Why Jamu is Extra Good for You in Winter

Updated: Jan 9

Winter is here! And you know what that means – warmer clothes, increased heating bills, and possibly catching a case of the sniffles. Aside from keeping warm, staying healthy is what’s on everyone’s minds this winter season, as well it should.



The Covid pandemic is far from over, and even if you stay masked and socially distanced (or better yet, get vaccinated), there’s still the risk of your run-of-the-mill colds and flus. This brings us to a handy little tip we have for you this winter: Jamu!


What is Jamu, you ask? It’s a 1,300-year-old traditional herbal art from Indonesia, utilizing all-natural ingredients such as roots, bark, flowers, seeds, leaves and fruits. These are used to make remedies for various illnesses, but the most common form of Jamu is a unique herbal drink made primarily with turmeric and ginger. Indonesia considers Jamu one of its cultural treasures, and even its president Joko Widodo says he’s been taking it daily for the past 18 years!


Ginger


A key ingredient of jamu is ginger, a rhizome that originated in Southeast Asia and spread throughout the world via the international spice trade. Its unique spiciness is utilized in many recipes, particularly Asian ones – Thai tom yum wouldn’t be the same without it! But as a natural herb, it has many health benefits that you could use during the cold season.

Chief among them is its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Studies have shown that it can kill the rhinovirus, which causes colds – a perennial danger during winter. If you do happen to catch a cold though, ginger can soothe a cough or sore throat with its anti-inflammation effects. And lastly, ginger gives you a nice warming feeling in your body when you take it, which feels extra nice in cold weather.

Turmeric


Turmeric is another integral spice that’s in every Jamu drink. A plant that’s related to ginger, it was first used as a dye for its bright golden-yellow color. Later it became a food ingredient and is still part of many Asian dishes, before its healthful properties were discovered by practitioners of ancient medicinal traditions such as Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and of course, Jamu.


Multiple studies have been conducted on curcumin, the primary active component of turmeric. These have found that curcumin’s strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help fight a dizzying variety of serious diseases and illnesses – depression, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. It’s virtually a miracle herb! But during winter, what you’ll want is turmeric’s virus-fighting abilities, which increases your immunity to flus and colds. Take it with black pepper to help your body absorb it better – and the good news is, the original tamarind Jamu contains black pepper too!

Salt bae with black pepper and jamu
Even salt bae approves!


We here at Jamulogy are obviously big fans of Jamu. And though we’re based in sunny, tropical Thailand, this time of year is where we get a short cold snap in the weather too. So we can attest that Jamu has been great in helping us get through the chill! Try our Apple Cider Jamu with its shot of extra spicy and warming ginger, or our Garlic Ginger Jamu for the cold- and flu-busting properties of garlic and an extra boost to your immunity. Stay warm and healthy!


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