The Indonesian island of Madura is famous for two things: bull racing and love potions. The concoctions made and sold on the island off the east coast of Java are touted as a natural way of restoring youth to a woman's reproductive canal without having to resort to plastic surgery.
"Our traditional herbs are indeed famous for making women feel like a virgin again and giving the vaginal canal a tighter feel than before they gave birth," said Fachruzah, 36, a maker of the traditional potions, known as "jamu ramuan" in the Indonesian language.
AdvertisementFachruzah, who like many Indonesians has only one name, is a seventh-generation "peramu jamu," and has worked in the Madurese Crown, her family-run shop in Madura's Pamekasan regency, for 20 years.
"Madurese traditional herbs are also well-known as holistic body treatments for women that want to flatten their bellies and make their bodies smell fragrant all the time, especially the vagina," Fachruzah said, giggling.
Madura is a large, rugged island located about 740 km east of Jakarta. It is separated from East Java province and Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia, by a narrow channel.
Indonesian people instantly associate Madura with bull racing, known as "karapan sapi," and Madurese women, who are known throughout the diverse country of 230 million people for their sexual prowess.
"I love Madurese women," said Rizal, a Jakarta taxi driver who used to work in East Java. "They always take care of their husbands well, and they smell good all the time. My second wife is a Madurese and my mistress, too."
The island's famous love potions include "tongkat Madura" or "the magic stick" - a cigar-shaped, white stick containing herbs that instantly tighten vagina muscles upon insertion. The potion has become so world-renowned that it's even sold on eBay.
"It's easy use is very suitable for the immediate ways of modern life," Fachruzah said adding "but I prefer the traditional powder called 'sari rapet', an older version of the magic stick." She said users drink that potion, meaning it has effects throughout the body.
The cheap cost of Madurese traditional herbs enables the island's women to consume them daily. The magic stick costs about 15,000 rupiah ($1.60) and the sari rapet powder is 16,000 rupiah per ounce.
Lius Sukarman, a 28-year-old schoolteacher on Madura, said he could tell when his wife does not use the potions, which are at their most potent when made traditionally using fresh ingredients.
"I think it is a positive thing, and I'm glad other women use them too," Fachruzah said, noting that she has regular customers across Indonesia and also gets requests from European women who want potions mailed to them.
"I can tell you now, these traditional herbs have saved many marriages," Fachruzah said.