indonesia travel magazine

Bali Herb Walks

Bali Herb Walks

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BALI HERBAL WALKS IN BALI with LILIR AND WESTI

Their Mother and Father were both Balinese healers and farmers who have passed on to their children their knowledge, natural love and understanding of traditional herbalism. 

“Knowledge of Balinese traditional herbal medicine came to us naturally through our families. We have also studied the Usada Bali, one of the traditional Balinese Books of Healing, and have spent a tremendous amount of time in the field studying Balinese plants and using them in our daily lives.

“We have committed ourselves to help keep the tradition of Obat Asli Bali (traditional Balinese healing herbs and medicines) alive.”

Westi and Lilir met at a guiding course and quickly discovered they had a garden of things in common.  Lilir’s parent’s were healers and herbalists and relied heavily on traditional remedies for their brood of 11 children.  Westi’s parents were farmers who remembered how much healthier the soil was before chemical farming. They were both inspired to use their position as guides to help preserve Bali’s unique indigenous heritage.

Westi became deeply involved in qualifying himself to teach others about Bali’s living pharmacy.  “I became interested in herbal remedies,” he says. “My father was quite knowledgeable, and I spent time learning from him before he died.  Now I study with three traditional healers, but they are also very old. There is a real danger that this wisdom will die out if it is not recorded.”

Come join us and…

Familiarize yourself with a wide range of native plants and herbs. Learn to make identifications by sight, smell and taste.  Gain insight into the techniques and practices of traditional and contemporary Balinese herbal healing.  Explore various methods for diagnosing and treating common ailments.  Learn how you can interpret various plants effects for individual constitution.  Be introduced to the plants that are used for first aid, emergencies and the treatment of chronic illnesses.

On Bali we have maintained our ancient relationship to the natural world. It is an integral part of our life and culture. For centuries Balinese have used a wide range of native plants & herbs for therapeutic, medicinal & health enhancing purposes. Herb Walk is a unique opportunity to explore the prolific plant life that flourishes here.

The herb walk takes about 3 hours, with time out to stop at an organic restaurant. In addition to discovering herbs that grow along the edges of the sawahs, you learn of the methods the farmers use to cultivate rice. Although it doesn’t seem obvious how ownership of the sawah is established, narrow irrigation channels and different ground levels apparently delineate who owns what patch of land.

A Modern Day Medicine Man?

“The walk is slow paced and the calm surroundings obviously influence Westi’s temperament; he is softly spoken, perhaps a little quiet at times. Often, it felt like we were just going on a walk with our friend. Although not the most charismatic guide in the world, Westi is very knowledgeable and obviously passionate about his work, perhaps something of a modern day medicine man.

“This tour did make me stop and think that in today’s world we are over-reliant on modern, synthetic medicine. Herbal remedies are available for a lot of common ailments and are arguably better for our bodies. Whilst it was somewhat interesting learning about various herbs and their medicinal properties, for me, the real hi-light was simply being able to enjoy the stunning scenery. It is easy to see why artists apparently come to the rice fields for inspiration!”

Lilir believes it is crucial for young people to spend time working in the rice field to get a feel for their land and to learn about how they are connected to it. Unfortunately, many are reluctant to embrace the old ways when new technology beckons. Similarly, when it comes to treatment of ailments, most young people seek cures through modern medicines, eschewing traditional methods.

The older generations have used traditional medicines all their lives and for them, it is natural to harvest what is needed from their own backyards.  Body scrub such as boreh have long been used by farmers in the sawahs at the end of a long back-breaking day.  Used to help prevent rheumatism, the boreh scrub is made at home using a mix of cloves, ginger, red rice, galangal and temu lawak (Javanese turmeric), pounded to a thick paste and applied to the body until the paste dries, before being washed off.

The wide variety of plant life that grows together along the edges of the sawahs providing food and medicine is a revelation. Turmeric whith roots and coconut palms, taro plants and banana trees, lemon grass and citronella, soursop, jackfruit, pineapple and breadfruit grow side by side. Lilir pulls, picks and crushes roots and leaves so we can smell the strong fragrances.  We stop to taste edible leaves, to suck the nectar out of the red flowers of the “closed” hibiscus tree, and to drink fresh, young coconut juice.

How Long : About 3 to 4 hours with stops along the way to rest enjoy the scenery & take photographs

What to bring : Comfortable foot wear with non-slip soles that can get wet and muddy are advisable, as well as a hat and sun block a camera and lots of film

Where : We meet in front of the Puri Lukisan Museum, on Ubud’s main road

When : Every day, Begin at 8.30 &ends at About 12.00

Cost : USD $ 18 per person includes

– Refreshing herbal drinks

– Balinese cake or tropical fruit

Book your Herb Walk and Jamu Class by phone:  62.812.381.6024, 62.0812.381.6020 or email1 or email2Website

Please book at least one day in advance.

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