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Home » Medan » Oukup: Natural Spa and Medicinal Treatment the Batak way

Oukup: Natural Spa and Medicinal Treatment the Batak way

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The Batak ethnic groups living in North Sumatra have long realized that nature is not only man’s  main source of life but it also provides precious medicinal cures. Traditional natural treatments – in modern days called Spa – have long been part of daily life in Central Tapanuli, in Sibolga, Simalungun and even on the island of Nias.


Here the Batak traditional Spa treatment is known as Martup or Oukup.

Since ages past, Batak women have relied on Oukup as the most effective way to to cleanse the body after giving birth, to improve blood circulation, and is, moreover, fantastic for getting rid of excess fat and eliminate body odour.


Traditionally, special herbs are carefully picked and collected then boiled in water. The boiling water is then placed 

in a pail or open receptacle to steam, and a seat placed on it, where the girl will be sit down wrapped in cloth, for her body absorb its steam.


In so doing, her body will soon relax completely starting from her feet to the tips of her fingers, her spine and her head. Her body will perspire and detoxified and rid  itself of toxic substances as the now medicinal steam envelops her and enters her body through her opened pores.


This traditional treatment will give three beneficial effects. These are: complete relaxation and the body reinvigorated;  in the short run  muscle pain will be reduced , while in the long run, when treated regularly it will heal many ailments at the same time rejuvenate the skin.


Rusmin Tumanggor, a researcher on the subject, has made a special study of the Batak traditional Spa treatment which he wrote in his book : Traditional Faith and Healing: A Study on the use of Traditional Herbal treatments among the Batak Barus community in Central Tapanuli in the provicne of North Sumatra.  Jakarta , UI (Disertasi), 1999.


In this paper, Rusmin Tumanggor identified the following treatments:


Body cleansing 


The Batak ethnic groups living along the west coast of North Sumatra are familiar with the treatment called marpangir or balimo. This is similar to taking a daily shower, but the water used  is infused with the sap of a number of herbs that include:  sangge-sangge, urek usar, utte hambing, utte pangir,  and aromatic leaves and  flowers like the pandanus leaves, bunga sedap malam (Polianthes tuberosa), bunga dilam, bunga tanjung (mimusops elengi), bunga cina (gardenia augusta), and a whole lot more.


Lowering Body Temperature


To freshen up the body and lower body temperature, a number of flowers are used like bunga paccur, sunflowers, gardenia flowers, hibiscus flowers, and bunga kembang semangkuk (scaphium macropodem). These are added to a glass of water and sweetened with sugar. The result is a health drink.


Treating Muscle Sprains


To relax muscle pain and sprains, the purba jolma  is used and mixed with mineral water and oils. The mixture is then used to massage the sprained muscles.


Reduce Headaches


To treat headaches a mixture of the paolo fruit, hasior and yeast are used, added with some water then patted on the forehead.


Increase your Stamina


There are also herbs that will boost your stamina when you most need it. For this purpose a health drink is brewed together containing daun basi-basi, oppu-oppu, dingin-dingin,  pandan musang leaves (pandanus leaves) , the leaf and  the citrus hystrix fruit, magnolia flowers, rimpang jahe (rhizoma) ginger species, betel leaves, and the kundu fruit.


Fragrant Face and Body Powder


For face and body powder that not only beautify but also smoothen the skin, the following herbs are used: hasior, buah munto mixed with water.  The mixture is crushed into powder then massaged onto the body after taking a bath. Especially for the face the following fragrant ingredients are used:  bareh, jasmine flowers, culan flowers, and rose petals.


If you wish to try out the Oukup Traditional Spa Treatment in Jakarta, do visit Gaya Spa at Jalan Wolter Monginsidi No. 25 at Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta. When in Medan, you will be able to find these traditional herbs, drinks and other medicinal treatments of the Batak Oukup in various of Medan Spas.

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Oukup:  Natural Spa and Medicinal Treatment the Batak way

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