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Jakarta Post

‘Jamu gendong’ in spotlight amid virus outbreak

Tue, March 31, 2020   /   07:34 am
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    Handayani cuts turmeric to make jamu (traditional herbal drink) in her house in Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

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    Among jamu ingredients such as temulawak (curcuma), turmeric, galangal and ginger. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

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    Handayani kisses her husband’s hand before she leaves home to sell jamu. The couple live with their children and grandchildren in Pesanggrahan. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

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    Handayani sells her jamu around her neighborhood, every morning and late afternoon. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

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    Handayani offers various kinds of jamu, from the sweet and sour kunyit asem to the bitter jamu paitan. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

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    Handayani prepares change for her customer. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

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    Handayani walks in a narrow alley in Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta. JP/Rahmat Dian Prasanto

Rahmat Dian Prasanto

Jamu (traditional herbal drink)  is enjoying a surge in popularity after Airlangga University molecular biologist Chairul Anwar Nidom suggested that drinking it could boost immune systems.

Handayani is a jamu seller in Jakarta catering to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Handayani filled up bottles with jamu she had made several hours earlier. She put the bottles in a bamboo basket and carried it on her back using a cloth sling.

She was ready to sell the herbal medicine from door to door, known as jamu gendong.

Handayani, who has been a jamu gendong seller for 20 years, sells a variety of jamu, such as kunyit asam (turmeric, ginger and tamarind), jamu paitan (bitter medicinal herb), temulawak (curcuma), beras kencur (rice and galangal) and air jahe (ginger drink).

Every morning and late afternoon, the 50-year-old Handayani offers her jamu across residential areas in Petukangan subdistrict, Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta. Her loyal customers affectionately call her budhe, a Javanese word to address middle-aged women.

Handayani was born and raised in Karanganyar, Central Java. She taught herself to make various kinds of jamu, some of which are scientifically proven to have health benefits.[vla]