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Jakarta Post

'Jamu' groups oppose House's decision to import ingredients for 'COVID-19 cure'

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 28, 2020   /   03:53 pm
'Jamu' groups oppose House's decision to import ingredients for 'COVID-19 cure' An illustration shows some of the common herbs and spices used in Indonesian 'jamu' (herbal medicine). (shutterstock.com/Wisnu Haryo Yudhanto/File)

Two organizations representing Indonesian jamu (herbal medicine) producers have objected to the reported importation of ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) by the House of Representatives COVID-19 task force, saying that the same ingredients can be produced domestically.

“I object to this, because Indonesia uses the [same] formula as the imported [TCM],” Dwi Ranny Pertiwi, who heads the Indonesian Jamu and Traditional Medicine Producers Group (GP-Jamu) said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.

Dwi said that the House task force had not coordinated with the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) in importing the TCM, which she claimed would be distributed to COVID-19 referral hospitals in Indonesia.

Andre Rosiade of House Commission IV said that the task force had only imported two out of the 15 ingredients needed for the TCM, while the remaining 13 ingredients would be locally sourced.

He also said that the formula for the herbal medicine had been developed by local TCM practitioners who had been granted permission to do so by the Health Ministry.

“The task force is recommending the herbal drink because some have submitted statements that it can cure [COVID-19]. One member of the House, along with six members of his family, were exposed to the coronavirus and were said to have recovered after consuming the drink,” said Andre.

Read also: Not all herbal drinks are healthy: Experts

Meanwhile, Inggrid Tania, who chairs the Association of Indonesian Doctors for the Development of Traditional and Herbal Medicines (PDPOTJI), said that she had reviewed several Chinese journals and discovered that the imported ingredients were used to treat acid reflux disease, which Indonesians sometimes referred to as masuk angin, or the common cold.

“We have many Indonesian herbs for masuk angin, so why would we need to import?” she added.

Inggrid said that herbal medicines had not been clinically tested for use as COVID-19 therapy. Further, she stressed that no referral hospitals were using herbal products to treat patients with the disease.

“We only have personal testimonials. Along with LIPI, [the Indonesian Institute of Sciences], UGM [Gadjah Mada University] and Kalbe Farma, we are planning to conduct clinical trials of several herbs for COVID-19 treatment,” she said. (syk)