Tell me about some traditional Balinese remedies… (Part II)
Last edition, I talked about boreh and simbuh. This edition, I’m going to briefly cover the medicinal uses of loloh, garlic and lime.
Loloh is the most commonly ingested Balinese medicine. It is a kind of potion made up of the essence of leaves and sometimes roots. There are many different types of tropical leaves used, such as dadap, base, kayu manis, hibiscus, gedang (papaya), nyambu (guava), and others. The different leaves are believed to cure various ailments. The juice extract from papaya leaves, for example, may be drunk by a patient who is suffering from an itchy rash.
There is one particular tree which is used to treat a number of conditions - the dadap – its leaves cool the stomach of a person suffering from gastritis, either applied directly to the skin or ingested as a juice; the sap heals mouth ulcers; and a mixture of its leaves, salt and coriander seeds may be drunk as a refreshing tonic.
Another frequently used plant is base (sirih in Indonesian). Known as the piper betel plant in English, it is often loosely translated as betel nut. Base leaves may be boiled and mixed with other ingredients and used to treat bad breath and strengthen your teeth – you may see it advertised as sirih on certain brands of toothpaste. For rashes and allergies, Balinese boil the leaves, mix them with cold water and soak in a bath of them.
Garlic is also widely employed medicinally. For someone complaining of swollen eyes, for instance, the sharp end of a clove is gently pressed into the puffy area – a little painful, but effective. As a natural antibiotic, a clove or two is eaten to fight off colds and flu.
Even lime (ju’uk nipis) has healing properties – it may be mixed with sweet soy sauce or salt to alleviate a dry cough.
There are of course many more traditional remedies than I’ve touched upon and many Balinese still swear by these ancient, herbal cures.