Keeping it real with supplements and super foods
Bali has a lot of super foods and a rich tradition on how to use them. A healing tradition based on plants is common elsewhere too, but arguably the knowledge is particularly alive and kicking in Bali. It seems too, and this is not a scientific suggestion but it feels right, that it is a good thing to use local wisdom and plants to cure local ailments and complaints. Also, most Bali super foods can be eaten raw or processed in small workshops that are open to scrutiny and pleased to welcome visitors, an additional boon given recent scandals regarding supplements.
Sarining Bhuana is one such workshop, started by a former aid worker, Christine Foster, who contracted simultaneous hepatitis, dengue fever and typhoid, working in Aceh after the Tsunami. She recovered on Bali and Java using the local herbs and started Sarining Bhuana not only to bring Indonesia’s plant heritage to a broader audience, but also to generate additional income for Balinese families by providing an accessible market for small quantities of their household crops.
Sarining Bhuana herbals address a variety of needs, from promoting and maintaining health and well being, to treating more specific illnesses. The raw plant material is minimally processed in small batches to maintain superior quality and efficacy and sourced from women’s household gardens and small community collectives, ensuring chemical-free raw plant materials grown the way nature intended.
The main product of Sarining Bhuana is Moringa, miracle tree, locally known as daun kelor, which is sourced from Klungklung Regency and dried by a solar heater that maintains the color and nutritional quality of the leaves as they dehydrate. As an aid worker myself, I can’t resist pointing out and inviting you to applaud the multiple win-win-wins going on here: a nutrient dense indigenous tree that is sustainably harvested and processed with solar power to provide a source of income in a poor regency. Moringa is well known internationally, other Balinese herbs less so.
Sarining Bhuana also produces:
- kunyit putih (white turmeric)
- temukunci (Boesenbergia pandurata)
- temulawak (Curcuma zanthorrhiza)
- sambiloto (Andrographis paniculata)
These herbs are celebrated for their neoplastic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, liver cleansing and blood sugar regulating properties. They are widely used to prevent and clear local ailments such as dengue, staph infections and typhoid.
Temulawak, also available as a fresh juice from Ubud Direct, is even more effective than the celebrated turmeric at supporting general health because of the much higher level of curcumin and its effect on stimulating bile flow.
Sarining Bhuana has also developed a fluoride free tooth powder based on natural minerals and herbs.
Also producing high quality superfoods is rawganics started in 2005 by Gary Marsiano. Gary retired from a nursing career to create rawganics after observing the healing power of plants grown in her native Java. The plants, processed as raw and grown without chemicals, include:
They are high in essential nutrients, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and I am not even going to start listing the health benefits, some observed and cherished through experience, others scientifically studied.
So, in summary
There are many good reasons to keep it real and go local with your supplements and super foods, here are the main ones:
- they don’t arrive on a plane
- they are ecologically sustainable
- being marginal and wild harvested their production and collection tends to support poor people, particularly women
- they grow locally and have been tried and tested for local ailments and finally
- the local production line means that if you are really curious and/or suspicious about what is in your supplement you can go and see for yourself.
References: too many to list, a short internet browse on any of the herbs mentioned above will bring up a range of studies and benefits associated with Bali’s healing plants.