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Health benefits of Indonesia's herbs and spices

Sebastian Partogi
Sebastian Partogi

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, November 10, 2017 | 08:48 am
Health benefits of Indonesia's herbs and spices

The use of spices to heal illnesses has been a part of Indonesian society for a long time. (Shutterstock/File)

Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University medical anthropology professor Rusmin Tumanggor said Indonesian spices possessed healing properties, which had been verified by medical research studies.

In Barus, North Sumatra, alone, we have 300 herb species that can be used to heal 118 types of physical ailments as well as 47 types of mental and social afflictions. Research studies have shown that 37.6 percent of the herbs can be used in accordance with modern medical practices.

“The use of spices to heal illnesses has been a part of Indonesian society for a long time. Although some of the spices have been extracted and used as an ingredient in modern medications, Indonesians living in certain villages still use raw plants. Some of them have been dried before being ingested to cure physical illnesses,” Rusmin said.

Apparently, the potent powers of the spices go beyond the physical realm. They can also work in cases where a person suffers from a mental illness, according to Rusmin.

Below, as quoted from an interview with Rusmin, The Jakarta Post lists some examples of some Indonesian spices and plants that may cure you from certain illnesses.


“When we drink ginger, it can warm our bodies from the inside. The drink has been used to remedy fever and influenza.”


“When you extract the camphor crystal, dissolve it into water and drink the solution, you can use it to warm your body and remedy gastric acid problems (locally known as masuk angin). Furthermore, the original camphor — not its synthetic version — is also capable of increasing one’s libido. Alternately, frequent consumption of synthetic camphor could probably cause erectile dysfunction.”

Betel leaf

“Betel leaf is a potent medicine; it is capable of healing around 118 physical illnesses. You can also use it to stop dental gum or nose bleed by attaching the betel leaf where you have been bleeding. People who chew betel leaf regularly also have stronger teeth compared to those who don’t.”


“Like camphor, turmeric is equally effective in healing gastric acid problems. Various research studies in pharmacology have provided evidence that turmeric contains substances that could neutralize gastric acid.”

Therefore, next time you’re not feeling well, you might want to try consuming these herbs and spices.