I have been fascinated with the traditional Indonesian jamu juice for quite a while now.
It dates back almost 1,200 years to ancient Java and has been linked to Ayurveda.
In Indonesia, jamu is used to address everything from weight gain and a sluggish metabolism to acne, insomnia, fatigue and cough or colds.
And it’s delicious!
The most fabulous part?
An all-purpose jamu juice recipe needs the simplest of ingredients and can be brewed at home, anywhere in the world.
Why are jamu juice’s benefits?
Jamu juice is a health tonic that draws its potency from the natural ingredients you will find on kitchen shelves across the world. Let’s take a look.
First of all, there is turmeric — one of the most powerful healing herbs.
Besides being a natural liver detoxifier and kidney cleanser, it also speeds up metabolism, helps in weight loss, is anti-inflammatory, heals damaged skin, busts infections and so much more.
Then there is ginger. Also anti-inflammatory, it contains a host of anti-oxidants to minimise the damage caused by free radicals and other toxins (created by, say, those barrels of alcohol, lack of sleep and larders of meat!).
Additional benefits: Ginger calms down the stomach, curbs indigestion and acidity, and replenishes the body’s stores of iron, sodium, vitamins A and C, flavonoids and phytonutrients.
Another key component in the the jamu juice recipe is tamarind.
Tamarind is a rich source of dietary fibre, which binds to toxins, bile salts and excessive cholesterol, flushing them out of the body safely and cleanly. It also contains hefty doses of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which inhibits an enzyme that helps the body hold on to fat (hello, weight loss!).
Other scientifically verified health benefits include the ability to reduce inflammation, heal the digestive system, step up blood circulation, maintain nerve function and soothe a whole range of skin issues — including chronic acne and dull complexions.
Finally, tamarind is also rich in many vital nutrients, including vitamins A, B and C, and iron, all of which get sorely depleted when you’ve been living it up a bit much.
Little surprise then that Jamu juice is cropping up on beverage menus Stateside — to much acclaim. But why not just DIY it for the freshest flavors and benefits?
Jamu juice recipe: Ingredients
2-4 fresh turmeric roots (or 1-2 teaspoons organic turmeric powder)
1 small knob of ginger
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 litre drinking water
Honey to taste
Jamu juice recipe: The method
1. Peel and grate the turmeric and ginger
2. Boil the turmeric and ginger in water for approximately half an hour, till it becomes slightly creamy; add more water if the concoction starts looking a bit dry
3. Cool for a few minutes, then pour it into a blender, add the tamarind and honey; blend until frothy
4. Strain and serve warm; or refrigerate in an airtight bottle
How to drink the jamu juice
Jamu is pretty potent and you need just a little bit everyday.
I normally make enough for 3-4 days and store it in the refrigerator — simply lightly reheating and drinking a shot glass worth before breakfast and after dinner, every day.