Friday, July 18, 2008

Temulawak Rhizomes - Traditional Herbal

Fortunately, all plants – though many still unknown – give benefits, one form of these benefits is as medicine. Meet temulawak, its roots are highly beneficial, and believed to be equivalent rival to Korean ginseng.

Temulawak - Curcuma xanthorrhiza

The practice of concocting medicinal herbs has been going on since our ancestor generation. In ethnic traditional society we can still found someone who acts as a ‘healer’. Although they often associated with magic and supernatural power but searching deeper to their healing medium, more often than not, they use many kinds of plants.

Temulawak itself has been acknowledged as one powerful medicinal herb. This type of plants is specifically Indonesia. Although its dissemination is only in Java, Kalimantan and Maluku, many people bring along the plant for its benefits. It was even exported to some countries.

This plant grew in a meadow close to residential area, especially on the fertile soil, so that the fruit and rhizome can grow large. Temulawak is a form of herbal plant with stem. It has broad leaves each connected with slender stalk. Temulawak also has unique clustered flowers both in low ground and high ground up to 1500 metres above the sea level.

Temulawak which also known as koneng gede in Sundanese, does increase appetite. In Center Java, many parents give their children its concoction to increase their appetite.

Temulawak - Curcuma Xanthorriza Roxb

Temulawak
rhizomes were known as a medicinal herb for a long time. Temulawak or Javanese turmeric or also known as Curcuma Xanthorriza Roxb, was believed to have anti-aging effect, remove skin fleck and improve muscle flexibility. New mothers were also suggested to consume this herbal drinks according to Javanese spiritual belief. It is also believed to be the cured for kidney diseases, asthma, headache, gastric pain, stomach-ache, constipation, even acne.

This rhizome is a family member of Zingibereaceae, mostly grow in tropical forests and consist of 29-3- percent of curcuminoids (the substance that causes yellowish color in the rhizome), and 6-10 percent essential or ethereal oil (also known as aestheric oil). In addition to that, temulawak also comprises of chemical substances such as phellandrence and tumerol, which often called vaporized oil. It also has camphor, glucoside and polymetic carbinol.

This plant, which can reach up to two meters tall, has ethereal oil with a specific scent that can kill microbes. On the other hand, its flavonoids can be an anti-inflammatory agent. Thus, it is a medicine of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-hepotoxic and anti-tumor. Also, temulawak believed to abate the pain and suffering from cancer.

As a cure to cancer, temulawak should be drunk in early stage or straight after operation to remove the cancer or radiation therapy. This is to remove leftover cancer cell. Moreover, for patient treated with chemotherapy, the concoction should be drunk two weeks after the treatment. If the doctor gave medications, the drink should be drunk two hours before or after consuming medications.

The consumption of temulawak extract is highly recommended to prevent liver diseases including hepatitis B, which known to increase the risk of liver cancer. In addition to that, the extract was also proven to lower blood’s cholesterol level also within liver cells.

Temulawak as Jamu

Where can we find ready-to-consume temulawak? This question might take us to think of jamu-seller or a drinking kiosk in the street with bottles of beras-kencur (traditional drink made of ground rice and Kaempferia galangal rhizomes mixed with palm sugar), and temulawak concoctions or else temulawak in capsule.

Temulawak - Traditional Jamu in modern packaging

Temulawak most often associated with jamu (Javanese traditional herbal drinks). Temulawak is one of the main ingredients to make jamu. Even in its modern packaging, we can still find jamu label on the package. Unfortunately, Indonesian traditional medicine is less popular compare to chemical medication. This is our biggest harm to our country. It is unfortunate, especially since we have an abundance of natural resources accompanied with many giant jamu factories. In addition to this, there are a fair amount of experts and socialist which can be useful. Worse off, when people decided to consume medical herbs, they prefer foreign herbs especially those coming from China.

It is not difficult to make jamu out of temulawak, although it is important to understand that different concoctions were made for different kind of treatments and to heal different kind of illnesses. For instance, the useful component of temulawak mostly used for concoction is its curcumin essence. This essence can reduce cholesterol level in human body. However, to lower down the level of bad cholesterol in our blood is not as easy as drinking any kinds of temualwak drinks we can easily found in the kiosk on the street corner.

Temulawak does contain many things. One substance that gives characterized smell and taste is aestheric oil. This oil can increase food appetite. While resin (the dark brownish, sticky substance, which doesn’t dissolve in the water), is unhealthy and needs to be removed.

According to National Agency of Drugs and Food (NA-DFC)’s clical test with Gajah MAda University in Yogyakarta, boiling temulawak is aw ay to take out the resin. If you tried to reduce your cholesteron level, it is best for you to consumed processed temulawak that has curcumin as its dominant substance.

For patients afflicted with complication such as heart attack or stroke, it is safe to drink temulawak infusion. Temulawak as a modern medication is safe to consume by anyone with any illness or at any age. This is the advantage of traditional herbs, it doesn’t have side effect.

Taking the most out of temulawak with the help of technology, experts and specialists can raise the availability of temulawak and providing its potential benefits effectively. Thus, temulawak can be the host of herbs in its own home country. Just like Korea know as a ginseng country, who knows one day Indonesia will be known as temulawak country.