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TIP Instagram Series: Wellness Wednesday
The Indo Project mission is to be “dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and celebration of Indo culture and history through education, unification and raising public awareness.” One of the ways TIP is dedicated is to the Indo community’s preservation is through the concept of wellness. On Wednesdays, TIP strives to highlight Indo wellness tools and remedies practiced by our elders for generations. So join us on Instagram for Wellness Wednesdays for a healthier Indo you! Check out some recent #TIPWellnessWednesday Instagram posts.
Before the the current popularity of using essential oils arrived, Indos had already been using kayu putih for centuries.
Cajuput oil is a volatile oil obtained by distillation from the leaves of the myrtaceous trees Melaleuca leucadendra, Melaleuca cajuputi, and probably other Melaleuca species. The trees yielding the oil are found throughout Maritime Southeast Asia and over the hotter parts of the Australian continent. The majority of the oil is produced on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The name “cajeput” is derived from its Indonesian name, “kayu putih” or “white wood”.
The oil is prepared from leaves collected on a hot dry day, macerated in water, and distilled after fermenting for a night. This oil is extremely pungent, and has the odor of a mixture of turpentine and camphor. It consists mainly of cineol (see terpenes), from which cajuputene, having a hyacinth-like odor, can be obtained by distillation with phosphorus pentoxide. It is a typical volatile oil, and is used internally in doses of 2 to 3 minims, for the same purposes as, say, clove oil.
It is frequently employed externally as a counterirritant. It is an ingredient in some liniments for sore muscles such as Tiger Balm and used Indonesian traditional medicine. It is also used as an ingredient in inhalants/decongestants and topical pain/inflammation remedies.
Tempeh originated in Indonesia, almost certainly in central or east Java with an estimated discovery between a few centuries ago to a thousand years or more.
The invention of tempeh cannot be separated from the origin of fungus, which is the important part of fermentation. This fungus consists of myceliums that grow on teakwood and sea hibiscus leaves, which native Javanese people often used (and still do) as food wrappings. In fact, in traditional tempeh making, an usar (a mycelium-filled leaf) is used, instead of store bought ragi.
The type of soybean firstly used to make tempeh is the black soybeans, which grew as a native plant.This later changed with the importation of white/yellow soybeans and the rise of the tofu industry on the island.
In Europe, the USA and other industrialized countries the demand for tempeh is increasing because of the growing interest in health, nutrition and vegetarianism.
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I knew the word Kaya Putih long before I had any idea what it meant. It was the go to remedy for everything from headaches, to stuffy noses to sore muscles. Highlighting this part of our Indo Wellness makes me feel so connected. It’s a great project.