How the Indonesian Wellness Tradition of Jamu Can Help You Embrace Joy

Metta Murdaya, found of skin-care brand Juara, takes Vogue through the Indonesian wellness practice of Jamu and how it can be used to cultivate joy.

It was 15 years ago that Metta Murdaya started planting the seeds of skin-care brand Juara with three of her close friends. They were all young, working in New York City, and had realized that their wellness routines had taken a backseat. What they needed was a holistic refresh. “I was at this job and the hours were kind of crazy,” Murdaya recounts over Zoom. “I was working on weekends, traveling, never went to the doctor, and that's when I realized I looked like crap. I wasn't even washing my face at this point.” It wasn't until Murdaya got into a car accident that she finally took time off of work—not only to recover, but to reevaluate her entire approach to wellness and gain a better understanding of how it translates to her physically. “That's when I was like, 'Okay, I have to stop. I'm in my 20s and I'm feeling pretty bad. What am I going to look like when I'm in my 40s?'” she explains. “I started thinking about how I could take better care of myself and the first place I wanted to focus was on my skin because I see it every day.”

In 2006, Juara, a skin-care brand inspired by the rituals of Murdaya's native Indonesia, went from home-made elixirs to a fully fledged brand. At the root of every product, from the ultra-rich Candlenut Body Creme to the Clove Flower and Tumeric Anti-Aging Serum, which gently evens out the complexion, lies the Indonesian tradition of wellness, jamu. “In short, it's our herbal health tradition,” Murdaya explains. “It was born in Indonesia, which mean Spice Island, and is a country that's historically experienced a lot of trade. What makes jamu different than Ayurveda or Chinese medicine is that even though we call it Indonesian, it has influences from India, the Arab countries, the Chinese regions, and the local cultures and traditions that existed 2000 years ago.”

Photo: Courtesy of Metta Murdaya / @mmurdaya

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Michella Oré