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September 2019

Soc Sci Med. 1995 Dec; 41(11): 1587-95.

Balancing hot and cold--balancing power and weakness: social and cultural aspects of Malay jamu in Singapore.

Tuschinsky C.

Institut für Ethnologie, Universität Rothenbaumchaussee 64a, Hamburg, Germany.

Jamu (Malay phytopharmaceuticals) are popular among the Malays of the whole Malayan archipelago and have been known for centuries. The non-western pharmaceutical concept of jamu has its own cultural and social implications, with relations to Malay health beliefs, philosophy and religion. In the metropolitan city state of Singapore jamu exist in a special situation between a western and Southeast-Asian world-view, between standards of western science and Malay tradition. The endeavour to 'translate' the jamu concept of medication into the one of standardised pharmaceuticals is doomed to fail, since these concepts are not compatible.

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