Dotty Chard makes a fresh batch of jamu kunyit asam (sour turmeric tonic) every Saturday for sale at the Samadi Sunday market, an eclectic little organic-led market in Canggu on Bali’s southern coast. “As soon as a Javanese girl gets her period, they’re shoving jamu down her throat,” Dotty says. “We use it to increase blood flow and reduce cramps. And Indonesian women don’t complain about PMT because the turmeric in jamu acts as a stabiliser for mood swings.” As research begins to suggest – and alternative therapists already claim – a range of health benefits from turmeric, Dotty’s grandmother’s recipe is gaining in popularity in Bali. While some modern recipes include everything from pepper and lime juice to lemon and honey, Dotty uses just turmeric, tamarind, palm sugar, water and a little salt. She sells it in the same bottles she remembers the jamu ladies carrying on their backs when she was a girl.
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