3 Types of Traditional Medicines Commonly Consumed by Indonesians

Natural medicines are traditionally used to maintain health and endurance, treat minor ailments, and prevent disease.

According to the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM), the definition of traditional medicine (OT) is an ingredient or ingredient in the form of plants, animal parts, minerals, or a mixture of these materials that is used for generations for treatment. Traditional medicine is also often called Natural Medicine (OBA).

In other words, traditional medicine is medicine made from natural ingredients which is processed based on the prescription of ancestors, customs, beliefs, and habits of the population in an area.


What are the types of traditional medicine?
There are a variety of traditional medicines out there that are commonly used to treat various health conditions. However, BPOM regroups OT into three groups based on the type of use, how to manufacture, and how to prove its usefulness.

Traditional medicine in Indonesia is generally divided into three, namely, herbal medicine, standardized herbal medicine (OHT), and fitofarmaka. What is the difference?

1. Herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is a traditional plant-based medicine that is processed into a form of steeping powder, pills, and direct drinking liquids. Generally this traditional medicine is made by referring to prescription ancestral heritage. You can make your own herbal medicine at home using a family medicinal plant (TOGA) or bought from a herbal medicine seller.


One type of herbal medicine can be made from a mixture of 5-10 kinds of plants, maybe even more. Every part of the plant starting from the roots, stems, leaves, skin, fruit and seeds can be used to produce herbal medicine.

Take the most common example of sour turmeric herbal medicine. Acid turmeric herbs are believed to help relieve menstrual pain because turmeric contains curcumin which reduces the production of the hormone prostaglandin, which causes muscle spasms in the uterus. In addition, this herbal medicine is also quite often used as a stiff medicine and body odor remover ingredients.

Examples of other common herbal medicine are kencur rice and temulawak herbal medicine. Kencur rice herbal medicine is processed from a mixture of rice, kencur, tamarind, and brown sugar is often used as an enhancer of stamina and appetite. Kencur rice herbs can also overcome digestive problems, shortness of breath, colds, to headaches. Meanwhile, ginger herbal medicine also has the potential to treat osteoarthritis problems.

Based on the provisions of the Head of BPOM, herbal medicine does not require scientific proof until clinical trials in the laboratory. A traditional herb can be said to be herbal if its safety and efficacy has been proven based on direct experience in humans for hundreds of years.

2. Standardized herbal medicine (OHT)
Standardized herbal medicine (OHT) is a traditional medicine made from extracts or extracts of natural ingredients in the form of medicinal plants, animal extracts, and minerals.

In contrast to herbal medicine which is usually made by boiling, OHT making method already uses advanced and standardized technology. OHT producers must ensure that the raw materials used and the extraction procedures are in accordance with BPOM standards. The workforce must also have the skills and knowledge capable of making extracts.

In addition, OHT products must also undergo preclinical testing in the laboratory to test the effectiveness, safety and toxicity of the drug before it is traded.

An official traditional medicinal product is classified as OHT if it includes a logo and the words "STANDARDED HERBAL MEDICINE" in the form of a circle containing 3 pairs of leaf radius and placed at the top left of the container, wrapping, or brochure.

Examples of OHT products in Indonesia are Kiranti, Antangin, and Tolak Angin.

3. Fitofarmaka
Just like OHT, fitofarmaka products are made from extracts or extracts of natural substances in the form of plants, animal extracts, and minerals. The difference is that fitofarmaka is a type of natural medicine whose effectiveness and safety can already be compared with modern medicine.

The production process is equally technologically advanced and has been standardized as OHT, but the product fitofarmaka must pass one more resistant to the additional testing process. After undergoing a preclinical testing process, fitofarmaka OBA products must undergo direct clinical trials on humans to ensure their safety.

A traditional medicine product may be marketed to the public if it has passed preclinical and clinical trials. Phytopharmaca products must also include the logo and the inscription "FITOFARMAKA" in the form of a circle containing the leaves forming a star and placed at the top left of the container, wrapping, or brochure.

Tips for safe taking traditional medicine
To be able to reap the benefits as optimal as possible, you need to be more careful in selecting the medicinal products to be purchased.


Launching Drug and Food Education Sheets from BPOM, each traditional medicine must include the correct label marking, including:

  1. Product name
  2. Name / address of manufacturer / importer
  3. BPOM distribution permit number / distribution number
  4. Batch Number / production code
  5. Expiration Date
  6. Netto
  7. Composition
  8. Warning / Attention
  9. Storage method
  10. Usability and how to use it in Indonesian.

Not only that. Also obey the following rules to ensure the drugs you use are safe for consumption:

  1. Only use products that already have a registration number from BPOM.
  2. Always check the expiration date before consuming OT.
  3. Always read the rules of use before consuming OT.
  4. It is better to avoid using traditional medicines together with chemical drugs (from a doctor's prescription).
  5. If side effects occur fairly quickly after taking OT, there may be the addition of chemicals in the drug that are prohibited for use.
  6. Pay attention to the "warning" or "caution" information section listed on the product packaging label, then adjust the side effects of using the medicine for your health condition.
  7. A good OT product must also not contain chemical drugs (BKO), alcohol more than 1% except in certain forms and must be diluted first, narcotics & psychotropic substances, as well as other substances that can endanger health.

Now to ensure the safety of the medicinal products you are using, you can confirm it directly by checking the POM Agency page (www.pom.go.id). In the "Product List" column, select "Public Product Warning" and find out what traditional medicines contain dangerous chemicals.

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