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Raffles Bali - Jamu, Exploring the Ancient Herbal Elixir at Raffles Bali
June 26th 2023

Jamu, Exploring the Ancient Herbal Elixir at Raffles Bali

Jamu is a traditional Indonesian medicine that encompasses herbal medicinal drinks made from a variety of native plant-based ingredients, including roots, bark, flowers, seeds, leaves, and fruits. It may also incorporate animal-sourced ingredients like honey, royal jelly, milk, and organic eggs. The origins of jamu can be traced back 1300 years ago to the Mataram Kingdom era in Java island. While jamu can be found throughout Indonesia, it is particularly prevalent in Java, where sellers, often women, carry bamboo baskets filled with bottles of jamu on their backs. In urban areas, it is common to find street vendors selling jamu, typically with a bitter taste that is balanced with honey or palm sugar.

Traditionally, there are eight types of jamu, each representing a different phase of human life. These include Kunyit Asam (turmeric and tamarind) symbolizing the sweet life during childhood and teenage years, Beras Kencur (rice and galangal) representing the teenage egoistic side, Cabe Puyang (Java long pepper) portraying the dynamics of life between ages 19 and 21, Bitter Pahitan signifying a phase that may be bitter but must be overcome, Kunci Suruh embodying healing ingredients and symbolizing success, Kudu Laos representing a warm and nurturing character towards others, Uyup-Uyup or Gepyokan reflecting the neutral and self-evaluating side of individuals and absolute submission to God, and Sweet Sinom providing rejuvenation and representing selfless faith in God.

At Raffles Bali, we are committed to providing an immersive experience for our guests, which is why we have developed our own signature jamu blend called “Kunyit Asam”. This unique formulation combines traditional ingredients carefully selected to deliver a delightful and revitalizing taste. Our signature jamu is made from the freshest galangal, turmeric, rice, or cloves, and each concoction contributes to overall well-being. Turmeric, with its active compound curcumin, has scientifically proven health benefits, including potential improvements in heart health, prevention against Alzheimer’s and cancer, anti-inflammatory properties, and the ability to alleviate symptoms of depression and arthritis. Guests can enjoy our signature jamu at the bar, during breakfast at Rumari, or even request it in the comfort of their own villa. We also provide Jamu during guest sleeping ritual.

While not all guests may be familiar with jamu, we take pride in introducing this unique and healthful elixir to our guests during their stay. Our knowledgeable staff is always ready to provide information about jamu and its benefits. By serving jamu at our bar, we aim to showcase Indonesian culture and traditions, offering an authentic experience for our guests. Our bartenders are skilled in crafting refreshing and delicious jamu concoctions, allowing guests to savor the flavors and experience the benefits of this ancient herbal drink.

Additionally, we offer a Jamu Class conducted by Ikhsan Nur Arifin, our Head of Mixologist. This unique and educational experience teaches participants the traditional art of making jamu. With centuries of use as a natural remedy in Indonesia, jamu holds significant cultural and health value. In this hands-on and interactive class, expert instructors share their knowledge and passion for this cultural tradition. Participants have the opportunity to taste and take home their own jamu creations, gaining insight into the local culture and traditions of Indonesia.

“We believe that jamu adds a special touch to our guests’ experience, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia and our dedication to holistic well-being. We invite you to join us at Raffles Bali and discover the wonders of jamu firsthand,” said Ikhsan, Head of Mixologist.