Preserving traditional herbal medicine: entrepreneur of Jamu industry

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It’s time for us to introduce traditional spices to vocational and tourism studies students and professional chefs

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesia’s jamu industry – a traditional herbal medicinal drink – is on the brink of crisis as spice producers turn to tea or coffee crops seen as more promising, said said an entrepreneur of the jamu industry.

“Farmers who initially grew spices have started to turn to coffee and tea crops. If this situation continues, I fear that our spices will become more popular abroad,” said Jony Yuwono, founder of the bar. at Acaraki artisanal jamu, during an Indonesian jamu webinar, here Tuesday.

Yuwono believes that the mass diversion is partly driven by the stable demand for tea or coffee compared to spices, which holds more promise for farmers.

“Tea or coffee producers often categorize the quality of their crops and sell the aggregated crops at different prices, ensuring more income for farmers regardless of the quality of their crops. Spice growers rarely do the same thing, and their crops of different quality would be the same price, ”Yuwono said of the factors that cause spice prices to be lower than coffee or tea.

Citing the Ministry of Health’s research on herbal medicine in 2012, Yuwono noted that Indonesia currently has 15,773 jamu recipes from 1,068 ethnic groups nationwide.

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“We know that our country currently has more than 30,000 potential medicinal plants to cure various diseases. Our duty is to preserve the tradition of herbal medicine,” he said.

Highlighting another research on herbal medicine practitioners conducted in 2015, Yuwono said that about 49.5% of the total practitioners were over 60, with just a third of them having a successor.

“If the practitioner retires or dies, who will carry on his jamu tradition?” If no one continues the tradition, how will the recipe survive? If the recipe does not survive, what about the cultivation of medicinal plants? explained the founder of Acaraki.

At the same seminar, culinary expert William Wongso stressed the importance of introducing the jamu tradition and traditional spices to Indonesian youth to ensure the continuity of the jamu tradition.

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“It’s time we introduced traditional spices to vocational and tourism students and professional chefs. They should not only learn what pepper or nutmeg looks like, but they should also know how spices are grown and how to choose the best quality, ”Wongso stressed.

Wongso noted that traditional spices are a unique identity of Indonesia, as different spices have contributed to the diversity of food and traditional identities on the Indonesian islands, also known by its epithet “spice island”.

“They should know various spices and their recipes. They should also know that the spices differ from island to island,” said the culinary expert.

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