The commonest comment given by Westerners on Balinese food is that it is ‘spicy’, as indeed it is. Very spicy. For most Balinese people, food without spices is similar to life without love. Whenever they cook, they make a generous use of kunyit (turmeric), cekuh (kaempferia galanga), jahe,(ginger), isen (alpinia galanga), bawang merah (shallot), bawang putih (garlic), lombok (chili), and so forth. The use of spices, however, is by no means limited to food. Various indigenous medicines are also prepared with spices. One such medicine is boreh, a kind of poultice made of turmeric, kaempferia galanga, ginger, and rice powder. An aging woman will apply boreh on her body to keep it warm. A worn out farm worker with a stomachache or a coldwill have his wife rub his body with boreh. Women make Boreh manually. The ingredients are simply put together in a stone mortar and pounded with a pestle. In the past, this used to be done with the accompaniment of songs. The dry mixture obtained is then stored in a coconut shell.

Before being put to use, boreh has to be mixed first with water. Then it is rubbed all over the body or on specific parts, such as the forehead, the back of the ear, the stomach. Gradually, the warmth will diffuse inside the body, and, after a nightlong sleep, the patient will feel fresher and fitter. If boreh is meant to function as a remedy to overcome fever, other ingredients should be added, for example shallot, and coconut oil. In this case the lower part of the stomach, or the sisikan, demands special attention. In this case more boreh has to be rubbed on. In the case of emergency, a much simpler method is also used to prepare boreh.

A mother, for example, puts some rice and cekuh (kaempferia galanga) into her mouth, grinds them with her teeth, and then rubs the ‘mouth-made’ boreh all over her feverish child’s body, especially the lower part of his stomach. Boreh prepared for adults usually has more ingredients than that given to children. It needs to contain hot substances, such as jahe (ginger), and sometimes cengkeh (clove) and white merica (pepper).

There is a close relationship between the use of remedyand belief. Many Balinese, especially those living in rural areas, have more faith in traditional remedies than those prescribed by doctors. The following might illustrate why. A young mother was very upset seeing her three-year-old son seriously ill. She went to see a doctor and from him she received some medicines for the child to take. However she had to pay RP. 10.000 for the treatment, as well as for the medicines. Several days had elapsed, but the child did not get any better. An old relative of hers told her to prepare some ingredients to make boreh. Having rubbed this all over his body, the child then slept very soundly all night long, and the next morning he was up and about. Learning of this fact, the young mother commented, “Peh pocol pipise dasa tali aba ke dokter, masih tusing nyak seger,” or “Oh, I had paid out for the doctor’s treatment, but my son did not get any better.” Such an attitude is very uncommon now among the Balinese living in towns, and it is increasingly disappearing i among those living in rural villages. Education and intensive information seem to have successfully opened a new horizon for them. As a result of this change, boreh is also been becoming less popular.

October 14, 1991

This article is from The book  ” Bali Today 2 , Love and social life – Jean Couteau

Darbha Spa By Honai Resort is provide you to an Old treatment called Darbha Boreh Therapy. This old ancient Indonesian treatment is perfect for shooting aches and pains. It creates a sensation of heat to relief flu and fever symptoms. This treatment will begin with a Ginger Clay Foot Soak to help release tensions. It then continues with Boreh envelopment and a herbal shower & body moisturizer that includes a mixture of pure Balinese spices and plants. This traditional recipe helps to balance the body and acts as a detoxifying warming treatment. A sacred head massage is also performed to complete this traditional journey.

Includes : Ginger Foot Ritual – Smudging Ceremony – Boreh Cocoon – Sacred Head Massage – Herbal Shower – Herbal Bath – Herbal Body Moisturizer