Indonesia has abundant natural wealth with various quality medicinal plants (herbs) for healing. So since ancient times, our ancestors used medicinal plants and mixed them into herbal medicine. Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, traditional medicines made from medicinal plants have become increasingly in demand.
According to the Indonesian Herbal Medicine Association (GP), various modern studies have shown that plants, which are the basic ingredients of herbal medicine, are beneficial for health.
Secretary for Research, Education and Science of herbal medicine at DPP GP Jamu, Victor Sahat Siringoringo explained to VOA:
“The use of herbal medicine is based on hereditary experience. The number is more than 11,000 products that have been registered with the POM (Food and Drug Monitoring Agency). The second group is Standardized Herbal Medicines (OHT) which have been tested on animals to prove their efficacy. The highest level is vitopharmaceutical, equivalent to conventional medicine, which has been tested on animals and clinical trials on humans to test its efficacy and safety”.
It is proven that around 45% of the 7,700 respondents who use the Alodokter application from the Indonesian Ministry of Health, choose to use medicinal plants, even though not all traditional medicines from herbal ingredients are officially registered with the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM).
Forty-five percent of traditional medicine users by Indonesia’s population of more than 270 million is a high number. During this pandemic, many people think that COVID-19 as a respiratory disease can be prevented by taking herbal medicines. No wonder if the sale of traditional medicines has increased recently.
Ginger main ingredient
Muljo Rahardjo, CEO of Deltomed, told VOA that the best-selling products are medicines for colds and herbal teas.
“Our sales have increased by 50% from the previous year 2019, then 2020 to 2021 and 2022 are quite good.”
The company, which has been active for 45 years in the manufacture of traditional medicines, has a main mission of combining the power of local wisdom with modern science and technology to present the best of nature.
After the pandemic broke out, the supply of ginger, the main ingredient of traditional medicine, was reduced due to increased demand, said Muljo Rahardjo.
“Ginger is really a bit hard to get, especially red ginger and emprit ginger. There are 3 types of ginger, namely red ginger, elephant ginger and emprit ginger. Red ginger and emprit ginger are usually used for herbal medicine. If elephant ginger is for kitchen spices. The level of efficacy is measured by the content of essential oil, the active ingredient of ginger which is efficacious for anti-inflammatory and blood circulation.
The Indonesian people’s belief in the efficacy of these traditional medicines was carried abroad. So, for Indonesian citizens who live abroad, for example America, they buy a lot of these drugs in stores, both online and Indonesian stores in the US.
The owner of an Indonesian Market in Maryland, Linda Campbell, actually knows various types of traditional medicines and their benefits from their customers.
“There are many buyers, these Indonesians believe in herbal drinks, especially those from Indonesia. I actually know the benefits of the buyers, so he bought from my shop. Then I tried it myself and I also felt that it had many benefits,” said Linda.
Many Indonesians make or brew their own ingredients from this medicinal plant to drink. But for those who are busy or don’t want to be bothered, they definitely prefer to buy from those that are ready-made on the market and those that have been registered with BPOM, as experienced by a herbal drink user, Ade Astuti:
“I like the herbs, I just feel safer. I love it so much, if someone is sick like a cough, I make the ingredients myself. But now it’s better to buy it, look for a practical one,” he said.
Victor Siringoringo from GP Jamu added, “The important thing here is from a hygienic point of view, we don’t know how they clean, boil it, then use hygienic bottles or not”.
Many Indonesians believe that one way to avoid exposure to the corona virus is to maintain immunity. So by taking traditional medicines from medicinal plants, they feel healthy and avoid disease. [ps/em]