Indonesia is likely to be the only country in the world where its top leader President Joko Widodo would dispense remedy during the spread of COVID-19. As reported by the media, he has been consuming a mixture of lemongrass, red ginger (jahe merah), turmeric and curcuma three times a day since the spread of the virus. He made the statement at the opening speech of the 2nd Asian Agriculture and Food Forum (ASAFF) on 12 March 2020.
He also added that prices of red ginger, turmeric and curcuma have increased by 3-5 times and advised Indonesians to grow the herbs themselves.
Jamu, the Indonesian herbal concoction, is the largest winner during the pandemic season. Indonesians are familiar with jamu as it has been consumed for generations to improve health and boost immunity.
President Joko Widodo’s statement has been turned into an advertorial on CNN Indonesia to promote Bejo Jahe Merah, a herbal supplement with red ginger, mint and other ingredients, made by Bintang Toedjoe, a unit of Kalbe Farma.
Following the outbreak of the virus, pharmaceutical company Kalbe Farma has increased production of herbal supplement made from red ginger by around 50% to meet rising demand, said Kalbe Farma’s president director Vidjongtius. Apart from Bejo, other products from Kalbe Farma such as Komix Herbal has also associated itself a supplement to ward off COVID-19 with red ginger as its active ingredient.
At the time of writing, there is still no cure for COVID-19.