Monday, September 28, 2009

Govt to make ‘temulawak’ an icon of Indonesia

Compiled from: The Jakarta Post & other source

The government is working to establish temulawak, or Java turmeric, as an icon of Indonesia, on the grounds that the country has the most varieties of the herb.

State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman told a press conference in Jakarta that research is currently underway to prove that the medicinal plant, whose Latin name is Curcuma xanthorrhiza Roxb, merits to be recognized as a classic Indonesian icon.

The next step, he said, would be to research how to use the herb, which naturally tastes bitter, in cooking.

“We have to make ‘temulawak’ part of our daily lives, in food, cosmetics, medicine or supplements; we don’t want other countries claiming it as their own,” he added.

Temulawak is used as an ingredient in most traditional herbal medicine, known locally as jamu. It is said to have anti-inflammation, anti-microbe, cholesterol reducing, and anti-cancer properties, and is widely used to treat stiff muscles and liver disease.

Charles Saerang, chairman of the Indonesian Herbal and Traditional Medicines Entrepreneurs Association (GP Jamu), said Indonesia was the largest temulawak producer in the world, with the best varieties of the herb found in Central Java, particularly in the Semerang area.

Indonesia, however, lags behind other countries that have long patented some properties of the herb and developed temulawak products.


Curcuma zedoaria, curcuma javanica, Javanese turmeric.

Common name:
Tumulawak, Java turmeric, temu lawak, gedè, Indian saffron, Jiang huang, Haridra.

Zingiberaceae (ginger family).

Temulawak, originally from Indonesia, can grow up to 8 feet tall. The flower is yellow.
The large leaves stem from the root and the large rhizome of the plant contains herbal qualities.
Cultivation has spread to other countries including Surinam.
Java - turmeric is a mild spice used in several drinks to give these flavor and color (yellow); it is also used for seasoning.
It has an aromatic, pungent odor and a bitter taste.