The culture of traditional medicines in Indonesia is highly cherished, symbolizing love with every sip. These medicines are believed to be not only a treatment for certain illnesses but also to give wellness to one’s being. 

Here comes jamu, an Indonesian herbal drink that has a long-standing history of being a medicine. Motivated by the need to stay healthy, people started to go back to age-old tradition with jamu — which is made of natural ingredients such as roots, spices, and herbs — at the center. 

EnVi chatted via email with Anna Uspessij, the owner of the Netherlands-based jamu business Good Jamu, on reviving the traditional drink in modern forms, human wellness, and the empowerment of women. 

“Why Not Share This With The World?”

Jamu comes from the ancient Javanese word “Jampi Oesodo,” meaning to wish for someone’s wellness. Jamu also represents connection in communities, and even a connection to strangers. The drink is a form of wishing for someone’s health through a glass of the beverage. What’s even more interesting is that jamu itself is a women-led discipline and making the drink has been passed down from generation-to-generation. In addition, jamu has just been nominated for UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Anna, being someone with Moluccan roots, started Good Jamu back in October 2020 to bring something new to the table. “Raised in an environment where wellness was approached holistically, I’ve carried these values into my professional life. As the founder of Good Jamu, I strive to blend this wisdom with innovative practices, creating a product that respects traditional methods while appealing to contemporary tastes,” she stated.

She wanted to make Jamu a daily routine and make feeling good easy and exciting. “Inspiration struck from wanting to simplify wellness – to peel back the layers of complexity and make it something you look forward to,” Anna shared. While jamu is often a daily routine, many people in Indonesia view it as a way to prevent sickness as well. “It’s about fusing Indonesia’s rich heritage with a modern quest for wellness,” she explained. 

Anna felt like the Netherlands, with its vibrant mix of cultures, was a great place to introduce jamu. “Jamu isn’t just a drink; it’s a centuries-old wellness hack, and I thought, ‘Why not share this with the world?’”

INSIDE The Refreshments

Two of jamu’s primary ingredients that are cherished in Indonesia are turmeric and ginger. One of Good Jamu’s best-selling products, “Tropical Turmeric,” was created with these two ingredients in mind alongside botanicals. Turmeric is well known for its ability to relieve inflammation, treat eye conditions, and even lessen anxiety. Their “Island Ginger” is a mixture of a spicy, fresh, and lively taste. Ginger is another excellent option for jamu because it lowers blood sugar and eliminates bad carbohydrates. In addition to being served plain, these jamu can be elevated by adding it to lattes and sodas. 

Women’s Role in Jamu and the Sustainability of the Drink

When it comes to the jamu tradition, Good Jamu is aware of its roots. An important fact is that jamu has always been a woman-led discipline where knowledge has been passed on from one generation to the next, showcasing the strength and determination of women. 

In Indonesia, these women jamu practitioners and sellers are called “mbok jamu,” which adds to the familiarity of the culture. “Mbok” is an informal way to address married and elderly ladies in Java, especially those who sell jamu. “We visited a local jamu practitioner, and despite the evolving world around her, she has kept the essence of jamu alive through sheer determination,” Anna said. 

These “mbok jamu” used to sell bottles of jamu by putting them in a large basket, carrying it in their back, and walking everywhere. Nowadays, however, most jamu sellers use motorcycles in their selling activity, although you can still find traditional jamu sellers in some parts of Indonesia. How wonderful is it that these women can make such nutritious recipes using only natural ingredients, process them by hand, and sell them? 

The women jamu practitioners in Indonesia curate thousands of different herbs themselves and make them into various jamu recipes. Jamu has always been sustainable because it is sourced from natural ingredients. For Good Jamu, sustainability is a commitment found in every layer of their business. They prioritize ethical sourcing by working with local farmers in Indonesia to ensure the ingredients are sustainable and are of the highest quality. “Through Good Jamu, we hope to inspire a movement towards a more sustainable, health-conscious future,” added Anna.

The Response in the Netherlands

Anna explained that the response of jamu outside of Indonesia has been intriguing and uplifting. Many are drawn to the heritage of jamu, which makes this response more exciting. She believes that by introducing jamu, Good Jamu contributes to imparting a piece of cultural wisdom — one that speaks to the universal idea of caring for your wellbeing.

Good Jamu recently hosted some events, such as mocktail workshops and tastings in collaboration with Drankerij and Soho House Amsterdam. The refreshing mocktails were a heartwarming way to introduce unique blends to new enthusiasts, with jamu taking the spotlight. Good Jamu created alcohol-free recipes as a healthier alternative to traditional cocktails. Good Jamu’s functional mocktails also align with their mission to promote health and well-being. 


A Brand New Twist on wellness at our functional mocktail workshop with Soho House Amsterdam. 🍹✨ Transforming traditional recipes into non-alcoholic functional elixirs. The next workshop @drankerij is already sold out – 🥵
A big thank you to Soho House Amsterdam and more to come soon 👀 #goodjamu #jamu #sohohouse #wellness #functional #mocktails #workshop #community #amsterdam #beverage #noalcohol #recipe

♬ original sound – Good Jamu

Have a Taste of Good Jamu!

The positive response of Good Jamu in the Netherlands is heartwarming because it makes people make healthy choices without having to sacrifice taste and enjoyment. Good Jamu’s original jamus, Tropical Turmeric and Island Ginger, are the main characters, but the company’s newest addition, the “Tropical Turmeric Soda,” is also a must-try for an extra playful touch. 

As Anna said, “Our menu is a love letter to traditional jamu, refined for the here and now. Each recipe is a blend of natural ingredients with stories centuries in the making, fine-tuned for your taste buds. From mood-boosting elixirs to natural detoxes, it’s wellness that’s easy to love and even easier to sip.”

Good Jamu is active on Instagram and TikTok. Check out their eye-pleasing persona and stay updated on their latest products on these platforms!

Want more Asian beverage recommendations? Check out EnVi’s business spotlight on Tea Drops here!