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I’m Anna, the woman behind Good Jamu

For me, Good Jamu is more than just a brand – it’s part of my identity.

My grandparents were born and raised in Ambon, the capital of the Moluccan Islands. Early in their adult lives, they came to the Netherlands, where my dad met my mum, who is Dutch. I grew up in the Netherlands, but being half Moluccan, I always felt a strong desire to return to Indonesia and get to know the place my grandparents had once called home. After studying journalism at university, I decided to do just that and moved to Bali. I planned on staying in Bali for just one year, but ended up living there for seven!

During my stay, I saw how natural healing processes are the norm in Indonesia, just as they were in my household growing up. My mum would never give me an aspirin from the medicine cabinet when I was feeling sick. Instead, she would tell me to drink this tea or eat these herbs and wait for my body to respond to them. Seeing Indonesians using natural remedies to maintain wellness on a daily basis reminded me of how effectively nature can be used to take care of the body. This influenced me to become deeply interested in exploring how to stay healthy using nature, rather than chemical medicines.

Jamu has always been close to my heart – even since before I was born! When my mum became pregnant with me, she rubbed a jamu paste onto her belly as a method of maintaining wellness. Throughout my childhood, my parents and grandparents gave me jamu to drink to prevent and treat illnesses, but the hustle and bustle of adult life led me to lose sight of this ancient tradition.

Whilst on my mission to learn more about harnessing the power of nature to support the body, I became reacquainted with jamu. I was lucky enough to learn about jamu from an experienced jamu master – a woman who had learnt the craft of making jamu from her ancestors and had an in-depth knowledge of its history. Meeting a jamu master gave me a real insight into its cultural and nutritional richness, and I began using jamu every day.

When I returned to the Netherlands, I missed jamu so much, I started making it based on the knowledge I’d acquired from the jamu master. Then one day, my mum took a batch of jamu I’d made to yoga and shared it out amongst her friends. They were obsessed with it. They asked for more, and I made more, which inspired me to make jamu for my friends too. They also loved it! That’s when I realised something – people in the Western world wanted jamu.

It was from this realisation that Good Jamu blossomed. A small business focused on using purity to prevent sickness and enable the body to reach its full potential.

But that’s not the only reason I founded Good Jamu. Jamu is a dying craft. In Indonesia, people don’t have time to make jamu anymore because the preparation process is labour-intensive, plus it isn’t as profitable as it once was due to the mass production of cheap crops for global consumption. Each island has its own edition of jamu, but because people aren’t interested in making it anymore a lot of the herbs that were used to make these special editions are disappearing. I feel it’s my duty to keep this ancient tradition alive in the modern world, and hope I can do that with Good Jamu.

I believe that wellness needs to be redefined. Taking care of yourself should be appealing, inspiring and something everybody can enjoy, no matter what their age or where they come from. I want Good Jamu to embody that.

Got any questions about jamu? We can answer them.

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