wonder if Jamu – The Ancient Art of Herbal Healing by Susan-Jane Beers is the only modern textbook covering it. It doesn’t discuss the key concept, to start the argument with).
There are modern references covering jamu. Indonesian Ministry of Health has prepared some textbooks related to it. Unfortunately, they are not widely available but when we look for it in the right place, ask the right person, we will find them. Publications on jamu in reputable journals are also available. They are mainly discussed with phytotherapy approach and written by Indonesian scholar studying in Europe, mainly in Germany and Nederland.
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Writing this made me think of why I could prematurely conclude that. Well, it seems that I did not search in the correct place. I followed the wrong direction so I could not see it. The second reason, I defined it too narrow. Jamu is Indonesian traditional medicine IN ALL POSSIBLE FORMS. Jamu gendong is jamu. All those known crude drugs are jamu. What is sold in depot jamu are jamu. The products of that infamous PT Air Mancur and Jamu Borobudur are jamu. Even those registered under fitofarmaka, from where I stand, are also jamu, the products developed from it.
The third one, it was just me being sok-iye. Baru mengintip dari lubang kunci tapi berasa sudah mengamatinya di bawah mikroskop stereo. Kisah lama. Ahahahaha.
See you at the next updates of jamu, Indonesian traditional medicine.