Jamu Juice is a centuries old staple in Indonesian daily life. Though most often consumed refreshingly chilled, this juice can come as a hot, honeyed tea when stuck at home with chills, aches, or a pesky head cold. The two primary ingredients here are fresh ginger and fresh turmeric, both of which are receiving loads of attention on health blogs throughout the internet. Let’s take a look at these two herbs through the lens of TCM to see if we can’t figure out why they remain such a powerful pair.
Sheng Jiang, or fresh Ginger, is a classic stand alone rememdy for early stage Wind-Cold invasion which may include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms are commonly associated with seafood poisoning which is why most seafood preparations in Far East cultures include a hefty amount of fresh ginger. More than relieving chills and an upset stomach, Sheng Jiang is “acrid” in flavor, which means it disperses stagnation and invigorates the circulation of Qi, Fluids, Phlegm, and Blood keeping the entire body flowing and functioning smoothly. The herb is said to be warm in nature, hence it’s ability to stave off chills, warm the extremities, and calm a “cold,” upset stomach.
Huang Jiang, or Turmeric, also moves Stagnation but with an added focus on Blood in the extremities. It is bitter and acrid in flavor and warm in temperature. The bitterness aids in the production of bile, improving gallbladder function and regulating cholesterol. The acrid taste “disperses” stasis which helps relieve pain in the extremities and promote healing after an injury. Because of Jiang Huang’s focus on moving blood and warm nature, the herb also benefits both the Stomach and Uterus. Lastly, both Turmeric and Ginger are said to “Expel Wind” which is a TCM way of saying that they strengthen the immune system.
Regularly drinking Jamu Juice is said to boost digestion, ease bloating, detox the liver and kidneys, strengthen the gallbladder and immune system, and relieve inflammation. With the addition of Coconut Water (Salty), Honey (Sweet), and Lime Juice (Sour), we’ve got a tonic containing all five flavors, strengthening the whole body. Coconut water is also high in electrolytes and potassium, raw honey is naturally anti-bacterial, and lime juice is packed with vitamin c: great for skin and immunity. Contemporary research has shown that a little bit of black pepper greatly enhances the effects of turmeric, so we’ve included a pinch in our recipe below. As if all the health benefits weren’t enough, the juice is also refreshingly delicious. Without further ado, let’s cook!
Jamu Juice | 两姜大补汁
1 cup fresh Turmeric
1/2 cup fresh Ginger
2 cups Coconut Water
2 cups Water
1/4 cup raw, local Honey
Juice from 1-2 Limes
Optional: Pinch of Black Pepper
- Peel the Turmeric and Ginger. I find using a spoon is more effective than a potato peeler and you end up losing less of the root with the discarded peels. Once peeled, finely chop or grate before adding to a pot with Water and Coconut Water, if using. If looking for a less messy approach to this recipe in order to avoid staining your hands and everything else in your kitchen, you can use a blender instead of peeling and grating by hand. No need to peel, just be sure to wash the herbs well.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. (Add the pinch of black pepper at this step if using).
- Strain out the pulp.
- Stir in 1/4 cup Honey (more or less to taste) and the juice from 2-3 Limes. Tamarind paste is a great alternative if available.
- Enjoy hot or chilled!